December 10 – 20, 2019
follow us in December as we visit the Christmas Markets in Italy
It will be our inaugural tour so we created this “Blog” page to provide our updates in
Milano, Bolzano, Trento, Verona, Montepulciano and Rome
While some of Italy’s Christmas markets aren’t far off the ones you’d find in Germany and Austria, Milan’s December fair is 100 percent made in Italy. It’s known locally as Oh Bej! Oh Bej! (meaning “how beautiful!” in local dialect) and falls early in December to coincide with the feast day of city’s patron saint, Sant Ambrogio. Legend has it that it dates back to the 1500s, when a papal envoy came to Milan bearing gifts for all the city’s children (who couldn’t help but cry “oh bej!” at the sight). Today you’ll still find toys and sweets, but also bric-a-brac, books, flowers and crafts. New for this year, a full on Christmas Village in the space of the horse race track/facility – close to the San Siro (Football) Stadium, within the hippodrome complex.
BOLZANO / TYROL
Possibly Italy’s largest and most characteristic Christmas market is in the northern Tyrol area. This region is along the border of Austria and Switzerland, and you can instantly feel the collision of the cultures. The town itself is heavily populated with German speakers so expect the street signs to be in both Italian and German. Dozens of wooden stands sell handcrafted local products like wool accessories, toys, and ornaments. Sample the mouthwatering delicacies like Vin brulè (hot mulled wine) as you shop. The main location of the market is in Piazza Walther, but it winds throughout the town. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore the uniquely special atmosphere!
The Trento Christmas market is one of the most famous in the region. You can buy traditional decorations and nativity scenes. A gourmet section is dedicated to local specialties such as treccia mochèna (plaited pastry cake), polenta brustolada (grilled polenta), and canederli (dumplings), as well as vin brulè (mulled wine) and parampampoli (hot toddies). City center venue of Piazza Fiera.
Verona has a tradition of romance and you’re sure to fall in love with this dreamy market, which takes its influence from Nuremberg, Germany. You’ll find German foods, from sausage to stollen (a Christmas fruit bread) and Lebkuchen (gingerbread) in the stalls lining the streets and in the central Piazza Signori. Piazza Bra, the site of the city’s famed Roman arena and historical entrance to the city is illuminated with thousands of lights and a giant Christmas star, setting the scene for a fairy-tale experience.
In Piazza Grande, Piazzetta Danesi and Piazzetta del Leone (a natural terrace overlooking the gorgeous Val D’Orcia) and on Via San Donato, a few meters from the walls of a Santa Claus’ Castle, you will find a typical Christmas Market equipped with seventy small wooden kiosks and theme decorations. The quality and the originality of the products sold in the Market were carefully chosen by involving the local artisan associations. There are several categories of products: Christmas decorations and adornments, food products, holiday sweets, clothing and leather goods, plus local handy crafts. Moreover, thanks to the available pedestrian areas, the Market is the perfect place to enjoy street food, to watch several exhibitions and shows and get some entertainment for the whole family.
The Christmas market in Piazza Navona remains the most popular. International goods, local delicacies, Christmas concerts, and even Santa himself can be found in this bustling square in the middle of Rome. A new up and coming event in the Rome Christmas Market scene is Wave Market – Christmas Edition, held at Lanificio on December 8th and 9th. If you wish to spend a day filled with local specialties, eco-friendly products, fresh drink, this is your best option in the Eternal City! Here you’ll find handmade artisanal decorations and gifts for the whole family! Piazza Re di Roma is a quieter venue that usually hosts a small market, an ice skating rink and live music performances.