The "Weihnachtsmarkt", also known as the "Mercato Tedesco di Natale" or "Mercato di Heidelberg", has been setting up in Piazza Santa Croce for 11 years now. 55 wooden vendor stalls set up shop to open on 28 November this year and will be in business until 16 December.
This German Market is probably the most popular Christmas Market in Florence. Crowds gather each day from 10:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night, milling about the vendors, browsing and purchasing gifts and ornaments from around Europe.
|Bomboloni - filled donuts. Perfect for a morning at the market...or anytime!|
|Apple Strudel. This version from Northern Italy.|
|This version of Apple Strudel is from Austria.|
|At the Austrian Strudel booth, you can find different kinds of strudel...traditional apple, mixed berries, etc.|
|Stirring the big pot of sauerkraut|
Friends and families spend time here eating, drinking, shopping and visiting with each other. It is a very festive atmosphere, one that the locals really enjoy each year.
Christmas shopping at the market is a very international experience. The Chamber of Commerce works with the trade associations of participating countries to organize this annual event. Last year, there were 11 countries that participated and crowds totaled 150,000 over the course of the 20 days that it was open.
Vendors sell a variety of goods, from German foods, Christmas ornaments, clothing, toys, to English tea sets and spices from around the world.
|This vendor is selling lavender products from Provence, France.|
|Dried herbs, teas, and spices are for sale at this booth.|
In addition to the food, drink and shopping, the piazza that the market is located in - Piazza Santa Croce - is one of the most beautiful in Florence. The neo-Gothic facade of the Basilica stands facing the market. Santa Croce is always a treat to visit, so if you are in the area, perhaps you can visit the church and then head over to the market. (For more information on Santa Croce, you can read my blog post about it here).
If you happen to find yourself in Florence around the holidays, make a point to visit the Weihnachtsmarkt and some of the other Christmas markets around town. These events really help to put everyone in the holiday spirit!