Alpine Italy lights up for the Christmas season with some of the most interesting Christmas Markets on offer in Europe, combining Mediterranean flavours and German traditions, festive food and wine, gift ideas, decorations and local handicraft.
Here is a selection listed by region.
ALTO ADIGE (South Tyrol/ Süd Tirol)
Bolzano/Bozen: Alpine – Mediterranean Christmas
Savour the magic of Christmas in the traditional mercantile town of Bolzano, at the meeting point of north and south, where the cultures and traditions of central Europe and the Mediterranean. Bright lights, scents and sounds steeped in tradition pervade the medieval centre, with its romantic arcaded streets and picturesque lanes emanating their nostalgic atmosphere. Emotions are heightened by the backdrop of the Rosengarten Dolomites!
Venue Piazza Walther/Waltherplatz
Open from 24 Nov. 2016 to 6 Jan. 2017 (25 Dec. closed)
Bressanone/Brixen: Art and history
The venerable Cathedral with its 800 year-old Gothic cloister lends a unique aura to the Christmas market, taking place in the Cathedral square. You will be fascinated by the bustle of activity and the myriad of colours, seasonal aromas and music, or by the crib exhibition in the Episcopal Palace (Hofburg) emanating tradition and history. You can tour the village on horse-drawn carriage on Saturdays and Sundays during the pre-Christmas period.
Venue Piazza Duomo/Domplatz (Cathedral Square)
Open from 25 Nov 2016 to 6 Jan 2017 (25 Dec. closed)
Merano: Sensual Delights and Relaxation
Relish contemplative moments while rejuvenating body and soul. Discover traditional handicrafts at the Christmas market and savour local sweetmeats. A wealth of attractions for children! Enjoy a festival for the senses and leisure, enveloped in the magical pre-Christmas atmosphere of Merano.
Venue Passeggiata Lungo Passirio/Piazza delle Terme (with its ice-skating rink)
Open from 25 Nov 2016 to 6 Jan 2017 (25 Dec. closed)
Brunico/Bruneck: handicrafts and tradition
Discover traditional handicrafts and seductive delicacies ensconced between the four main gates of the medieval town walls. Should you wish to combine a visit to the Christmas market with winter sports, then the superb slopes in the Kron-Platz ski resort are just outside the town.
Venue Via Bastioni, Parco Tschurtschenthaler and at “Oberstadt”
Open from 25 Nov 2016 to 6 Jan 2017 (closed 25 Dec.)
VIPITENO/STERZING: LIVING TRADITIONS
The impressive “Zwölfer-Turm” tower built in 1486 watches over the Christmas market in this medieval mining town, itself at an altitude of almost 1,000 metres. It also features a special exhibition related to the history of mining in the nearby high mountains. The atmosphere is enhanced by the quaint town buildings with their characteristic bay windows.
Venue Piazza città/Stadtplatz (Town Square)
Open from 25 Nov 2016 to 6 Jan 2017 (25 Dec. closed)
The Trento Christmas Market in Piazza Fiera is one of the most famous festive markets of the region. The market also extends to Piazza Cesare Battisti with a great number of stalls and mini-chalets offering a wide selection of Trentino’s many excellent foods, wines and crafts.
Open:19 November 2016 – 6 January 2017 (closed 25 Dec)
ARCO, Lake Garda
It is the time of lights, of colours and Christmas flavours, mulled wine and Christmas bakery. Forty market booths, spread all over the centre of Arco, offer Christmas tree decorations, ideas regarding Christmas presents, handicraft products and local delicacies. Various events taking place in the evenings complete the offer of the Arco Christmas Market.
A ride on the back of the camel Ali or a little pony will make children’s eyes sparkle. Moreover there are crafting workshops, a parade with Santa Claus who walks across the roads together with his reindeer, as well as a ride with one of the colourful little trains driving through Arco. On the occasion of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, there is also a huge firework in the sky above Castello di Arco.
