Ah, the Christmas season! It is already filled with wonder and delight for kids of all ages, but just imagine if you could spend some of this time in gorgeous Italy. The celebration of Christmas in Italy runs from December 24th to January 6th, but decorations and events begin around the 8th of December. So if your travel plans take you there during this glorious time - be sure to take in all of the festivals, special events, markets and traditions that make an Italian Christmas, or Natale as the locals refer to it.
Christmas markets are abounding during this festive season in Italy and depending on what region you visit; you’ll be treated to authentic markets with an assortment of Christmas crafts as well as food and other seasonal treats. In the Trentino-Alto region of northern Italy, markets are plentiful as the region is so close to Germany. There is a market in Trento that lasts all of December and features more than sixty vendors. Bologna has a market in the town’s centre that runs from November to January. And in Genoa, a winter fair is held in December featuring local art exhibitions. If you are traveling to Florence, be sure to take in the Christmas market at Piazza Santa Croce. And if your travels take you to Sorrento, they have a market on the Amalfi peninsula.
If you love Christmas villages, you won’t be disappointed. Campo Santo Stefano in Venice is transformed into a holiday wonderland in December every year. Music, food, drinks, and crafts are all available during the twelve days of Christmas. Milan also has its own Christmas village. Wonderland Village is situated in the town centre and features ice skating and other entertainment. A truly merry way to enjoy the season.
Holiday sermons are also an essential part Christmas in Italy. If you visit St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, they have several masses that take place there. The special midnight mass given by the Pope can be seen in the square on a large television. And the Pope has a Christmas message that he delivers every Christmas day at noon from his apartment which overlooks the square.
If you make it to the capital Rome during this season, you’ll be treated to many different traditions and customs. It boasts a big holiday market and the intricate nativity displays are wonders to behold. If you love lights, large Christmas trees throughout the city are decorated in with festive lights. St. Peter’s square is where you will find more trees adorned with lights along with a nativity scene that is life size. Imagine taking a holiday photo adorned with festive lights near the Colosseum. A memory that is sure to last a lifetime.
Naples is another city where lights and nativity scenes abound. They have a special Christmas Eve dinner of seven fish dishes. Naples too has its own Christmas market.