Walking in December on the Tuscan Stages

Walking in December on the Tuscan Stages

December offers a unique experience for those walking the Tuscan stages, with snowy landscapes and festive atmosphere. However, the cold temperatures, trail conditions, and reduced availability of accommodations make it a challenging time for pilgrims. Consider booking a guided tour with a local company if you plan to walk the trail during this season.

Key Highlights:

  • December in Tuscany offers picturesque snowy landscapes, but challenging trail conditions and limited accommodations.
  • Cold temperatures and snow make proper clothing and safety measures crucial.
  • Guided tours are recommended for a safer experience and easier navigation.
  • Festive atmosphere and holiday foods add a unique charm to the journey.
  • Beyond Tuscany, cold weather and snow continue, but quieter trails and winter landscapes are a reward for those who venture.

Weather and Trail Conditions

In December, expect cold temperatures, ranging from 0.4ºC to 6.4ºC. Snow is likely, particularly in the mountainous areas, making the trail potentially dangerous and difficult to navigate.

  • Average temp: 3.2ºC
  • Average Low Temp: 0.4ºC
  • Average High Temp: 6.4ºC
  • Rainy Days: 9
  • Rainfall (mm): 106
  • Trail Conditions: The trail is likely to be covered in snow and may be dangerous to navigate without a guide.


Pack warm clothing, including layers, waterproof outerwear, insulated boots, gloves, and a hat to protect yourself from the cold and wet conditions.


December can be a challenging time to walk the Tuscan stages due to snow and cold temperatures. Ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear and consider booking a guided tour to ensure your safety on the trail.

Pilgrims and Accommodations

Number of Pilgrims

December sees very few pilgrims on the trail. Most pilgrims during this time will be on guided snow tours with local guides.

Stages with Open Accommodations

Accommodations may be available on all stages except Consuma. However, some smaller accommodations may be closed during this time, making it more challenging to find a place to stay. It is not an ideal time for walking the trail independently.

Booking Recommendation

Consider booking a guided excursion with a local company such as AlterTrek or Gli Amici dell’Asino Donkey Tours to help navigate the snowy conditions and secure accommodations.

Public Transportation

Public transportation is available for all stages, but there may be interruptions due to school holidays, as most buses in the Casentino region are used primarily for school transportation.

Starting in Florence in December

December is a great month to start in Florence if you want to explore the museums and experience uncrowded popular attractions. The trail conditions, however, may be impassable without a guide because of snow, and accommodations may be limited due to closures.

Experiencing Florence in December

Florence offers a festive atmosphere in December, with Christmas markets, holiday lights, and fewer tourists. Enjoy local holiday treats like Panettone and Vin Brulé, and take advantage of shorter lines at museums and attractions.

Foreste Casentinesi National Park in December

December’s snowy landscape in the Foreste Casentinesi National Park offers a picturesque and unique experience. However, the cold temperatures and snow make the trail difficult to navigate without a guide.

Foods Highlighted in December

December is a time for festive foods and warm, comforting dishes. Enjoy seasonal treats and traditional Italian holiday fare during your journey.

  • Panettone: A sweet, festive bread filled with candied fruit, typically enjoyed with a glass of sweet wine.
  • Vin Brulé: A warming, mulled wine made with red wine, sugar, and spices.
  • Ribollita: A hearty Tuscan bread and vegetable soup, perfect for cold December days.
  • Cotechino e Lenticchie: A traditional Italian New Year’s dish, featuring a spiced sausage (cotechino) served with lentils, symbolizing prosperity for the coming year.

Special Activities and Events in December

Florence and Casentino Events

During December, Tuscany comes alive with festive events, markets, and decorations as the region celebrates the holiday season.

  • Christmas Mass: Midnight Mass on December 24th starts around 11 pm. Christmas Day service on the 25th begins at 10.30 am. The Duomo also hosts mass on Christmas eve, led by the Cardinal of Florence. The Duomo also features a life-sized nativity scene.
  • Christmas Markets: Wander through numerous festive markets in various towns and cities, where you can find unique gifts and souvenirs.
  • Christmas Lights and Decorations: Enjoy the stunning light displays and decorations throughout Tuscany during December.

Events Later on the Trail

In December, the focus is on holiday celebrations and local traditions. Events and festivals later on the trail include Christmas markets, religious ceremonies, and festive gatherings in towns and cities.

Tips for Walking the Tuscan Stages in December

Although December may not be the ideal month for walking the trail due to cold weather, snow, and limited accommodations, it can still be a magical time to explore Tuscany. If you decide to walk during this time, be prepared with warm, waterproof clothing and consider booking a guided excursion with AlterTrek or Gli Amici dell’Asino Donkey Tours for a safer experience.

Beyond Tuscany

Umbria Stages: Pieve Santo Stefano to Assisi to Rieti (Stages 7-23)

In December, Umbria also experiences cold weather, with the possibility of snow in the mountains. Festive events and markets can be found throughout the region, but accommodations may be harder to find during this time. The quieter atmosphere allows for a more peaceful exploration of the region’s historic sites.

Lazio Stages: Rieti to Rome (Stages 24-28)

December in Lazio brings colder temperatures and potential snowfall, but there is still plenty to experience. The Vatican City and Rome offer indoor attractions, and the quieter atmosphere makes it easier to explore major sites without the crowds. The region also hosts numerous festive events, markets, and religious celebrations during the holiday season.

December’s Via di Francesco journey boasts snowy landscapes, a festive atmosphere, and fewer crowds. However, the cold weather, difficult trail conditions, and limited accommodations make it challenging. Opting for guided tours can enhance safety and convenience. Be prepared with warm, waterproof attire, and embrace the seasonal events and treats during this unique experience.