What to do at Christmas in the main Italian cities?
When we least expect it, Christmas is there knocking on our door as if by magic and every year, Christmas adorns cities all over the world with a special, extraordinary, welcoming and fragrant climate. The Christmas celebration is considered the most beautiful of the year, the moment awaited by children and adults, this party means love, snow, gifts, cards, drawings, decorations and ornaments that we can find throughout Italy. But what to do at Christmas in the main Italian cities? Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
Let’s see how the most beautiful Italian cities prepare for Christmas? We will present a schedule for the top 5 Italian cities. Remember that it is never too late to start putting together your year-end itinerary! Also read our posts What to do in Italy for Christmas? and What to do in Italy for the New Year?
1) What to do at Christmas in the main Italian cities? IN VENICE
Venice Christmas is a route of typical handmade products, tastings, Christmas trees, concerts, activities for children and, of course, the largest glass Christmas decoration – which is among the largest and most inspiring in the world. Amid the little lights (which give an even more playful atmosphere to Christmas), there are choirs, gatherings and activities in one of the most suggestive squares in the city of the canals. In addition, magic tends to increase only on Murano Island, which welcomes visitors with crystal ornaments, the work of the most important glass masters.
It is right there in Murano that the “Crystal Christmas” opens the doors of the ovens so that visitors can get to know up close the extraordinary creation of the objects that made this small island unique in the whole world. To make the tour and shopping even more enjoyable, workshops are planned for children and adults. On the streets, and in the midst of the town’s plazas, it is possible to observe the works of art displayed outdoors in the most fascinating places, such as sculptures, jewelry and crystal art.
Lovers of good food will be able to relive the Murano tradition, savoring typical dishes in the most hidden crystal factories, and then explore the ancient mosaics of the Church of Holy Mary and St Donatus. All of this, to disseminate an art known throughout the world, but little explored. Whoever wants to spend Christmas there can count on the fact that the trip will be welcoming, fun and full of things to enjoy in the charming and fascinating city of the lagoon.
2) What to do at Christmas in the main Italian cities? IN ROME
Rome, which is undoubtedly the most beautiful in the whole world, when Christmas arrives is even more special and spectacular. Rome and Christmas are an inseparable pair. During this time, it is possible to get to know the traditions, fairs, shopping, lights, decorations, parties and events that make Christmas celebrations famous all over the world.
The capital of Italy has always celebrated Christmas as a special feast, in the countless churches, in the Vatican and by most tourists. The city at Christmas lights up with new lights, both from the Christmas tree, from the nativity scenes and from the city. They seem to give new life to the monuments that are already symbols of the city, such as: the Colosseum, the Navona Square, the Pantheon, the Altar of the Homeland, the Spanish Square and, last but not least, the St Peter’s Square. WHAT TO DO IN ITALY DURING WINTER?
At Christmas, one of the first steps that tourists must complete in Rome is the Vatican. On Christmas Eve, the Midnight Mass is one of the most awaited appointments, as well as the Pastoral Message on Christmas Day, in front of the huge crowd of Praça São Pedro. In the center of Bernini’s colonnade, a life-size nativity scene is organized, which continues the tradition inspired by the scriptures of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Next to the nativity scene, the Christmas tree is set up, almost as tall as the obelisk.
We also have to visit the numerous Christmas fairs in Rome. Although the tradition is typical in northern Europe, Rome is even more famous for its local fairs than other cities. Among them, we can highlight the fairs of Porta Portese and Campo de Fiori. Although for some years now, other Roman fairs have also become very popular, as is the case of Piazza Navona (Navona Square), one of the best known, which will be decorated from December 8th (at the Feast of the Immaculate Conception) until January 6th. At this point, it remains to plan your Christmas in Rome with special attention to the countless events that the city offers throughout the holiday season.
3) What to do at Christmas in the main Italian cities? IN FLORENCE
Now we will see how another beautiful place behaves at Christmas parties: the city of Florence. The Christmas atmosphere in Florence, as in most Italian cities, begins to spread in the early days of December. Assuming that in a city like Florence it is always fun at all times of the year, we will see what happens in that particularly charming moment that is Christmas. In fact, it is at the beginning of the month that the Christmas atmosphere begins to heat up the countless local streets and shops with lights and garlands. WHAT ARE ITALY’S MAIN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS?
At Christmas, Florence looks beautiful and certainly deserves a visit! Not only for what the city offers at this specific time, as it is not only the little lights that create the Christmas atmosphere, but also the cauldrons that roast Portuguese chestnuts (in Florentine dialect it is also said “le bruciate”) and invade the center of city with its perfume. Also, there is the Christmas tree opening ceremony at Piazza del Duomo (“Cathedral Square”) on the weekend of December 8th. Not to mention the Christmas fairs that, of course, also exist in Florence. The biggest fair is undoubtedly that of the Piazza Santa Croce (“Holy Cross Square”), which usually operates from the end of November until December 20th. The stalls are inspired by German fairs, with traditional wooden houses and different types of crafts and typical foods, in addition to Christmas ornaments and decorations.
In this city the tradition of the nativity scene is very strong. The most seen and the most solemn, in terms of simplicity, is that of the square in front of the cathedral, with the characters made in real size in ceramics. The Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore (Museum of the Works of Saint Mary of the Flower) opens the nativity scene on December 8th for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In addition to all this, in Florence, during the parties, it is possible to have fun skating on the ice in the sensational courtyard of Piazza della Libertà (“Freedom Square”). The attraction will be available again from the 30th of November and goes until the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, from 10:00 am to 11:30 pm, from Friday to Sunday (on New Year’s night, the skating is open until 01:00 am).
