Christmas is a magical time in Italy, and if you're lucky enough to be planning a holiday, you'll have a lot of questions. What do Italians eat at Christmas? Where do locals visit at Christmas time?
It can be hard to find the best things to do when you're used to Christmas back at home. Don't worry, we've got you covered. From north to south, here are some ideas for magical Christmas markets you can visit here in Italy.
The Christmas Market in Trento is one of the most famous in Europe.
Where is Trento Christmas Market?
You'll find the market in Piazza Fiera and Piazza Cesare Battisti. Full of gorgeous gifts and delicious food, you can find Winter specialities such as polenta brustolada (grilled polenta) and treccia mochèna (a plaited pastry). Of course, you can't miss out on a cup or two of vin brulè (mulled wine).
When will it be taking place?
From 23 November 2019 to 6 January 2020. It's open from Sunday - Thursday from 10:00 - 19:30, and Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 20:30 (see their website for more detailed information)
There's more to Verona than Romeo and Juliet! During the festive period, you'll find a fantastic market in the central square. From the traditional wooden huts that line the square, you can taste regional food specialties. Cosy up with some gingerbread and thick hot chocolate!
Where can I find the Christmas Market in Verona?
The market stretches from the Piazza dei Signori to The Old Market Courtyard and the Tribunal Courtyard, with over 100 exhibitors in total.
When will the Christmas Market be open?
This year, the market runs from the 16th November to the 26th December. You can also try the nearby Bussolengo Christmas Village, from 2 November 2019 to 6 January 2020.
One of the most highly-anticipated events in the Milanese Christmas is the annual fair known as "Oh Bej! Oh Bej!" (meaning How wonderful, how wonderful!)
The Fair itself is one of Milan's most ancient traditions. It goes all the way back to 1288, held in honour of the city's patron saint, Sant'Ambrogio. Its name is more "recent", as it was born in the 1500s. It is said that a delegate of Pope Pius IV called Giannetto Castiglione was sent to Milan in early December, bringing boxes of sweets and toys with him to make a good impression. The delighted cries of "oh bej!" gave the fair its unusual name. Looks like Castiglione's idea did the trick..!
Where is the Christmas fair in Milan?
Oh Bej! Oh Bej! takes place at Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco).
When does it take place?
The fair takes place from the 5th - 8th December.
In Naples, you'll find the world-famous Christmas market of Via San Gregorio Armeno, a must for anyone travelling in the area during the festive period. This street is full of artisan producers and fascinating finds, so is a great place to visit all year round, but it really comes to life at Christmas time.
The street is lined with amazing traditional Nativity Scenes (known as presepe) that are a sight to behold. Locals and travellers alike crowd around to admire the scenes, shop for artisinal gifts, and to enjoy the delicious street food on offer. From fried calzone stuffed with ricotta, to mustacciuoli cookies, you'll find delights for the eyes and the stomach!
Where can I find the Christmas Market?
You'll find the market in Via San Gregorio Armeno.
When is the market open?
In Naples, festivities traditionally begin from the 8th December, the feast of the immaculate conception (December 8th) until the Epiphany January 6th.
If you're in Sicily this Christmas, there are so many festive things to do. How about checking out the Cittadella dell’artigianato, in the heart of Palermo? Here, you'll find an array of handmade gifts, vintage finds and iconic street food. It's a real feast for the senses!
Where can I find it?
The Cittadella dell’artigianato takes place in Via Magliocco, near the famous Teatro Massimo in the centre of Palermo.
When is it open?
It'll be running from the 6th December - 6th January. Every night it's open until 10pm, and until midnight during public holidays.
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