Christmas in Florence!
The Christmas atmosphere in Florence, as in many Italian cities, starts in early December. The pastry shops begin to smell like childhood, the window displays seem detached from fairytales and the narrow streets of the city are decorated with the traditional Christmas lights. On December 8th a large Christmas tree is set up in the magnificent setting of Piazza del Duomo along with the Nativity scene, located to the front and left of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Nativity scenes, also known as ‘presepe’ are displayed in many churches and piazzas and crafting these ornate works of art by hand remains an artisanal tradition in many parts of the country. Bagpipes are the most common Italian Christmas sound. The zampognari, the shepherds who play the bagpipes, come down from their mountain homes at Christmas time and perform in the market squares.