Here We Come! | Italy | Christmas in Rome and Florence

Day 1 | Sat. 11/30/24 | Depart Greater Cincinnati Airport

Departing CVG on Delta


Day 2 | Mon. 12/01/24 | Arrival in Rome, Italy

Arrive in Rome



Train from Rome to Florence

Depart pm- Arrive pm

You will be travelling in Business class on Train TBD. Please visit my page on Trenitalia for information on the types of tickets you can book, and sample pricing. Don’t forget to watch the Partenze board for your Binario!

IMPORTANT: Be at the platform at least 20 minutes before departure.

Your train tickets include access to the Italo Club Lounge, so arrive early and relax!

Check the partenze. Partenze means departures in Italian, whereas Arrivi means arrivals. Find your train number under the Partenze column and go to the correct platform for your departure. Knowing your train number is key because the Partenze will display the final destination of the train. If you are traveling from Florence to Rome, your train might actually keep going to Naples – so it will be Napoli which shows on the board. If you keep watching, all of the stops will scroll by in the smaller letters next to the main destination.

Departing Rome Fiumicino Airport for Florence, Italy by train.


Day 3 | Mon. 12/02/24 | Florence, Italy

Exploring Florence in December: A Winter Wonderland

As the year draws to a close, Florence transforms into a magical winter wonderland. The historic streets, adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, invite travelers to immerse themselves in the city’s rich culture, art, and culinary delights. Whether you’re sipping hot cocoa by the Arno River or marveling at Renaissance masterpieces, Florence in December promises an unforgettable experience.

Florence, IT
61°
Clear
05:3720:47 CEST
Feels like: 61°F
Wind: 4mph E
Humidity: 83%
Pressure: 29.97"Hg
UV index: 0
5h6h7h
59°F
59°F
61°F
ThuFriSat
79°F / 63°F
75°F / 55°F
79°F / 55°F

Weather Overview

December, the last month of the year, brings a wintry chill to Florence. As the year winds down, daylight hours recede considerably, and more frequent rain showers are experienced across the city.

In December, the temperature can cool down to a low around 36.7°F (2.6°C).

Precipitation

In December, the rain falls for 8.3 days. Throughout December, 3.19″ of precipitation is accumulated.

What to Pack

  1. Warm Layers: Florence can get chilly, especially in the evenings. Pack cozy sweaters, scarves, and a good-quality coat.
  2. Comfortable Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must.
  3. Umbrella: While snow is rare, rain showers are common. An umbrella will come in handy.
  4. Camera: Capture the city’s beauty against the backdrop of holiday lights and festive markets.

Christmas Market – Piazza Santa Croce

The Piazza Santa Croce Christmas Market is a delightful annual tradition that has been enchanting visitors for over 500 years. Located in the heart of Florence, this market takes place from November 28 to December 20. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Festive Atmosphere: Picture wooden stalls adorned with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and the scent of holiday treats filling the air. The historic Basilica di Santa Croce provides a stunning backdrop for this charming market.
  2. German-Style Stalls: Inspired by the German Weihnachtsmarkt tradition, the market features open-air wooden stalls where you can explore local and international goods. From handmade crafts to artisanal products, there’s something for everyone.
  3. Mouthwatering Foods: Treat your taste buds to traditional German delights like bratwurst and pretzels. Pair them with sauerkraut or a cold beer for an authentic experience. Don’t miss the Kürtőskalács (chimney cake) covered in delicious toppings like cinnamon and chocolate.
  4. Mulled Wine: Warm up with a cup of mulled wine—the perfect holiday drink to enjoy on a brisk winter day. Some stalls even let you keep the mug as a souvenir!
  5. International Flavors: Explore Dutch crepes, Austrian pastries, and Italian specialties. From cheese and jam to chocolate and spices, there’s a delightful mix of flavors.
  6. Unique Gifts: Whether you’re hunting for stocking stuffers or souvenirs, the market offers beautifully crafted ornaments, candle votives, and ceramic home goods. You’ll find contemporary artwork and original jewelry too.
  7. Winter Wear: Stay cozy while exploring the market with scarves, hats, and jackets available from various vendors.

For more details, visit the official website. Enjoy your festive adventure in Florence! 🎁

Visit my Christmas in Florence Page for Additional Information


Day 4 | Tue. 12/03/24 | Florence, Italy


Day 5 | Wed. 12/04/24 | Rome, Italy

Today you will depart Florence at TBD am for a train to Rome.
You will be travelling in Business Class Coach TBD of Frecciarossa TBD.

