Florence’s 2018 Christmas Week Celebrations

The Christmas tree next to the Florence Cathedral, photo by Kayla Smith


For art lovers

December 24 affords several excellent museum-visiting opportunities: the Bargello National Sculpture Museum, the Davanzati Renaissance Home Museum, the Uffizi and Accademia galleries are all open from 8:15 am – 1:50 pm as well as the Archeological Museum, while the Boboli and Bardini gardens are accessible from 8:15 am to 4:30 pm. Palazzo Vecchio will welcome guests from 9 am – 7 pm to see the grandeur and opulence of the Medici family’s former residence; during the same hours the Opera del Duomo Cathedral Museum is also open. For a more contemporary and thought-provoking artistic experience, the Museo Novecento will be displaying its collection of 20th century Italian art from 11 am – 7 pm. Other options include Museo Stefano Bardini (11 am – 5 pm) and Brancacci Chapel in Piazza del Carmine with frescoes by Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi (10 am – 5 pm).


The Orchestra della Toscana is holding its traditional Christmas Eve performance at Teatro Verdi at 5 pm led by Daniele Rustioni. The evening begins with Mozart’s delightful Nozze di Figaro Overture, followed by the Piano Concerto op. 56 by Robert Schumann, a highlight of the romantic repertoire. Italian pianist Beatrice Rana, a 25-year-old rising star, will be the soloist. The concert concludes with the Symphony n. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff written in 1906-07, and conducted by the composer at the premiere in St. Petersburg on February 8, 1908.  The audience reacted with enthusiasm to this new work, finally granting the pianist Rachmaninoff success as a composer.  (anne lokken)


On December 23, the Church of Santi Apostoli (Borgo Santi Apostoli) is holding a Catholic mass in English at 11:30 am and 7 pm.

St. Mark’s English Church, via Maggio

Sunday, December 23: St. Mark’s Carol Service followed by reception with minced pies and mulled wine. 6 – 7 pm.

Monday, December 24:
St. Peter’s Siena Carol Service.  4 pm.
Sung High Mass of the Holy Nativity. 11:30 pm – 12:30 am

Tuesday, December 25
Mass of the Nativity.  10:30 – 11:30 am

St. James American Church, via B. Rucellai 9

December 24

Mass and Christmas Pageant.  6 pm
Midnight Mass.  11 pm

December 25
Christmas mass. 11 am 

Mass in English at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) will be celebrated on December 25 at 5 pm.


Movie in English

The Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, will be screening at the Odeon (piazza Strozzi) on December 25 and 26 at 4, 6:45 and 9:15 pm.  Read all about the movie in English here.

For the rest of the holiday schedule at the Odeon, see link.


All of Florence’s museums will be closed on Christmas Day, with the exception of Santa Maria Novella (1 – 5:30 pm) and the Marina Abramovic exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi (10 am – 8 pm), although many churches can be toured for their architecture and artworks: Santa Felicita (9:30 am – 12:30 pm), Santa Trinita (8:30 – 10:45 am, 4 – 5:45 pm), Santo Spirito (designed by Brunelleschi, it also houses a crucifix by Michelangelo and is open 11:30 am – 1:30 and from 3 – 6 pm) and Santissima Annunizata (4 – 5:15 pm).

Adding an extra touch this Christmas are the museums open on December 26 (Santo Stefano, a legal holiday in Italy): the Uffizi, the Accademia, the Pitti Palace complex (8:15 am – 6:50 pm), the Medici Chapels and the Museum of San Marco (8:15 am – 4:50 pm) along with the Boboli Gardens (8:15 am – 4:30 pm).

Alternatively, the Santa Maria Novella’s doors will be open from 9:30 am – 5:30 pm for families to enjoy its impressive architecture and artwork in addition to the Opera del Duomo Cathedral Museum (9 am – 7 pm), Palazzo Vecchio (9 am – 11 pm), the Brancacci Chapel (1 – 5 pm) and the Novecento Art Museum (11 am – 7 pm).

A special treat on December 26 are the free guided visits of areas normally not open to the public at the monastery of San Miniato including the refectory, the courtyard and the frescoes by Paolo Uccello (10, 11:30 am, 3 and 5 pm with the meeting point inside the basilica in from of the sacristy).

The Palazzo Davanzati Museum offers an event titled “Stories of Love in the Paintings of the Davanzati” aimed at young visitors intended to spark their imagination at this festive time of year on December 29 at 4:30 pm.

Visitors to the Davanzati step back in time and are immersed in the home and lifestyle of a Renaissance nobleman’s family.  Richly decorated, colorful frescoes and tapestries cover the walls of the interior, inviting the visitor to discover the secrets and surprises in the art.  Children and their parents will be welcomed and led by a guide through an idyllic “journey” in a milieu of play, magic and the discovery.

Admission to the museum and the guided tour will be free for children, with €6 admission of for accompanying adults.

The number of participants per group will be limited to a maximum of 10 children in order to make the visit more meaningful and engaging.  Reservations are recommended with the number of children and adults attending and can be made by telephoning 055/294883.  (rita kungel)