PIAZZA SANTA CROCE CHRISTMAS MARKET

written by Gianna Bacher

The piazza of the beautiful Basilica di Santa Croce is home to the largest Christmas market in Florence! While the tradition began in Germany in the 12th century and spread to surrounding the countries, the Weihnachtsmarkt Santa Croce does not fail to deliver the charm and excitement of the historic markets.

The Weihnachtsmarkt market has been an annual tradition in Florence for the past 500 years and is a spot you have to experience during holiday season. From November 28 to December 20th (10 am-10pm)  you can stroll through the festive, German style open-air wooden stalls to browse the local and international goods.

The Santa Croce market hosts traditional, mouthwatering foods such as bratwurst and pretzels. These create a rich, savory meal when accompanied by kraut or a beer.  A must-try goodie is Kürtőskalács, also called chimney cake, covered in your choice of delicious toppings such as cinnamon and chocolate. A warm cup of mulled wine is the perfect holiday drink to warm you up on a brisk winter’s day, and some stalls even have the option to keep the mug as a souvenir!  Other fun international treats can be found at the Dutch crepes and waffles stall and the Austrian booths lined with an array of tempting pastries.

An Italian twist is added to the traditional stalls with the addition of the tasty cheese, jam, chocolate, and spice vendors. Original jewelry and contemporary artwork can also be found at local artisan’s booths. Several vendors that sell winter wears such as scarves, hats, and jackets to keep warm while enjoying the market and the rest of Florence. The market is a great place to pick up unique Christmas treats and sweets for stocking stuffers or souvenirs. Beautifully crafted ornaments and candle votives of all kinds are sure to liven any holiday celebration. Lastly, there is a plentiful variety of ceramic home goods offered at the English stalls where you can also buy amazing lemon curd and fruit-mince.

Whether you are just perusing the stalls or on the hunt for one-of-a-kind gifts, you are sure to enjoy this delightful market!


 

LA FESTA DI SAN LORENZO

 

If you happen to find yourself in Florence on August 10th, then you may be surprised to know that you can find a free dinner of pasta followed by watermelon in the San Lorenzo square!

This day, Florentines celebrate the Feast of San Lorenzo, the co-patron of the city.  It is one of the most traditional festivities that takes place in Florence during the month of August where everyone is invited to celebrate in the piazza of San Lorenzo.  Free pasta (traditionally lasagne but this year the menu is showing ‘penne pomodoro’) will be offered to all, followed by watermelon with yogurt and or cream.

This community festival, thanks to the operators of the central market and local street vendors will start at 8:00pm with a traditional band concert organized by Don Marco Viola, parish priest of San Lorenzo and will then be followed at 9:00pm with the distribution of the pasta and watermelon.

This night is also quite special for another reason.  Don’t be surprised to see people looking towards the sky as this is the night when you will most probably see a falling star or two if you are lucky!  Let’s hope that the sky is clear so we can all make our wish on a falling star.

 

Pasta for Everyone. photo by lanazione.it