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Where to go in the city on the Arno River to enjoy the magical lights and flavours of the Festive Season

Florence is one of the most sought-after destinations for the Festive season. Decorations warm the heart and exclusive hotels offer special formulas for lunches, dinners and also brunch to celebrate the end of the old year and the start of the new in grand style.

Take a dazzling stroll along Via Strozzi and Via dei Pescioni to Via de’ Tornabuoni, where a shower of over 80,000 LEDs, gold and silver baubles and a 4-metre-high fountain of lights await you, and, in Piazza Santa Trinità, an 8-metre high illuminated tree. As is traditional, lighting up of the Christmas tree in Piazza del Duomo takes place on 8 December, which is when the F-Light (Florence Light Festival) luminous installations also return. This year’s theme is Reflections: where we are, where we’re going which until 9 January will colour the city’s main monuments with amazing video mapping and projections, including of course the Ponte Vecchio, which becomes even more spectacular as darkness falls. Another Christmas venue par excellence is the Weihnachtsmarkt Bavarian-style Christmas market in Piazza Santa Croce.

Also not to be missed is the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, which is stunningly decorated every year by Vincenzo Dascanio, and where new Executive Chef, Paolo Lavezzini, who immediately confirmed Il Palagio’s Michelin star, has prepared delicious menus for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas lunch, New Year’s Eve dinner and an irresistible brunch for the 1st and 2nd January. If you’d like to see in the New Year with a champagne toast and caviar on top of a medieval tower, just make a booking at the Hotel Continental’s La Terrazza rooftop bar. To enjoy a Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve dinner of traditional Italian cuisine with a view of the iconic Ponte Vecchio, there’s the Caffè dell’Oro. If you’d prefer to admire the beauty of a festively illuminated Florence from above, the Christmas lunch and New Year’s Eve dinner at Villa Cora would be perfect.

All of this without forgetting a visit to the exclusive The Mall Firenze – more elegant than ever in its Christmas finery – located on the hills just outside the city, the ideal place for gifts and for gifting yourself something special.