4) What to do at Christmas in the main Italian cities? IN MILAN
Milan is not just the capital of fashion and business. At Christmas, with its countless fairs, decorated trees and lights, the city has a magical and romantic atmosphere worthy of Amarcord. The tradition of artisanal panettone mixes with happy hour in the most trendy bars. Christmas in Milan means eating panettone – that’s where, literally, are the best homemade panettone, from the most renowned coffee shops in the center. SEE MY ITINERARY TIPS IN ITALY
There are many Christmas markets in the capital of Lombardy, all with different characteristics. The most classic is the “Oh Bej Oh Bej Fair”. This is the most traditional event among the weekly appointments in the Sant’Ambrogio neighborhood and is also one of the most popular fairs before Christmas. This year, there will be 379 exhibitors around Piazza Castello (“Castle Square”), where it will be possible to find handmade products, toys and gastronomic specialties. If you plan to stroll through the stalls, the best places are the Sforzesco Castle and the Foro Bonaparte.
La Scala Theater
Do not forget that from December 7th it is the big opening day at La Scala Theater. If you are not one of the lucky ones who can watch the show, you can then visit the museum, the rooms, the collection and the theater library. From the theater, in ten minutes on foot you reach the Quadrilatero della Moda (“Fashion Square”), that is: Via Montenapoleone, Via Manzoni, Via della Spiga and Corso Venezia (which are the most beautiful streets in Milanese fashion). Montenapoleone is one of the most expensive streets in the world, with its international designer stores, luxury boutiques, design and decor showrooms; there is no way not to enjoy it.
Art and culture
For lovers of art in general and culture, here are the addresses that deserve to be noted. First, Corso Magenta, is where the Church of Our Lady of Graces is located, home to the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Holy Supper (open from Wednesday to Saturday, subject to reservation) and also the Leonardo da Vinci Science and Technology Museum . Another important street is Via Speronari, a few meters from the cathedral, where you can visit Donato Bramante’s Renaissance artwork: the Church of Our Lady and Saint Satyrus.
5) What to do at Christmas in the main Italian cities? IN NAPLES
We are now going south to talk about an unmissable Italian destination for Christmas: the city of Naples. Neapolitan Christmas is one of the oldest and most traditional in Italy and surprises with its folklore and artistic sense. The city meets the wave of global consumerism and responds with a magical Christmas atmosphere, made up of nativity scenes, lights, handcrafted items, local presentations and delicious cuisine.
At Christmas, Naples becomes a city that deserves to be lived and remembered. The morning of December 8th starts with a celebration, with the celebration of the Immaculate Conception and the beginning of Christmas celebrations. Both on Sundays and Thursdays, the day cannot start without having a coffee in one of the coffee shops in the center, accompanied by the famous sfogliatella or by the small struffoli – typical Christmas sweets, are fried dumplings made of dough, caramelized honey and decorated with colorful sugar sprinkles (which Neapolitans often call “minulicchi”).
Spending Christmas in Naples also means going to the theater to get to know better and watch the performances of the comedy “Natale in Casa Cupiello”, by Edoardo De Filippo. Just take a stroll through the streets and the Neapolitan spirit appears everywhere. Christmas is one of the most anticipated times of the year, and it is one of the most intense as well. Here we have the famous “street of cribs” on Via San Gregorio Armeno.
The Nativity scenes of San Gregorio Armeno
Through the streets of the charming historic center of Naples, sculptures and nativity scenes handmade by the master Neapolitan artisans are displayed and available for sale. San Gregorio Armeno’s nativity scenes are famous all over the world, the fruit of a tradition that originated in the 18th century. The history of the nativity scene in Naples refers to art and poetry. The most prosperous period of artisan workshops in Naples (among them professionals such as carvers, sculptors, painters, silversmiths and goldsmiths) began between the 17th and 18th centuries, according to the Baroque style of the time.
In the midst of the decorated churches, illuminated decorations, theaters and the most unrestrained shopping route, you cannot fail to taste the Christmas Neapolitan cuisine, which consists of various typical dishes and treats. What can also not be missing from the Neapolitan table on Christmas Eve is the eel, better known as capitone (which, according to tradition, represents the demonic snake crushed at the feet of Our Lady of Conception).
It is exactly on these festive days that Naples wears its best clothes, transforming itself into a precious stone. There is a lot of things to see and eat! The historical, cultural and artistic sites of the former “Capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies” (from the street of cribs to the fabulous view provided by the majestic Neapolitan castles) fight to see who shows the most of the city’s splendor. In the middle of all these options, it has attraction for all tastes. I’m sure that Naples will surprise you at Christmas too, as its charm is irresistible.
What to do at Christmas in the main Italian cities? Christmas is the most beautiful party of all, we can only spend that time in one of the most beautiful cities then. It will be a wonderful Christmas. And if you need help organizing your trip, don’t hesitate to contact me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy come true. And if you feel insecure or have no time, and need help to organize your trip, do not hesitate to look for me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy. And how can I do that? Continue reading this post until the end and you will understand how can we make your life and journey easier.
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