Please watch this video on the train between Florence and Rome.

Hotel Scalinata di Spagna

A charming 3-star Hotel in downtown Rome, located inside an age-old building built in 1888, on a pre-existing late seventeenth-century building. The Hotel’s façade is protected by the Belle Arti. The Hotel boasts a fabulous location.

It is located on top of the Spanish Steps, Piazza Trinita dei Monti, one of the most beautiful places of the capital. From the veranda and the adjacent terrace of the Hotel you can enjoy a view over the roofs and domes of Rome.

Watch the Video

GRAND TOUR APARTMENT

The Grand Tour apartment, on the second floor of the historical building, was renovated in 2017, leaving its Art Deco style unchanged. It features decorated vaulted ceilings and period furniture. The apartment consists of two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. The first bedroom with en-suite bathroom has a queen-size double bed, a fireplace and three windows, one of which overlooks Piazza Mignanelli. The second bedroom has 2 single beds, with the possible addition of a third bed. Comfort: air conditioning, HD LED TV with SKY satellite channels, free wi-fi, free minibar, telephone, personal electric safe.


Rome, IT
64°
Fair
05:3820:36 CEST
Feels like: 64°F
Wind: 3mph NE
Humidity: 85%
Pressure: 29.95"Hg
UV index: 0
5h6h7h
63°F
63°F
61°F
ThuFriSat
79°F / 66°F
77°F / 59°F
79°F / 61°F

Weather in December

December, the first month of the winter in Rome, is still a cold month, with an average temperature ranging between min 25.7°F and 36°F.

Precipitation

In December, the rain falls for 5.7 days. Throughout December, 0.75″ of precipitation is accumulated. Snow falls for 6.3 days, with typically accumulated 0.94″.


Day 6 | Thur. 12/05/24 | Rome, Italy

Tuscany Guided Day Trip from Rome with Lunch & Wine Tasting

Book a Tuscany tour from Rome and see the best of the captivating Val d’Orcia region, near Siena. With a local guide at your side, visit the wine towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino, and enjoy free time to explore Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Wine tasting and lunch at a farm is included.

Meeting Point

Meet at the center of Piazza del Popolo, by the large fountain with the lions and the obelisk. The nearest metro stop is Flaminio (Line A).

Board your luxury coach, and travel from Rome to Tuscany with its scenic, rolling hills. Your first stop is Montepulciano, a town renowned for its fine wine and views. The Renaissance hilltown is best-known for its production of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a full-bodied red wine. Learn about it on a walking tour and discover highlights such as the Florence-style clock tower, the cathedral with its yet-to-be-finished façade, medieval wine cellars, and the old town walls.

Hear how the local vineyards produce the acclaimed Brunello di Montepulciano wine, and then sample a glass for yourself over a 3-course lunch at a local farm. In traditional Tuscan style, the menu features fresh farm-grown produce as well as a selection of local wine. From the farm, travel on to Pienza, one of the region’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and enjoy free time to explore. The layout of the town was created by Pope Pius II, who wanted to change the look of his birth town. Admire the historic center, which stays true to the pope’s vision, and gaze at the fine architecture that abounds. If you are a fan of food, check the shops for pecorino cheese, arguably Pienza’s most prized product. Your day trip finishes with your coach journey back from Tuscany to Rome.


Rome Christmas Markets: A Festive Italian Experience

Rome, the Eternal City, embraces the holiday spirit with its charming Christmas markets. While they may not rival the grandeur of German or Austrian markets, they offer a unique blend of Italian flair, ancient history, and festive cheer. Let’s explore the top Christmas markets in Rome:

Piazza Navona Christmas Market

  • Dates: The Piazza Navona Christmas Market typically runs from early December until early January.
  • Location: Piazza Navona, a historic square adorned with Bernini’s magnificent fountains, hosts a delightful market.
  • Highlights:
    • Wooden stalls selling handmade crafts, ornaments, and seasonal gifts.
    • Street performers, musicians, and artists create a lively atmosphere.
    • Savor roasted chestnuts (castagne) and warm mulled wine (vin brulé).
    • Carousel rides for the little ones.
  • Tip: Visit in the evening when the square is beautifully illuminated.

