The winter holidays are a special time of year to be in Florence. The city is a patchwork of palaces and piazzas, criss-crossed by romantic lamplit alleys that glow with warm invitation to step inside to enjoy a warming glass of red wine or a mug of hot chocolate. Along the Arno, a Winter Park is set up each December to bring a little bit of the North Pole to Italy: its ice skating rink and snow-covered ski slope offer open-air entertainment for the whole family. Be sure to venture out of your long term apartment rentals in Florence to take in all of the magic of winter in the city.
To spend Christmas in Florence is to be surrounded by the images and sounds of the Nativity. There are the usual omnipresent images of Mother and Child painted by Renaissance artists in the city’s churches and museums, of course. More than that, nativity scenes, or presepe, are set up near church alters or just outside the church doors so that people can visit late into the evening. Notable examples are to be found in Florence’s main cathedral, in Santa Maria dei Ricci, and in Piazza Santa Felicita.
Opera and Classical Music Concerts
Opera and classical music fill the hallowed halls of Florentine churches with the approach of Christmas. The Duomo’s auditorium is just one of the settings for musical performances of the most well-known pieces by some of Italy’s master musicians, including Puccini, Rossini and Verdi. At the medieval Santo Stefano, classical music concertos are wordless and wonderful.
At the Chiesa di Santa Monaca in central Florence, there is an Italian opera series where the music rivals the setting in time-tested beauty. There are concerts held in the church throughout the month of December, with a morning performance on Christmas Day and a dinner and opera gala on New Year’s Eve that would add classical magic to any Florentine holiday experience.
The Chiesa di Santa Monaca’s recently-restored organ is made of wood, and its music fills the intimate space in perfect harmony. There are only about 100 seats in the venue, so the experience is likely to be personal and memorable to all who attend. The building itself dates back to the 15th century, with many of the paintings and sculptures housed in the building crafted by master artisans many centuries ago.
Magic and Music