With less than 100 days to go until Christmas Day, and the shops already putting up their Christmas displays, no doubt people are beginning to look for inspiration for their Christmas gifts. So why not head to Italy for that inspiration?
Whilst Germany is probably the European country most famous for it’s Christmas markets, many of the towns and cities in Italy also have Christmas markets, known as ‘Mercatino di Natale’. These markets run from just a couple of days each to a month or more.
The Christmas Market in the Piazza Navona in Rome each year is bound to be a hit with it’s stalls filled with sweets and chocolate and traditional carousel. Every year at Christmas time, an ice rink is also set up in the middle of Renzo Piano’s Parco della Musica and continues through January. Mirroring the ice rinks set up in December in many towns in the UK, it’s a great way to get in the festive spirit.
If you’ve already visited Rome and fancy trying a different city in Italy, then Florence also has a Christmas market for visitors to enjoy. From the end of November onwards, children can enjoy a visit to ‘Babbo Natale’ in his grotto as part of the ‘Florence Noel’ festival held each year in the Stazione Leopolda. There are also plenty of opportunities to purchase some wonderful Christmas gifts at one of the many stalls here. In addition to this market, Florence also hosts an annual ‘Mercato Tedesco di Natale’ (German Christmas Market), held in the Piazza Santa Croce. It is filled with stalls selling both typical German crafts, but also plenty of Italian-made nativity crafts, children’s toys, and seasonal treats. If you want to be right on the doorstep of this market, then why not enjoy a stay in this fantastic apartment in Florence just a short walk from the piazza?
Other Tuscany cities that hold markets during the run up to Christmas include Siena, Arezzo, Pisa, Lucca and Montepulciano. You could even time your visit to Tuscany to ensure that you have the chance of visiting more than one of the markets on offer. Winter is a lovely time to visit the region and there are plenty of great Tuscany villas and apartments available to rent.
Further North in Italy, both Verona and Venice also play host to some wonderful Christmas markets. Verona’s Piazza dei Signori plays host to the city’s ‘Nuremburg market’, a German style market selling a wide array of Bavarian food specialities and thousands of Christmas decorations and gifts. The market usually runs from the last week of November up to a few days before Christmas.
The Campo Santo Stefano in nearby Venice is similarly transformed into a Christmas village in the 3 weeks prior to Christmas. The square is full of wooden cabins, each selling Christmas treats and gifts with a more Italian feel, from murano glass jewellery to traditional Venetian carnival masks. And the good news for food lovers is that a whole section of the market is dedicated to Italian food from delicious panettone to almond studded nougat, extra virgin olive oil and truffles.
West of here, you could extend your trip to either Verona or Venice with a few days on Lake Maggiore. With some great deals on accommodation on Lake Maggiore off season, it’s a chance to relax before the chaos of Christmas descends! Whilst here, why not visit Locarno (actually located in the Swiss part of the lake). The town enjoys some wonderful festivities in the run up to Christmas and visitors can enjoy ice skating in the main square. Lake Maggiore is also a great base to enjoy a trip to ‘Oh Bej! Oh Bej!’ in Milan, a famous Christmas festival which always starts on the 7th December, the feast day of Saint Ambrose, Milan’s patron saint. Also known as the ‘Fiera di Sant’ Ambrogio’ visitors will find plenty of stalls selling everything from decorations to food and from antiques to flowers.
For more information about the Christmas markets please contact Bookings For You on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website – www.bookingsforyou.com.