Italian Christmas Markets...

Christmas is around the corner. Time to plan to come to Italy for the holidays in December! The Italians have many traditions for their Christmas Holiday Season which runs from All Saints Day on the 1st of November all the way to the 6th of January and Epiphany. Cold and sometimes snowy in the last month of the year, one important custom of the holiday season are the Christmas street & piazza markets held throughout the country.

And, one special itinerary for a definite White Christmas in Italy is to tour the mountainous region of Alto-Adige. Mostly Italian but German too, the region’s main city is Bolzano, surrounded by a grand circuit of charmingly Medieval & historic towns and villages holding Christmas markets, each with their own individual style & flavours & events to celebrate Le Feste Natalizie.

Your Italian Concierge has picked five of the most famous…

Bolzano… Naturally the largest city of the Alto-Adige would have the largest Christmas markets. The oldest is held on the Piazza del Municipio since 1970 and primarily hosts artists and their creations on exhibition and sale for the holidays. The grandest area of the market is out on the Piazza Walther next to the city’s Duomo. And, on the first Friday of the month-long market, the city hosts La Lunga Notte Dei Musei from 5PM until 1AM to tour the city’s museums. Bundle up. It might snow!

Bresssanone… A town north of Bolzano, is noted for its Christmas nativity scenes, called presepi in Italian. There is even a Museo dei Presepi in the Palazzo Vescovale on the Piazza del Duomo. Bressanone’s Christmas market hosts a myriad of stands specialising in selling figurines & materials for creating or adding to a presepe. Traditionally, Italians did not celebrate Natale with a decorated Christmas tree but only with presepi. The Italians adore to buy and collect figurines to enrich the story of Jesus’ birth with characters of a small village: street vendors, wood workers, farmers, beggars, etc. Animals too. Now, however, the Italians have enthusiastically adopted the Christmas tree from America with their nativity scenes still close by too.

Brunico… Still farther north from Bolzano and after Bressanone is the town of Brunico. The main event of the town’s Christmas markets is enogastronomia, a fancy Italian word for wine AND food. Many events on the town’s December market calendar but, The Hits are the cooking courses organized to teach how to prepare the typical, local Christmas faire of lo Zelten, a bread made with fruit, i Niggilan, a sweet also made from fruit and the locality’s famous potatoes cooked in a specially made oven, among other Christmas dishes & desserts. All this happens underneath the town’s symbol for its Natale, La Corona di Luci.

Merano… Speaking of Christmas trees, the town of Merano does something novel by yearly inviting famous Italian movie & TV actors, singers and designers & artists to decorate their versions of a Christmas tree which are displayed throughout the town during its December outdoor market. Some personalities in the past to dedicate their talents have been Rosita Missoni of the Italian fashion house, Missoni, the furniture & object designer, Matteo Thun and the extraordinary 70/80’s pop-singer, Patty Pravo, an icon of Italian music and still active today. Concerts and shows are also on the cultural calendar, besides the stands along the river and on the town’s streets & piazze.

VIPITENO… All the cities in this Christmas itinerary have beautiful historic centers but, Vipiteno has the Torre delle Dodici. From afar, it looks like it is made of chocolate… and every inch of the town’s buildings, houses, churches and stands are decorated with lights… miles and kilometres of LED for the entire Christmas month of December.

Five beautiful towns in the Italian Alps. Five splendid historic districts filled with the sights & sounds of the Christmas Season. And there is no better time to come than Christmas. Just think of the skiing too!


Your Italian Concierge is ready to help you plan your Christmas holiday in Italy this year or at any other time of the year. Please contact us at… forrest@youritalianconcierge.com. Let us show you the Italy we know best!


Your Italian Concierge would like to thank Wikipedia, Google Search and www.mercatini-natale.com for their contributions of information and photos for this post. We appreciate it.