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Enjoy the festive air

December is Christmas market time. The most picturesque Tuscan villages and towns are home throughout the month to outdoor markets where you can enjoy the Christmas atmosphere and buy local handicraft products, food and drink delicacies.

Let’s begin with Florence, where Piazza Santa Croce is home to the traditional yearly Weihnachtsmarkt, the German Christmas market. The small wooden huts showcase typical foods and wines from Germany: pretzels, strudels, craft beer and pork dishes are waiting for you to fully experience northern European products. There are also craft products in wood and wool, ideal for a folkish Christmas present.

Palazzuolo sul Senio – a small village at the heart of the Mugello in the Apennines – holds a magic advent Christmas market, among the best known in Tuscany, attracting thousands of visitors from across Italy. This medieval village offers the most original decorations and most beautiful gift ideas, wrapping the whole family in a fascinating atmosphere. Tourists can walk the streets of the historic center to the tune of Christmas carols, admiring the traditional and creative street filled with 100 presepi per Palazzuolo – 100 cribs for Palzzuolo.

On the slopes of Mount Amiata lies Abbadia San Salvatore, a small town that hosts a unique and memorable experience, known as La notte delle Fiaccole – bonfire night, a thousand-year old tradition that lights up the streets of the center on Christmas eve. Large piles of wood burn along the streets of this medieval village, animated by Christmas carols and tastings of typical products. It starts with the construction of the first bonfires and lasts through January with a rich list of traditional celebrations. On Christmas Eve the bonfires are lit, and will burn until the morning. This unmissable opportunity will let you discover how a typical mountain village jealously guards its traditions.

But we mustn’t forget the less fortunate, especially at Christmas. In the long weekend of 2, 3 and 4 December tradition and charity come together in the festive atmosphere of the Christmas market organized by the Red Cross at ObiHall. All proceeds will be donated to the social activities of the Florentine Red Cross volunteers who strive to make Christmas a day that everybody can enjoy.