10 Things To Do In Florence Around Christmas If You're Studying Abroad

If you're studying abroad this semester, you've probably already checked a lot off of your bucket list. You may have spent a weekend at a winery with your besties, fell in love with a stunning piece of artwork at a museum, and taken a cooking class with a local chef. Now, it's time to make a separate list of things to do in Florence around Christmas.

'Tis the season when Italian markets with truffles, beautiful ornaments, and handmade sweaters pop up in the squares. When you're walking to class, you might see the luxury shops covering their doors in decor like garland and giant, red bows. The cobblestone streets surrounding your apartment may be lined with twinkly lights too.

To say the very least, it's magical and may make you feel like you're living in a holiday movie where the main characters are living their best lives. It may reaffirm your desire to cancel your plane ticket home, and instead travel from one city to the next, picking up passport stamps and taking part in other countries' Christmas traditions along the way.

For now, though, let it inspire you to make a list of all the things to do in Florence around Christmas. Here are 10 adventures to get you started.

1. Walk Under The Christmas Lights Around The City

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First up, you and your study abroad friends should definitely take a walk around the city and look at all the twinkly lights. Around the holidays, Florence strings beautiful strands of lights over its streets for everyone — from locals to travelers like you — to enjoy. Spend an hour wandering down the cobblestone paths with your camera and looking up at the decor.

2. Get Hot Chocolate At Venchi

Hot chocolate is a must around the holidays. And lucky for you, there are a ton of spots to order a warm cup of sweetness in the city you now call home sweet home. Do yourself a favor, though, and go straight to Venchi. This chocolate shop and café has a menu of sweets for you to try and take back to your cozy apartment.

3. Have A Holiday Meal With Your Study Abroad Friends

Odds are, you've gotten pretty close with the people in your program. Maybe you went into the semester knowing them from your university or college, or met them the first day of your art history class. Either way, you should have a holiday meal with them around Christmas. Have everyone bring an ingredient or dish — and don't forget the red wine.

4. Listen To Music Near La Rinascente At Night

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At this point in your semester abroad, you know the squares in Florence are always bustling. During the day, they're filled with travelers, shoppers, café lovers, and artists. At night, especially around Christmas, they're the spot to go for live music and a multitude of lights. The department store, La Rinascente, is located in Piazza della Repubblica, which is probably the dreamiest square you'll find. Go there tonight in your comfiest sweater, OK?

5. Pick Up A Cozy Scarf At The Leather Market

You can score some amazing deals at the leather market in this city if you don't mind working your way through a crowd. The stands are bustling with handbags, wallets, and souvenir-style shirts that would make a great addition to your closet. During Christmas, however, you're going to want to go straight for the cozy blanket scarves or knitted ponchos.

6. Grab A Drink At Dondino Winebar

Wine bars are particularly cozy around the holidays because they tend to smell like cinnamon sticks, orange slices, and the other ingredients that go into mulled wine. Dondino Winebar near the Basicilia di Santa Croce is no exception with its warm atmosphere and dimmed lighting. Head there instead of going to aperitivo at your favorite joint. (Yeah, I said it.)

7. Check Out The Holiday Market Near The Basilica Di Santa Croce

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Arguably the best part of the holidays is the markets that pop up all over the world. Florence participates in the tradition by setting up stands near the Basilica di Santa Croce for weeks on end before Christmas. The stands sell ornaments, knit socks, mulled wine, and so many chocolate-flavored treats.

8. Try A Bowl Of Goulash At Trattoria La Casalinga

If you haven't tried a bowl of savory goulash during your time in Florence, what are you waiting for? It's so tasty and the definition of "comfort food." It's particularly good at a local restaurant in Florence: Trattoria La Casalinga. Call ahead to make a reservation and prepare your taste buds for culinary excellence.

9. Study For Final Exams At Your Favorite Coffee Shop

Do you have a favorite coffee shop in Florence? Of course. It's where you go when you're craving a cappuccino or want to get a croissant in between classes. Before Christmas, though, it'll be the spot you study for final exams while the snow falls outside. Because, Italian treats and views will make any study session way better.

10. Take A Picture With The Christmas Tree Near The Duomo

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Last but not least, if you're studying abroad in Florence right now, then you need to take a picture with the decorated tree near the Duomo. Every year, the city puts it up in celebration of the season and all the joy to come. You won't want to miss it.