Visit my Christmas in Rome Page for Additional Information


Day 7 | Fri. 12/06/24 | Rome, Italy


Day 8 | Sat. 12/06/24 | Rome, Italy


Day 9 | Sun. 12/08/24 | Rome, Italy

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (known as L’Immacolata Concezione in Italian) is a significant Italian public holiday celebrated annually on December 8. This day commemorates the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was graced by God to lead a life “free of sin” according to Catholic tradition. Here are some key points about this holiday:

  1. Origins and Significance:
    • The celebration of the Immaculate Conception can be traced back to when the Vatican officially declared the feast on December 8, 1854.
    • According to Catholic dogma, the Virgin Mary was free from original sin from the moment of her conception. This belief is rooted in Catholic tradition and was affirmed by Pope Pius IX in 1854.
    • Italians honor Mary, whom they believe is immaculate, or “free from sin,” on this special day.
  2. Observances:
    • Many Italians attend a church mass to honor Mary.
    • One of the highlights is a celebration led by the Catholic pope in Rome. During this ceremony, the pope kneels in prayer and lays a floral wreath on the statue of the Madonna at the Piazza Mignanelli.
    • In some places, there is street entertainment by jugglers and street clowns for the public.
  3. Public Life:
    • The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a nationwide public holiday in Italy.
    • Organizations and businesses that are closed include:
      • Government offices
      • Post offices
      • Banks
      • Schools and other educational institutions
    • Many shops remain open during this time of the year for people to start their Christmas shopping.
    • Transport options, such as taxis, rail services between major cities, and major long-route bus lines, are available, but travelers are advised to check routes and timetables with local transport authorities.


Day 10 | Mon. 12/09/24 | Rome, Italy


Transfer to the Airport

Day 10 – Depart Rome (FCO) at 1:50 pm

Priority Pass Lounges at Rome Fiumicino Airport
Rome Fiumicino Airport Plaza Platinum Amex Lounges
Depart at 1:50 pm

Arrive at 7:30 pm – Layover in Atlanta (ATL)

Depart ATL 10:25 pm on Delta 2395


Day 10 | Dec. 9, 2024

Arrive Cincinnati (CVG)
11:46pm on Delta Flight 2395


PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP

Cellular Phone Service | Verizon Phone Service

Plan your trip overseas with our travel planner | Verizon

Currency Exchange

Foreign currency exchange is the act of exchanging one type of currency for another. For example, if you’re planning an international trip to Europe, you may want to plan ahead and exchange U.S. dollars for Euros so that you are prepared to cover cash expenses as soon as you arrive without having to stop at an exchange office at your destination. Two hundred euros should get you through until you get to an ATM.

Making ATM Withdrawals – USE A BANK ATM!

The best way to get cash in Italy is to make an ATM withdrawal when you arrive. The Visa or Mastercard exchange rate applies and is better than any rate you’re likely to get exchanging currency at an exchange office or a bank.

Italian bank ATMs are called bancomats and some don’t charge a local ATM operator fee — but avoid using independent ATMs. These third-party ATMs charge like a wounded bull, and it’ll be obvious which ATMs are affiliated with a bank and which aren’t.

Cash and Currency Tips for Europe by Rick Steves

Foreign Currency Exchange Services (pnc.com)

How long does it take to receive foreign currency bank notes that are ordered at a PNC branch?

Standard foreign currency orders entered before 4:30 p.m. ET will be delivered to the branch by the end of the next business day. (during business travel season please allow 1 – 2 additional business days)

Customers may request overnight delivery for a $15 charge. Overnight delivery foreign currency orders entered before 4:30 p.m. ET will be delivered to the branch by noon the next business day. Overnight delivery is only available Monday through Friday and isn’t available on bank holidays.

Foreign Currency Exchange | Fifth Third Bank (53.com)

Fifth Third customers can buy and sell foreign currency at their local branch with competitive exchange rates. And when you return from your trip, Fifth Third can buy back any unused foreign currency, exchanging it back into U.S. dollars.  Contact your local branch if you have questions about a particular currency carried.


Links for More Information

Rome with Kids – Fun things to do, what’s free, what to expect (romewise.com)

Rome Taxi- Guide to Taxi to/from airport and city center.

GetYourGuide – Please book through this link.


Contact Vince to plan your unforgettable trips.

PACKING LIST

Water Shoes, the beaches are primarily rocky.