The Italian Christmas Markets may be less well known than their European counterparts in the likes of Germany and Switzerland, but that doesn’t make Italy’s ‘Mercatino di Natale’ any less magical. From the elaborate nativity scenes to tasty local delicacies such as Panettone and vin brule (mulled wine), Italy’s Christmas Markets will have you feeling festive in no time and are a great option for a European Christmas break.
The Best Italian Christmas Markets
Below you’ll find a list of many of the best Italian Christmas Markets, starting with the bigger cities and towns, then moving on to several smaller and more local markets. And, because we’re especially familiar with the Prosecco region of Italy, you’ll find a number of the these Italian Christmas markets are located around Venice and the Veneto area.
Venice Christmas Market
The picturesque city of Venice becomes even more beautiful each year during the month of December, with rows of festive lights illuminating the canals and Christmas fairs in many of the piazzas. Campo S.Bartolomeo, Campo San Salvador, Campo San Luca, Campo Manin and Campo Santo Stefano are the main piazzas to visit if you’re looking to immerse yourself in Venice Christmas markets.
Meanwhile, Strada Nuova is where you’ll find the ‘Venice Christmas Fair’ selling local products such as Venitian carnival masks, traditional homemade crafts and festive treats. If you want that magical experience of skating in Venice, ice rinks can also be found in Piazza Ferretto and Piazza San Polo.
On the Island of Murano, which is famous for its glass production, you can find ‘Christmas of Glass’, with hand-crafted baubles, unique glass jewellery and gifts, and the mesmerising Tunnel of Lights.
Venice Christmas Markets open 1st December 2018 to 5th January 2019.
Why not day trip to the Prosecco region while you’re in Venice?
If you’re in Venice over the Christmas period, I’d highly recommend setting aside a day to visit the Prosecco region. It’s only an hour away from Venice by train and not only is it perfect for escaping the crowds, it’s an ideal time for picking out your Christmas Prosecco. If you’re early enough, you might even be able to get some shipped home for the Christmas holiday. Find out more here.
Verona Christmas Market
In Italy but fancy experiencing a traditional German Christmas market, then head to Verona. Each year, Verona hosts a Christmas Market in the central Piazza dei Signori in collaboration with the ‘Christkindlmarkt’ of Nuremberg. The classic German-style market has wooden huts selling traditional handicrafts, intricately detailed handmade decorations and artisan products such as food and gifts. There are also plenty of German Christmas specialities such as mulled wine, Stollen and Lebkuchen cakes, bratwurst and pretzels to enjoy while exploring the market.
Verona Christmas Markets open 17th November to 26th December 2018.
Trento Christmas Market
The Trento Christmas Market is one of the most famous in the region and has grown so much over the 25 years since it began that there are now more than 90 exhibitors stretching across two main squares, Piazza Fiera and Piazza Cesare Battisti. The magical Christmas Markets of Trento have even gained the town the alternative title of Città del Natale (Christmas Town). The most important products sold at the market are those typical of the Alpine region in which Trento is located, including wine, food and crafts. This Italian Christmas market has also gaining the title of ‘green market’ thanks to the great importance placed on sustainability and protecting the environment.
Trento Christmas Markets open 24th November 2018 to 6th January 2019.
Florence Christmas Market
Florence’s Weihnachtsmarkt – Mercato Tedesco di Natale (German Christmas Market) is held in one of Florence’s most beautiful squares, Piazza Santa Croce. Florence’s Christmas Market is inspired by the tradition of the German city of Heidelberg, with wooden chalets and stalls selling Italian and German handmade crafts and festive delicacies.
Piazza del Duomo is another beautiful spot in Florence to visit during the Christmas period, with a giant Christmas tree and a life-sized Nativity scene sat beneath the magnificent Duomo di Firenze (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore). If you thought Florence was spectacular in summer, wait until you see it under a cloud of Christmas.
Florence Christmas Markets open 28th November to 21st December 2018.
Naples Christmas Market
The Mercatino di Natale di Napoli is the best Christmas Market in Italy for seeing and purchasing traditional Nativity Cribs (or presepein Italian). The narrow street of Via San Gregorio Armeno is famous across the world for its Nativity Scene figurines handcrafted by master artisans, ranging from religious figures to modern celebrities.
The Nativity Scenes are a historic tradition dating back to the 11th century, with local family-run workshops in Naples producing some of the best figurines in the country. You can also visit Piazza San Gaetano for living nativity scenes and the Museo di San Martino, which hosts Naples’ largest collection of nativity scenes and statues.
The Cribs of Via San Gregorio Armeno are open all year round. Yes, you read that correctly. Open. All. Year. Round.
