Italy has some of the best Christmas markets. They are a great place to get a feel for the local traditions, sample the local delicacies, and see the work of local artisans.
Ortisei Christmas Village
Like every year in December, Ortisei turns into the “Christmas Village” and is definitely on of the top Christmas Markets in Italy. In the wooden huts you can discover sculptures, candles and glass objects made by master craftsmen but also South Tyrolean spirits and wines. The Christmas Village combines the historical traditions of Val Gardena with the elegance and exclusivity of the range of products. The “Lodenlounges”, cosy and comfortable wooden huts, invite visitors to experience the market with all five senses, by tasting local products and gastronomic delicacies in a romantic atmosphere.
In the streets of the town, the exhibition of the nativity scenes displayed in the showcase booths is also worth visiting and, as every year, an additional human-sized wooden statue will be added to enrich the largest nativity scene in the world. Open until January 7, 2024.
Merano Christmas Market
Merano in South Tyrol is a town known as a place for relaxation and well-being. They carry this way of life into the holiday season by hosting a market that captures the magic of Christmas. Experience snow reaching the summit of the alpine peaks, community togetherness, and the smell of cinnamon and fresh pastries. The whole town is embellished for the season, and in the central square you can watch figure skating shows or hit the ice yourself. Afterwards, warm up with a cup of tea or mulled wine in the heated booths, while admiring the backdrop of snow-tipped mountains. The sparkling Christmas lights at night are enough to bring visitors, but they also do us a huge favor in selling locally made woolen and wooden goods, in addition to other local crafts. The Merano Christmas Market is open until January 6, 2024
Venice Christmas Market
For the three weeks before Christmas – until December 24th – Campo Santo Stefano in Venice is transformed into a Christmas Village, entirely filled with craftsmen and food producers, whose displays are housed in 30 little wooden cabins. The square is lined with a backdrop picturing Venetian palaces, giving the whole scene a festival atmosphere.
The Venice Christmas Market features Christmas ornaments and decorations of Murano glass, traditional carnival masks, ceramics, jewelry, marbled paper and other Venetian craft specialties. Murano glass is also used in jewelry, alone or worked into designs with silver and gold. Carnival masks can be as simple as the red, gold and black eye masks or elaborate creations from the studios of all the town.
One section of the Campo San Stefano market is devoted to Italian specialty foods – traditional cakes and sweets, fine olive oils, vintage balsamic vinegars and other locally made gourmet products fill the booths. Look for creamy white almond-studded nougat, fruit-filled Panettone from nearby Verona, bags of specialty Pastas, tiny Biscotti, dried Porcini Mushrooms, candied Chestnuts and delicacies made with precious white Truffles from Alba. Open until December 24, 2023.
Rome Christmas Market
The Eternal City’s most famous markets are in the Piazza Navona, built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian and now home to three spectacular fountains. During the season, the square transforms into a bustling, colorful shopping spot, selling nativity scenes and Christmas sweets, like biscuits and nougat. Wander around and watch the street artists and acrobats and of course, visit Santa Claus. But be sure to come back on January 6, when Befana hands out presents to good kids and coal to the not-so-good ones. Rome’s Christmas Market at Piazza Navona is open until January 6, 2024.
Naples Nativity Scene
Known for its rich history, incredible architecture and mouth-watering Neapolitan cuisine, Naples city center is bustling with vibrant energy, creating a unique holiday experience. In December, the city becomes a festive hub at the Naples Christmas Market, where visitors can explore wooden stalls filled with artisanal crafts and traditional Italian holiday foods. Definitely one of the top Christmas Markets.
If you’re one of those people who think Christmas is over too quickly, Naples is the city for you! Famous for their nativity scenes, or presepi, they have a year-round Christmas “market”. Shops and entire streets offer the traditional figurines every month of the year. Starting around mid-November, the street Via San Gregorio truly enhances the holiday feels! Get lost among the many market stands and shops selling local treats. Stroll down the narrow alleyways and then check out the live nativity scene is Piazza S. Gaetano.
Taormina Christmas Market
Taormina, though beautiful all year round, becomes even more magical in Christmas time, and it’s a great spot for those who prefer mild temperatures to snow. During December and through Epiphany, a folkloric atmosphere takes over the small, hilltop town with concerts, exhibitions, nativity scenes, and historical enactments. The stands are full of sweets, like Sicilian cakes, crafts, and everything you need to decorate for the season.
Trace your way through history while navigating the medieval streets in the ‘Presepe Vivente’ where the nativity scene comes to life throughout the city, incorporating the entire community. Enjoy the symbolic tradition of lighting the Christmas bonfire in front of Duomo di Taormina. While enjoying the breathtaking sea views and Mt. Etna from the city center and admiring the twinkling lights and decorations interwoven with the ancient buildings, Taormina is the embodiment of Christmas time. Open until January 7, 2024.