Planning on spending Christmas in Italy? So you can’t miss traditional Italian Christmas Markets! They are not only beautiful and atmospheric (and a great place to get that holiday shopping done), but they make for an especially fun way to get to know an area’s local traditions, delicacies and artisans.
Here are our favorite Christmas markets in Italy, from the big city of Rome to the little medieval village of Candelara!
Piazza Navona market – Rome
South Tyrol, along Italy’s border with Austria and Switzerland, is world famous for its beautiful Christmas markets. When the holydays start approaching, every town, city and village fill their piazzas with festive stalls, shops and stands.
The Christkindlmarkt in Bolzano is one of the most famous in the Dolomites.
The typical atmosphere in Bolzano’s Christmas Market offers you tasteful seasonal gifts such handmade wooden toys and decorations, glass products and ceramics to gather around in the main square, while the medieval streets are pervaded by the enchanting aura of Alpine Christmas.
Along with your favourite gifts you always can enjoy the delicious seasonal pastries and plenty of food specialities available plus cauldrons of vin brulé (hot mulled wine) while walking through charming Christmas and Christmas tree decorations.
Christmas market in Bolzano also features a craftsmen’s market, children’s attractions and horse-drawn coach rides.
From November 29th to January 6th.
Lagundo is a lovely place almost 30 minutes from Bolzano, in those parts in Italy where you can talk both italian or german: South Tyrol.
Lagundo hosts a small and intimate traditional Christmas Market. Here in the Alps mountains you can enjoy the true, warm Christmas atmosphere, far from frantic shopping hours and jam-packed streets. Oh, and they also have snow!
The square of Lagundo is dressed up with wooden stands, simple and unique decorations and Christmas trees with straw stars. You can find here many artisans displaying their works of art, and many are the gift ideas that will make your Christmas unique, with that warm South Tyrolean touch.
Of course besides gift and Christmas trees you can find the glorious food stands, where you can try delicious mulled wine and local pastries and specialties.
From November 27th to January 3rd.
Christmas Alley – Naples
Christmas markets – Venice
Giving the uniqueness of the city, Christmas markets in Venice are held in different areas of the city, so that Venetian Christmas is a fascinating journey through craft products, delicious foods, decorated Christmas trees, activities for the children and wonderful music.
The best known and most true to the Christmas spirit between Venetian markets is the one of Campo Santo Stefano, when it turns into Christmas Village, entirely filled with craftsmen and food producers, whose displays are housed in 30 little wooden cabins.
The square is lined with a backdrop picturing Venetian palaces, giving the whole scene a festival atmosphere. The aim is to create a meeting point where tourists and Venetians can taste regional pastries and specialties, with festive music all around.
Head to Venice’s colorful skating rink and small Christmas market in Campo San Polo, the city’s largest piazza, to stock up on hand made gifts like colorful glass goods and lace from Murano and Burano and, of course, on traditional venetian Carnival masks!
From December 3rd to December 24th.
O Bej, O Bej Fair – Milan
The Fair dates back to 1510 and coincides with the celebrations for the city’s patron saint, St Ambrose, on 7th December.
The most typical goods that are sold at Oh bej! Oh bej! are sweets and Christmas or winter delicacies, handcrafts such as Christmas decorations, toys, antiques, souvenirs, bric-a-brac, and more.
Hundreds of stalls line up along the majestic Castello Sforzesco castle to celebrate its patron saint, Sant’Ambrogio. The fair’s name is a reference to the cheerful cries of the Milanese children receiving presents from Giannetto Castiglione, delegate of Pope Pius IV.
According to the legend, Giannetto wanted to ingratiate himself with the Milanese, and thus entered the city carrying boxes full of sweets and toys for the Milanese children. Hence the name O Bej, O Bej, which means “how nice, how nice” in Milanese dialect and even today, some of the market traders use this expression to attract customers.
From December 7th do December 11th.
Medieval Candle Market – Candelara
On the hills around Pesaro, in central Italy’s Le Marche, lies the ancient medieval village of Candelara. Every year, Candelara celebrates – needless to say – candles!
This charming little town has become famous in the world thanks to the Christmas market Candles in Candelara. This unique event combines the charm of a medieval village to the enchanting atmosphere created by thousands of lit flames replacing artificial lights.
During ”Candele a Candelara” every public artificial lights are turned off and the village is only lit by the soft and warm glow of candlelight. Visitors will be able to enjoy dinner by candlelight at one of the many restaurants in the Old Town.
The central Piazza del Popolo hosts the market, where there will be tastings and sales of gastronomic excellence of the region. The 50 small wooden houses of the market will be set along a flowing pathway along the central street of the village, they will offer handicrafts, gifts and candles of every shape and size.
So if you are a candle lover this is a must! Look for handcrafted medieval-style candles, on sale at the market, for a unique gift to bring home!
From November 26th to December 11th.
These were our favourite Christmas markets in Italy. How about yours? Let us know in the comments below!