Milan Christmas Market
Milan is home to a number of festive Christmas markets during the month of December. One of the city’s most central markets consists of around 60 huts surrounding the iconic Duomo of Milan selling local products and gifts underneath one of the city’s most impressive landmarks. There is also the large ‘Il Villaggio Delle Meraviglie’ in the Giardini Indro Montanelli (gardens) in the centre of the city, with an ice-skating rink, fairground, Santa’s grotto, festive entertainment and stalls selling gifts, food and drinks.
Every year, Milan also hosts the ‘Oh Bej Oh Bej’ (How Beautiful! How Beautiful!) Christmas fair during the celebrations of its Patron Saint, Saint Ambrose. Sitting in the area close to Sforza Castle, ‘Oh Bej Oh Bej’ is a traditional and authentic Italian Christmas Market, dating back to 1510, with typical Milanese food, wines and other local products. In 2018 the fair will take place on 7th to 10th December.
Milan Christmas Markets open 2nd December 2018 to 7th January 2019.
Turin Christmas Market
Turin is one of the best Italian Christmas Markets for Christmas light lovers, with colourful installations by local and international artists illuminating the city and its numerous Christmas Markets during the festive season.
Piazza Borgo Dora and Piazza Castello are where you’ll find the city’s two biggest traditional markets, with many stalls from Piedmont producers as well as producers from other regions of Italy selling crafts, gifts and culinary delights. Many of Turin’s other squares and gardens also host Christmas villages and markets, including ‘Sogno di Natale’ in the gardens of the Reggia Venaria with an elf house, sleigh rides and festive street food.
Turin Christmas Markets open 24th November 2018 to 6th January 2019.
Trieste Christmas Market
Trieste is one to one of the most internationally diverse Italian Christmas Markets. At the market in Piazza Sant’Antonio and the surrounding streets, you can experience the old charm of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, with many products from Central European countries like Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia, as well as more distant countries such as Finland and Russia.
Trieste Christmas Markets open 8th to 26th December 2018.
Cortina d’Ampezzo Christmas Market
Cortina d’Ampezzo is a ski resort in northern Italy, surrounded by the snow-covered peaks of the Dolomites, making it popular for an Italian winter break.
The Cortina Christmas Market sees the famous pedestrian street of Corso Italia filled with small wooden huts where local producers exhibit their products, including seasonal merchandise and traditional crafts of the area. All of this can be enjoyed alongside live Christmas music and festive treats such as mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.
Cortina d’Ampezzo Christmas Markets open 1st December 2018 to 7th January 2019.
Best Italian Christmas Markets for buying Christmas Prosecco
The Christmas markets of the Prosecco region, such as in Follina and Cison di Valmarino, are perfectly located if you’re looking to stock up on some Christmas Prosecco. Both markets are easily accessible by flying into Treviso or Venice. I’d highly recommend planning to spend the night nearby so you have enough time to visit the markets, and go Prosecco tasting before you do your Christmas Prosecco shopping.
Arrive early enough in the festive season and you can ship your wine back in time for Christmas, otherwise check out my blog post all about how to get your wine home if you are taking it back by plane.
Did you know? As well as producing the world’s most popular sparkling wine, the Prosecco region also produces wonderful red wines and white wines. You can even find locally produced dessert wines and, if you’re brave enough, grappa.
Follina Christmas Market
Photos courtesy of Oriana, one of our wonderful Visit Prosecco Italy drivers.
Follina is a village in the Italian region of Veneto, situated on La Strada del Prosecco (The Prosecco Road). Follina’s annual Christmas market is held in the most historic area of the city, Piazza IV Novembre, surrounded by the village’s charming ancient buildings. As well as plenty of beautiful handcrafted goods made by skilled artisans from the local area, the Follina Christmas market is a great option for stocking up on your Christmas Prosecco and even a few bottles of the region’s fantastic red wine.
Follina Christmas Markets open 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th December 2018.
Cison di Valmarino Christmas Market
Cison di Valmarino is another small commune in the province of Treviso in Veneto, and has been called one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Each year, the village puts on the Stelle a Natale (Stars at Christmas) festival with a Christmas Market in Piazza Roma and other streets in the historic centre of the village. The market sells many original artisan gifts including wood carvings, embroidery, flower arrangements, Christmas decorations and nativity scenes, as well as local food and drinks.
Just like Follina, Cison di Valmarino is located within the Prosecco region so is great for stocking up on your Christmas Prosecco and wine. Christmas is a great time to visit the region, and in particular the pretty village of Cison di Valmarino, due to considerably fewer tourists than in the summer months.
Cison di Valmarino Christmas Markets open: 8th, 9th, 15th and 16th December 2018.
That’s probably enough Italian Christmas markets to keep you busy for the festive 2018 season. If you have any other tried and tested Italian Christmas markets to add to the list, let me know in the comments below.
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