Open: 18 November 2016 – 8 January 2017 (closed 25 Dec.). Historic centre of Hapsburg Arco
Renaissance town of Trentino, Rovereto mixes tradition and avant-garde, together with peace, dialogue and hospitality and reveals itself as a meeting-point between peoples and cultures worldwide, especially during Christmas-Holidays.
That’s why Rovereto hosts year after year a lot of artisans from all around the world.
Christmas in Rovereto become a research for the deep sense of holiday, with its traditions and feasts; art is a mirror of the different cultures that meet each other in the name of solidarity and dialogue. That’s the true meaning of “Christmas of peoples”.
Little wooden houses, smell of resins, fresh air, starred sky and a dust of snow, will take you into the magic atmosphere of Christmas. Walking across the streets you will find different items: artistic handcrafts, clothing, sweets, typical food and wines in the whole historical centre between palaces, squares and museums.
Open 25 Nov 2016 – 6 January 2017 (closed 25 Dec.) Centre of Rovereto.
The fairytale-like Habsburgs Park of Levico, every year hosts a large number of market booths. The Austrian tradition reflects former times, when the Habsburgs have chosen Levico as their summer domicile. Especially when it snows or if the landscape is snow-covered, this park changes into a fairytale-like area: some 30 market booths are spread all over this park between the huge trees and it really seems to be a winter wonderland. Local handicraft products, Christmas tree decorations, ideas for Christmas presents as well as local products such as honey, “Luganega”, a local meat product as well as boar ham. Music and entertainment with folk music groups, Elf Village for the kids and an exhibition of more than 100 cribs as well as concerts complete the wide offer of the Christmas Market.
Open: 19 November 2016 – 6 January 2016 (closed 25 Dec).
In the shadow of the Tofane, the advent period takes on its traditional colours thanks to the Cortina Christmas Market, which brings lights, colour and a festive atmosphere to the main street, Corso Italia. The famous pedestrian street lined by renowned national and international shops, will be scattered with small wooden huts where artisans and local producers exhibit their products. All accompanied by mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and traditional sweets. Inside each of the characteristics wooden huts, a variety of seasonal merchandise, representing the crafts and traditions of the area, will be exhibited and offered for sale. To complete the atmosphere, and to make the browsing and shopping even more enjoyable, there will of course be music to fit the mood, in the form of all the most cherished and traditional Christmas songs.
Open: 7 December 2016 – 8 January 2017
The gardens of Piazza Carli host the Asiago’s Christmas Market, several huts will sell traditional decorations in glass, wood and ceramic, typical Asiago patisserie, natural products and the famous Asiago cheese. There will also be huts selling local dishes and mulled wine.
Open: 12 November 2016 – 8 January 2017 (open from 15.30 on 25 Dec.)
Verona hosts each year a Nuremberg Christmas Market in the central Piazza dei Signori. The German styled market will have all the traditional huts, elegantly illuminated and decorated selling typical food, handicrafts, Christmas tree decorations, cribs and serving specialities such as mulled wine, Stollen and Lebkuchen cakes, bratwurst and more.
Open: 18 November – 26 December 2016 (closes at 5pm on 24 Dec and opens at 3pm on 25 Dec.)
From November 29 to December 24 2016 the traditional Christmas Market of Belluno will crowd and light up the gardens of Piazza dei Martiri, one of the most beautiful squares of the city, with its wooden stands, decorations, and bright, colorful lights. Called Christmas Gardens, the market sells wool and wood handmade objects, original gift ideas and local and regional specialties.
There will be about twenty stands and many outdoor refreshment areas with mulled wine, sandwiches and hot chocolate. In the weekend there will also be entertainment such as music, games for children and shows.
The successful recipe of the “Marché Vert Noël”, one of the most known Christmas markets of the Alps, is explained by the location. A coloured alpine village surrounded by music and lights, with roads, squares, bridges, wooden chalets and a true fir forest, is recreated in the “heart” of Aosta. Visitors will be able to walk around the “streets” of the village searching for a gift or simply admiring the traditional handicrafts such as ceramics, wooden items, clothing accessory in wool, felt, leather and hemp fabric, Christmas decorations and typical gastronomic products.
