The most wonderful time of the year is coming… Christmas! Italy, as other countries during December, proudly carries on an old tradition: Christmas markets! If you love these events as much as I do, you can’t miss out on them! Especially if you’re planning on taking a Christmas trip to Italy. You can enjoy them all December long with their lights and decorations, their smell of cinnamon and nutmeg and their wooden houses where the most creative artisans show their masterful handmade creations. Let’s take a look at the most characteristic Christmas markets in Italy!
Each Italian Region Has its Own Market
Each and every region has it’s own kind of market. Let’s take a look at the most characteristic Christmas markets in Italy!
Aosta Valley is the perfect venue for this type of event thanks to it’s incredible landscapes and it’s magical atmosphere.
I’d like to pont out the Marché Vert Noël, which is very peculiar, since it takes place in the archeological area of the Roman Theater, which becomes a lovely mountain village for the occasion. Here we can find wooden decorations and chalets, where you can taste local wines and cold cuts. Of course, food is not the only thing you will find. You will also find all sorts of ideas for gifts (accessories, clothes, decorations, woodwork…), mostly handmade.
In Trentino Alto Adige it’s difficult to choose just one among the miriad of local markets that take place; each one more impressive than the next. Here, the tradition of Christmas markets is deeply rooted. Some examples would be:
- Trento, probably the most famous in Italy;
- Merano, an already lovely city all year round, that gets sensational this time of the year;
- Bolzano, strongly Germany-influenced, offers strudel, Christmas cookies and vin brûlé.
In Piemonte, on the other hand, i’ve got to point out the “Natale è reale” (Christmas is Real) event, perfect for those of you who really can’t stand the cold. It’s an indoor event, which takes place in the royal stables of the Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi, near Turin. You will also get the chance of visiting the wonderful Palazzina and it’s stables, but there’s also lots of events for children, like elves with games and entertainment, Santa’s magical house and the mechanical nativity scene.
Not to mention the “Xmas Street Food”, where you can taste great artisanal beer and Piemonte’s delicacies, but also hot chocolate and Christmas sweets.
If your destination is Lombardia, you can’t miss out on Como’s Città dei Balocchi. Here, in addition to the tipical Christmas markets, you can go ice skating or get on the ferry wheel to enjoy the spectacular view of the lake.
Veneto stands out for Verona‘s Christmas markets, made in collaboration with Nuremberg’s “Christkindlmarkt”. In the city of Romeo and Juliet there’s no lack of ideas for Christmas themed gifts: glassware, woodwork and ceramics or delicacies. In Piazza Bra, with the famous Arena in the background, you will find the immense Christmas Star, standing at 100 meters tall.
The Most Interesting Towns
Generally speaking, however, we can agree that small medieval towns make great Christmas market locations, because of this we would like to showcase:
- Grazzano Visconti, in Emilia-Romagna, which I think is one of the most pictoresque. The town really looks like a life-sized nativity scene! Here, among other things, there’s expositions, rides, street artists, Santa’s House and Santa Park, which hosts a ferry wheel and the Santa Jumping.
- Gubbio, in Umbria, turns into a Christmas village for the holidays, the Christmas Land: here, you can enjoy the world’s tallest Christmas tree, which every year is set at the base of Monte Ingino, right above the town, decorated with lights that light up the hill (that’s around 8,5 kilometers of cables!) .
- Limatola, in the Benevento province (Campania), is a medieval village that has a unique castle, where every year one the most beautiful markets in Italy is held. The castle leans out on the village and hosts jesters, a medieval court, falconers, food stalls and artisan booths and also Santa’s House.
- Viterbo, in Lazio, is the proud owner of the biggest and best preserved Medieval Historic Quarter in the world, and holds a magical world made of fairies, elves, reindeers and enchanted Christmas atmospheres. In Palazzo degli Alessandri, children can meet and greet up close the real Santa Clause and see Rudolf, the red-nose reindeer.
- Alberobello, in Puglia, is not a medieval hamlet but it surely is a peculiar town thanks to it’s unique houses, the Trulli! The “Mercatini di Natale tra i Trulli” event takes place right here, with Santa, street artists, artisanal workshops and also food stalls. Another truly “modern” and fun touch is the Santa Bikers parade where bikers dressed up as Santa ride around town giving presents to children. During the Christmas Lights, the Trulli light up with colorful lights, stars, half-moons, christmas motifs, snowflakes, creating a dreamy atmosphere.
Another city whose markets are also strongly influenced by German culture is Firenze. Of course, we went there and I have to say that the Weihnachtsmarkt of Santa Croce does not fall short in terms of atmosphere compared to the historical german markets. Here too, in fact, you will find decorations, chalets and candles. You will also taste specialties like cheeses, meat, wine, Christmas delicacies and, in perfect german theme, also bratwurst and pretzels, maybe with a side of sauerkraut or a beer.
A treat you definitely have to try is Kürtőskalács, a tipical Hungarian dessert, also called “chimney cake”, for it’s shape, that can be covered in toppings such as sugar, cinnamon or chocolate.
Vin brûlé cannot be overlooked! Besides, some stalls also offer a cup as a souvenir. But we didn’t need it, of course, because we have our wonderful Christmas mug signed LearnAmo Collection.
Obviously, these are just some of many Italian Christmas markets. I chose those that are a little more famous or peculiar. Every city hosts something, more or less. Towns really get magical during this time of year!
What about your city? Does it host anything? Are there any markets? Or do you not celebrate Christmas? Let me know in the comments!
Instead, if I said the word, CINEPANETTONE, what would you think about? Would you think about dessert? Mh, no… If you don’t know what it is, take a look at the video dedicated to 5 Must-watch Italian Christmas Movies.