Millions of lights on the streets, evocative music in the air, lively local markets, decorated trees everywhere … It’s almost Christmas, the favorite holiday of children and adults, and every town in Italy has its own way to celebrate.
Here are the most beautiful cities in Italy to spend the Christmas holiday season through events, local markets, traditions and more.
Rome – Local Markets and presepi
What’s better than spending Christmas in the heart of Italy, in the beautiful Rome? The enlightened monumental buildings of the capital create a unique atmosphere, and visitors cannot help but get lost among lights and presepi (the Italian Nativity scenes). Christmas in Rome begins with the tree lighting in Piazza San Pietro, on December 7th, and continues on November 23rd with the Festival of the 100 Presepi, in the halls of the Basilica of Santa Bramante in Piazza del Popolo. The exposition will host 100 nativity scenes of all sizes, from 25 foreign countries and from all regions of Italy. As for the local markets, for all tastes, the most important every year is the one in Piazza Navona, with more than 50 little houses that sell local products and crafts.
Ferrara – A city dedicated to Christmas
Ferrara rhymes with Christmas: every year, people prepare for this festival for months. In Piazza Trento, on November 18th, at 17.00 the Christmas lights will be turned on, and there will be set up the Christmas Village, which will house artisans at work creating glass and ceramics works, exhibitions curated by charities, lotteries and children and adults entertainments. Here, also the majestic Christmas tree will dominate the square, with lighting effects and beautiful decorations.
Piazza Verdi will be provided with a skating rink too, and Piazza Castello on December 9th will host the traditional dancing fountains light show, on the background of the Estense Castle. Finally, on December 24th Piazza Castello will host a torchlight parade of scuba divers who will deliver the Holy Child in his traditional crèche, on the moat of the Castle. This is how Ferrara will greet the arrival of Christmas night.
Napoli – San Gregorio Armeno
Everyone knows that the traditional “Nativity scene” was born in the city of Naples, in fact Christmas is warmly celebrated by Neapolitans. In the heart of Spaccanapoli, the traditional market of San Gregorio Armeno, will exhibit all the particular nativity figurines made by Neapolitan artisans, not only traditional such as Joseph and Mary, but also reproductions of singers, footballers, politicians and actors.
Florence – Winter sports and European countries
The large Christmas tree in Piazza del Duomo, that will shine with a thousand lights, will be turned on on December 8th with an official ceremony, accompanied by a big presepe in Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. In addition to the traditional Christmas markets spread around the city, in Piazza Santa Croce there will be the Weihnachtsmarkt from November 30th to December 21st, a German market with specialties such as sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels, strudels, but also gifts and products, not only from Germany but also from Poland, the Netherlands, Austria and Greece.
The new and spectacular Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is another must-see, not only for the works conserved there but also for the sensational design of the display.