Christmas Markets—Florence, Bologna, Siena

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Willa Thomas
December 4, 2023
Photo of Siena Christmas Decorations at the Market

This past weekend was full of Christmas festivities! Being so far from home leading up to the holidays means some of my traditions have looked a little bit different this year. One of my favorite things about being in Europe is how they celebrate the holidays. Here’s a little recap of all of the Christmassy things I have been doing recently to get in the festive spirit.

  1. Siena—The first weekend in Siena, the town organizes a Christmas market. I spent most of Saturday walking around and looking at all of the stalls. This was by far the best market I’ve been to so far. One of the reasons I love Siena is how small and local it feels. I felt like the market offered a really good variety of local food products like different cheeses, meats, wines, and more. The perfect place to pick up some gifts to bring home. There were so many handmade products, lots of beautiful jewelry, cashmere scarves, hats, and tons of Christmas decorations. In addition to the Christmas market, Siena has put up a ton of Christmas lights and trees throughout the city center making the entire city feel so festive. I’ve loved going on walks at night throughout the city to explore and look at all the decorations.
  2. Bologna—On Sunday, I ventured to Bologna, one of my favorite cities in Italy. I originally went to see a few museums but ended up staying much longer than expected to do some Christmas shopping. One of the reasons I love Bologna is how welcoming it is. On Sundays, there are markets set up in a lot of the piazzas full of everything you could need. There were also a few Christmas markets set up throughout the city making it super fun to wander throughout the city and shop around. If you do find yourself in Bologna, I would suggest two places: Mercato di Mezzo, a hall with a ton of food and drink options right in the middle of one of the main shopping areas of Bologna, and a perfect stop for lunch. The second is a coffee shop, Aroma. It’s a specialty coffee shop in the city center and one of my favorite spots in all of Italy.
  3. Florence—Florence always has a ton of cool markets but I think they get even better during Christmas. Last week I was in Florence and stopped by the market at Piazza Santa Croce. This market had tons of yummy food options and would be so fun to go to for dinner with a bunch of friends one night! I only walked through quickly but I loved what I saw and the basilica is the perfect backdrop for a festive outing.

Overall, I’ve loved being able to get into the festive spirit in Italy. It’s nice to be able to experience some holiday cheer from a different culture with different traditions and foods. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for the next two weeks before I head home for Christmas with my family.

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Willa Thomas

My name is Willa Thomas and I am originally from San Diego, CA. I am a biology major on the pre-nursing track but chose to study business and economics while abroad to learn something new and broaden my horizons!

2023 Fall
Home University:
Wofford College
Biological Sciences
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