Even this year, the colourful and suggestive scenery of the Christmas markets in the City of Aosta will take place throughout the Christmas holidays from November 26 2016 to 6 January 2017 (opens at 4pm on 25 Dec.)
FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA
In Trieste you can experience the old charm of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in its Christmas Market in Piazza Sant’Antonio and surrounding streets: typical Trieste foods and wines, Christmas decorations, artificial snow, songs and music to accompany the visitor during the festive season. Open: 8 to 24 December 2016. From 12 November 2016 to 8 January 2017 you can visit the “Porto Piccolo Christmas Market” where you can find a skating rink with sea-view as well as typical food and crafts.
Enjoy the magic and the charm of the Christmas songs, markets and the fabulous atmosphere in the fascinating setting of the city of Udine.
Open: 2 – 16 December 2016 in Piazza San Giacomo
The Christmas Market in Sauris re-lives each year the tradition of this delightful mountain village. Along the narrow streets and the quaint squares Father Christmas and wooden hut selling festive food and wine, toys and decoration will animate the atmosphere. Not to be missed is the opportunity to discover the old Sauris on a horse-drawn carriage.
Open: 5-8 December 2016
CHRISTMAS IN THE CITIES
Christmas is a well loved tradition all over Italy and traditional Christmas markets and fairs can be found all over the peninsula in the most important cities.
Christmas fairs in various piazzas (campo) in Venice: Campo S.Bartolomeo, Campo San Salvador, Campo San Luca, Campo Manin, Strada Nuova (where you can find the “Venice Christmas Fair”). You can also find a Christmas Market in Mestre with ice rink in Piazza Ferretto. Another ice rink is located in Venice in Piazza San Polo.
On the Island of Murano you can find “Christmas of Glass” from 5 Dec 2016 to 6 Jan. 2017, with hand-crafted baubles and the Tunnel of Lights, a spectacular glasswork regatta.
Mercato Tedesco di Natale (German Christmas Market)
Piazza Del Carmine
This Christmas Market is inspired by the tradition of the German city of Heidelberg, wooden huts and stalls selling Italian and German delicacies, decorations, handicrafts.
Open: 30 November 2016 – 18 December 2017
Fiera di Santa Lucia
Portico of Chiesa dei Servi in Strada Maggiore
The Santa Lucia market takes place at Portico dei Servi at the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi in the heart of the centre of Bologna. In front of the church building there is a airy space surrounded by porticoes of tall marble columns.
This traditional Fair dedicated to Christmas, stalls full of decorations for the Xmas tree, the nativity crib, food and wine and other delicacies.
Open: 17 November to 26 December 2016
Nativity Cribs in Via S. Gregorio Armeno
This narrow street is famous all over the world for its handcrafted Nativity Crib figurines, from the traditional ones to the most sophisticated, it buzzes at Christmas time with Neapolitans and tourists alike.
This traditional market returns with many new exhibitors and full of joy, colour, tradition, celebration, solidarity, peace, light and sweetness: a wide range of gift items for Christmas, together with tastings and selling of culinary delights and specialities of Piedmont producers and other Italian regions.
Open: 4-23 December 2016 in Piazza Borgo Dora, 34.
“Sogno di Natale” is another market with Father Christmas village open in Piazza D’Armi, with an ice rink and festive street food, open from 26 Nov. 2016 to 8 Jan. 2017
Il villaggio delle meraviglie
Giardini Indro Montanelli, entry from Corso Venezia.
Christmas market and other seasonal activities for adults and children takes place in these gardens in the centre of Milan, with a skating rink and shows with various performance artists throughout the festive season.
Open: 3 December 2016 – 8 January 2017
Milan also hosts every year the “Oh Bej Oh Bej” fair during the celebrations of its Patron Saint, Saint Ambrose, in the area near the Sforza Castle. It is a very traditional market fair with typical Milanese artisan food, wines and other products.
Open 7-10 December 2016
Source: Press Release Stefania Gatta for TravMedia