Visiting Florence and Tuscany over Christmas and new year 10 days


New member

We are planning a trip in late December between dec 27th - Jan 2nd to Florence and Tuscany. This is a family trip with 2 early teenage kids.

Need help in putting an itinerary together that covers Florence, Pisa, Siena and Tuscan countryside. We were considering doing day trips from Florence as a base or splitting staying between sienna and Florence:
Itinerary 1:

Day 1- 3: explore Florence and day trip to Pisa
Day4:rent car in florence. Drive to Siena with stop on way back to Florence at Monteriggioni.

Day5:drive from Florence to San Gimignano and Volterr

Day6:Drive w with rental car to Cortona and Arezzo.

Itinerary 2

Day 1- 3: explore Florence and day trip to Pisa
Day4:rent car in florence. Drive to Siena and stay in Siena.
Day 5-6 explore San Gimignano and Volterr, Cortona and Arezzo from sienna
Day 6 return from Siena to Florence.

A local florentine has suggested that we make Florence as a base but others on the forum have suggested we stay in the countryside since it’s beautiful during Christmas week. Our goal is to have a fairly easy paced trip and enjoy the food when we are there. Given that it’s late winter, we want to make sure that we can do that most effectively.

Please help.



The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Sumit,

I just answered your post on another thread -- seeing as you're not adverse to staying in Florence (as the original post said), then I would suggest you do itinerary #2, with a stay in Florence, then moving down to Siena for the other days. I think your kids will do fine with the one move in between and will appreciate spending a bit less time in the car if you're in Siena to do the those day trips from there. You will enjoy both Florence and Siena during the holidays when there is a festive air.

Since you say 10 days in the subject line but only cover 6 days in the itinerary, if you're heading down to Rome you might consider just driving down there instead of returning to Florence to return the car. Or returning the car to Chiusi which is along the route down and then taking the train the rest of the way.


New member
Help with Scheduling

I have a medium group (15-20) people coming to Florence between December 22 and Jan. 3, 2018-2019, and am trying to figure out what is open on Christmas Day and New Years' Day - shops, musuems, etc. - and schedule accordingly. Please help!

Also, do I need to book restaurant reservations in advance on those days for such a large group??? We are staying in one hotel by the Duomo.

Thank you in advance!!!


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao ColoradoGirl,

Many restaurants will be open on those days. You should consider booking for any group larger than 8 people, because depending on size of the restaurant, it helps them plan ahead to know they have to prepare food for one large party at a precise time and to serve all together.
Many restaurants will also offer set price menus to make it easier for groups: some will already have specific menus and give you an option between two dishes for each entree or if you want to have something different or specific, you define this ahead of time. They are open to working with you to set the menu, especially if you want to save a little. It helps to keep a budget down if you agree to a set price per person rather than what people order a la carte. You can also decide to just let people order a la carte, but still book for the group ahead of time!

Since they will also be here on the "eve" of those days, consider that many restaurants prepare special menus that include the entire meal, plus drinks and any entertainment for a set price for those "eve" dinners before Christmas Day but especially for New Year's Eve. Since those are meals you definitely have to plan for, the best thing is to look at restaurants you'd like to visit and start contacting them directly to get details on booking and deciding whether you want planned menus with a cost per person.

As for shops, many will be closed but there is no official communication of what is open or closed, the only way is to go around and roam and see what you find open. Luckily, Florence is an open air museum and those days can be enjoyed walking around and see monuments and piazzas from the outside.
As for museums, most will be closed with a few exceptions - take a look at what was open last year, as they are the museums that generally will be open again on Dec.25th and Jan.1:
We will update that article for 2018 as the dates draw nearer and museums actually confirm any special openings - or not!