Christmas Cheer at Florence’s Charity Fairs

FILE’s signature panettone

The most wonderful time of the year is finally here, with fairs and markets that all contribute to noble causes. Here is how to extend a hand to those in need, and feel fulfilled knowing that each personal contribution is part of something grand.

Friday, December 2: CHRISTMAS FAIR. British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9 3 – 6 pm. Free admission.

Tables will display books, gifts, and unique handmade products for sale. People of any age are welcome to part take in the various activities which include enjoying homemade baked goods, buying a ticket for the raffle prizes (including a delicious Fortnum & Mason food hamper and a handmade box by Ann Hepper), or stopping at the tea and cakes station while shopping for the perfect Christmas gift. The proceeds will fund the library which has the largest selection of English books in continental Europe. More information can be found at the website (

Friday 2 – Sunday 4: NATALEPERFILE HOLIDAY FAIR. Palazzo Corsini, Lungarno Corsini 8. Open 10 am – 7 pm. Free admission.

There will be rooms dedicated to vintage clothing, and accessories, not to mention designer items, household linen, jewelry, bijoux, perfumes, in addition to wine and much more.  The panettone, a traditional Italian Christmas bread that has become the trademark treat of FILE’s fair, is always a must have, and the lucky winners of the raffle “Lotteriaperfile” will receive gifts given by Italian and international firms. Part of the proceeds of the fair will be donated to support the organizer’s cause to provide free palliative care services for the seriously ill and their families.

In addition to shopping, breakfast and lunch is available at the File Cafè and refreshments can be found in the Ninfeo del Palazzo which is managed by Terra Rossa. Christmas lottery tickets are also available for purchase to further help the cause which has prizes that are donated by local shops and private supporters. Information can be found on their website here: ( (Isabella Azzaro)

Saturday 3 – Sunday 4 RED CROSS CHARITY FAIR. Borgo San Frediano 12. 10 am – 6:30 pm.

This market is not only a way to find presents to lay under the Christmas tree, it will help spread the spirit of the season by aiding people suffering from poverty, disease, social reintegration as well as families with disadvantaged children.

Expect to find household items, paintings, art books, children’s books, decorations for Christmas, handmade patchwork bags, costume jewellery, ceremonial tea, clothing and refined cashmere sweaters. Additionally, gourmet products will be available: Visconti rice, Parmesan cheeses, and delicacies made from Umbrian truffles.

The Red Cross event is supported by numerous companies such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermanno Scervino, Lab of Naples, Both, Visconti & Du Reau, Faliero Sarti, Date-Sneakers, Angela Caputi, the Santa Maria Novella and Molteni pharmacies that donate many of the articles.

Saturday 3 – Sunday 4: ATT CHRISTMAS MARKET. Palazzo degli Affari (Piazza Adua).   9:30 am – 7 pm.  Free admission.

The members of ATT, or the Cancer Association Toscana, are everyday heroes. They provide nonstop assistance for cancer patients at home, 24/7, every day of the year thanks to a team comprised of doctors, psychologists, nurses, and medical social workers on duty in the provinces of Florence, Prato, and Pistoia.

Their work can be supported during their market, stocked with donations from name brand designers (think Prada) and famed leather boutiques. Clothes, costume jewelry plus Christmas baskets can be found here, an Italian tradition of wicker hampers filled with wines and Christmas breads.