Christmas is a magical time to experience Tuscany. The cities of art are filled with spectacular decorations, the villages dress up with markets and nativity scenes can be visited in the most beautiful churches. Among the many events taking place, we have selected 5 authentic Tuscan traditions, to make the most of the festive season.
Let's begin with Abbadia San Salvatore, the charming village on the slopes of Monte Amiata that turns into the Città delle Fiaccole (City of Bonfires) on Christmas Eve, December 24. The historic ritual involves burning huge pyramid-shaped piles of wood at midnight in every corner of the historic center. For a whole night, the village is illuminated by fire-light, around which people gather together, singing, enjoying traditional treats, and drinking mulled wine.
Go back in time in Monteriggioni on Christmas Eve, December 24, with a magical night walk along the via Francigena. Beginning at 9pm at the thirteenth-century castle, walk through the woods, lit by the light of hundreds of torches. The final destination is Valmaggiore and Abbadia ad Isola, a distance of 4 kilometers between forests and fields, ending in a mass in the splendid abbey of Santi Salvatore and Cirino. A truly special event, for a Christmas night full of spirituality.
Christmas lights also light up the mountains of Garfagnana. The small village of Gorfigliano, in the Municipality of Minucciano, carries out a historic tradition on Christmas Eve, dedicated to Natalecci, the name given to the enormous bonfires, built by intertwining juniper branches with a chestnut mast. These are placed on the most prominent hills of the town and set on fire at the same time as a bell rings out as a sign to start praying in an ancient and fascinating ritual.
The Befana Train is the perfect family outing. Since 2005, a steam train departs from Santa Maria Novella station in Florence on January 6 and journeys through the landscapes of the Valdisieve before arriving in San Piero a Sieve in Mugello. Here, both the young and old can celebrate the Epiphany together with tasting treats and typical products.
We end our roundup of events with one of the most important traditions of Christmas in Tuscany: the nativity scene. The representation of the nativity is an integral part of popular culture in many villages and cities. At Christmas, the Serchio Valley, for example, becomes the Valley of the Nativity scenes: here the centuries-old history of the masterful figurinai comes to life in a magical journey between Barga, Bagni di Lucca, Borgo a Mozzano, Coreglia Anteminelli and Pescaglia.