Christmas markets in Italy are one of our favorite times of the year! Not only are they beautiful and atmospheric (and a great place to get that holiday shopping done), but they make for an especially fun way to get to know an area’s local traditions, delicacies and artisans. Since we love immersive travel, we think that’s always a plus! Even if Tuscany is one of those regions that just keeps on surprising you, December mostly stands for Christmas in Tuscany! And, Christmas in Tuscany stands for events, delicious food, traditional festivals, colored lights, music and, obviously, presents. This means that all of Tuscany gets dressed in its Christmas clothes, giving life to Christmas markets traditions that are typical of this period but, at the same time, bring with them a genuine touch of their local origins.
Florence’s iconic Santa Croce piazza turns into a traditional market every year from the end of November to mid-December—and the market comes directly from Heidelberg, Germany! The many wooden stands are filled with both Florentine and German gifts and dishes, from panforte (a dense, spiced fruitcake) to bratwurst.
Discover Pisa's Fabbrica di Babbo Natale (literally, the “Father Christmas Factory”), a market created just for children in Pisa. Held from December 13 to 29 at the Leopolda Center, the “factory” even features a workshop to help children make their own gifts—not to mention to write letters to be mailed directly to the North Pole!
Siena makes a perfect destination for a visit during the holiday season, a jump back in time to the 14th century where you’ll have the chance to wander about peculiar stands intended to recreate a traditional medieval market while exhibiting and selling local and international food and quality handcrafted products. The historical center is small enough even for a one-day visit and big enough to offer many events and nice shops for Christmas delights. The narrow medieval streets are already set up with all the lights and decorations ready to welcome citizens and visitors with the magical atmosphere of a Christmas in Siena!
Pienza. It’s a competition where participants have to throw an entire panforte (a typical Christmas treat from Siena) wrapped in paper over a long table, trying to get it to go to the opposite edge or as close as possible. This game has recently become popular among both inhabitants and tourists, which are also invited to participate.
Montefollonico - An area of Tuscany particularly rich in the production of quality vin santo wines, with a tendency of being sweet filled with the aromas of the land. It’s a festival aimed to promote the local "holy wine" or vinsanto, as the sweet dessert wine made in Tuscany is called and the products that usually are eaten with it, like cantucci, the almond biscuits typical of Prato. Wine, food tastings and even a competition for the best holy wine of the festival!
Volterra, home to an event whose total earnings will be given to charity. Named after the prison of Volterra where a dinner takes place. The event consists in a collaboration among some of the most renowned Italian chefs from Florence and the prisoners in Volterra's ancient prison, which means setting up a delightful dinner open to the public with all proceeds going to charity
Villas of Italy is considering developing a Tuscan Christmas Adventure during the month of December. If you like this idea please let us know. If we receive enough positive feedback we'll work to launch an adventure during this magical time of year in Italy.
Italian cuisine is... first and foremost, quality. The best. Beauty. Richness and good-ness. Breeders, farmers, producers. Social responsibility. Our culture. History. Tradition. Art. Being together. Hospitality and well-being. Emotion. Love, sensitivity and memory. Biodiversity. The symbol of Italy. Everything that makes you feel good. Sun, sea and Viva Italia.
Like an impressionist painting, there are many ways to tell of the multiplicity of Italy and of being Italian through its cuisine. Only when they are put all together does it make up the whole picture.
If each of us were to tell stories through cooking, which is one of the most intimate aspects tied to our being Italian and a heritage recognized abroad as genuine and deeply attached to the beautiful country, it would definitely be hard to choose just one ingredient. In each plate there is a story with roots that go back centuries of culinary evolution, of cultural of traditions and routes that have crossed oceans, territories and borders.
There are personal and family stories, habits and customs; there is the life in the towns, there are smells, childhood memories and affections, there are moments in each of our lives which bind us to a nicely set dinner table. Recipes, tastes and flavors that play a soundtrack in our heads, even before being tasted, savored and enjoyed. There are smells which fill up the kitchen and the steaming pots that transform the house into a cozy place, in a time of gathering and sharing. There are habits that bind us to foods, to people, to the way of being and living. And then there’s the variety. The thousand interpretations of the same dish that from north to south are reinvented with the same ingredients, transforming those same ingredients into entirely different dishes that color the local traditions. A colorful palette of flavors which over time has given Italy an extremely rich and varied menu . . . in Italian cooking there is heart, the essence of every Italian.
Next September Villas of Italy will explore the history, culture, foods, wines . . . the essence of Tuscany.
Life is short . . . Italy is waiting . . . when are you going? Join us!
Villas of Italy specializes in all-inclusive superior villa vacations. We've designed our adventures so Italy can be experienced in intimate tour groups, Tourneo Custom air-conditioned vans, and one-of-a-kind Villa estates. Immerse yourself in Italy's picturesque towns and villages while enjoying exquisite cuisine, vibrant culture, and the spirit of Italy.
Explore our vacation options! HERE.
Tony Moglia's grandparents immigrated from Italy in the early 1900's. He's a dual citizen who has traveled extensively throughout Italy for 40 years. He's happily married to a vibrant dancer who together have two children and three grandchildren. Tony has dreamed of Villas of Italy since his first trip to Italy, and now he shares his dream with you.