There really is nothing like a Christmas market to ignite a little festive fire and with Christmas just around the corner, what a perfect excuse to pull out a few of our favourites!
Christmas markets are an undeniably Nordic tradition, but Italians are very fond of them too. Particularly in the north of the country and near to the Alps, you’ll find beautiful, well-organised markets full to the brim with picturesque alpine stalls selling all manner of festive goods as well as delicious food and tempting, mulled drinks. Here are five markets, perfect for a December city break combining art, shopping, food and culture along with a festive twist.
Verona – Piazza dei Signori – until 27 dec Santa Lucia 10-13
Piazza dei Signori
Each year, the medieval Piazza deiSignori hosts Verona’s Christmas market right through until 27 December. Here there’ll be around 60 traditional wooden huts selling decorations, glass, wood and ceramic crafts. Foodies will be delighted by the vast options for homemade Christmas and regional specialities and beyond the market, the whole historical city centre will be decorated with thousands of lights, including the stunning Piazza Bra, where we recommend you take a picture with the Verona Arena and the gigantic falling star decoration as a backdrop.. absolutely breathtaking!
Piazza Navona is a jewel of Baroque architecture, famous for Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. In December, this square becomes even more lively than usual when it plays hosts to the Christmas Market! This year 48 stalls are expected to sell Christmas decorations, crafts, toys sweets and other delicious specialties. Special attention will be given to children, with lots of entertainment including a puppet theatre and various little shows dedicated to them. Some stalls will be selling the typical presepe statues, characters for the nativity scene, which you’ll find in every Italian house at Christmas. The market will be open until 6 January 2016.
Florence – Piazza Santa Croce
Piazza Santa Croce
Florence is not ashamed of admitting that it took inspiration from northern Europe for its winter market. The Weinachtsmarkt is clearly based on the German traditions and stalls are hosted in wooden houses which will be open from 2nd to 20th December. Here you’ll find pretzels, sausages, mulled wine and great beers from Germany in abundance and sellers come from every corner of Italy and Europe, making this event a very fantastic multicultural experience. Attractions include a beautiful children’s carousel.
Milan’s most popular Christmas market is called ‘Oh bej, Oh bej!’ (which in the local dialect means: ‘How beautiful, How beautiful!’). The market is in honour of the city’s patron saint and takes place near the Sforzesco Castle. It’s a huge event with almost 400 stalls! Here you’ll find everything from delicious sweets, toys and mulled wine to paintings, vintage objects and rare books. Unfortunately, this wonderland lasts for a few days only: from 5 to 8 December…
Cortile del Maglio
Torino has been organising its Christmas market very successfully for quite a few years now and you’ll find it in a renovated courtyard in Borgo Dora, Turin’s most multicultural neighbourhood. Traders come from Palestine, Belarus, Peru, India and from various Italian regions. Moreover, there are plenty of opportunities to taste local culinary specialities, along with exhibitions and other events. There will also be a unique laboratory where Polish masters will demonstrate how to make glass Christmas decorations! Enjoy the festive atmosphere of this market from 4 to 23 December.