The ten most magical Christmas markets in Italy

The ten most magical Christmas markets in Italy

The market in Merano, South Tyrol. Photo: Matteo Paciotti/Flickr
The Christmas season has officially begun, with many of Italy's festive markets opening up over the weekend and more set to follow as advent continues.
Many of the biggest markets are in the South Tyrol region bordering Germany, but there are festive delights to be found across the entire country, each offering a unique twist alongside the staples of mulled wine, Christmas gifts and of course, oodles of festive cheer.
Here's our guide to the very best Italian Christmas markets - so get out your calendar and start planning which to visit first...
Bressanone, South Tyrol

Photo: PIZZO76/Flickr
When? November 25th - January 6th
This beautiful market in South Tyrol is the perfect way to start the Christmas season. With opportunities for carriage rides through the city and a multimedia music and light show, the Christmas market in Bressanone offers a festive atmosphere as well as the usual handicrafts and tasty treats.
Merano, South Tyrol

Photo: Matteo Paccioti/Flickr
When? November 25th - January 6th
The Christmas market in Merano has a wide range of activities to thrill and delight, falling under this year's theme of 'Enjoyment and Recreation'. In the central square, you can watch figure skating shows and try out ice-skating yourself, before warming up with a cup of tea or mulled wine in the heated stalls. The patron saint of Merano, Saint Nicholas, will also parade through the streets, handing out gifts to all children - but watch out for the Krampus, the demons who punish those who have been naughty!
Santa Maria Maggiore, Piedmont

Photo: Dorli Photography/Flickr
When? December 9th-11th
Mark this weekend in your calendar to ensure you don't miss out on Piedmont’s biggest Christmas market, with 200 stalls offering a variety of crafts and homemade specialities. Here you have the opportunity to try the famous “stincheèt”, a thin sheet of flour cooked on a stove topped with butter and a pinch of salt. Craftsmen open the doors to their workshops allowing you a behind-the-scenes experience of local crafts, there will be carolling and of course magnificent decorations.
Verona, Veneto

Photo: A.Currell/Flickr
When? November 18th - December 26th
Verona has a tradition of romance and you're sure to fall in love with this market, which takes its influence from Germany. You'll find German foods, from bratwurst sausage to stollen (a Christmassy fruit bread) and Lebkuchen (German gingerbread) in the 60 stalls lining the city's streets. The entrance to the city is illuminated with thousands of Christmas lights, setting the scene for a fairy-tale experience.
Pordenone, Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Photo: Giovy/Flickr
When? November 25th - January 8th
Pordenone's Christmassy extravaganza offers something for everyone. Activities include a carousel, ice rink and live music ranging from DJ sets to jazz to Christmas carols (naturally). There are also story-telling sessions for children and magic shows, alongside stalls with crafts and tasty delights.
Vipiteno, South Tyrol

Photo: Kari/Flickr
When?  November 25th - January 6th
During the Advent period, this medieval town in South Tyrol becomes rich with the smell of freshly baked Christmas pastries as the traditional wooden stalls line the streets. From musical performances to decoration-making workshops to the traditional Saint Nicholas parade, there's plenty to do, and a local chocolatier will offer delicious demonstrations of chocolate sculpture-making.
Rovereto, South Tyrol
When? November 25th - January 6th
In this South Tyrol town, you can expect a beautiful light display, a Christmas train to take you on a tour of the town, a street dedicated to nativity scenes, and a magical Santa's Grotto. There's also a 'Market of Solidarity', where you can buy crafts which will support local charity organizations, spreading the Christmas cheer even further.
Florence, Tuscany 

Photo: Any colour you like/Flickr
When? November 30th - December 18th
Although there are a variety of Christmas markets in Florence, the biggest is in the beautiful Santa Croce square. Drawing on German traditions, the wooden huts house a mixture of foreign and Italian exhibitors so you're sure to find some unique gifts as well as delicious food. Children will love the carousel in the square, and music concerts will be taking place too.
Bolzano, South Tyrol

Photo: djandrea.enet/Flickr
When? November 24th - January 6th
Located in Italy’s South Tyrol, this is Italy's largest Christmas market and it's been going for nearly 20 years, attracting thousands of tourists every time. Should you choose to join them, you'll be rewarded with beautiful decorations, traditional Christmas tunes and festive themes with a German flavour from cookies to apple strudel.
Cagliari, Sardinia

Photo: Shutterstock
When? December 5th-28th
Sardinia may be better known as a summer beach destination, but there's no reason you can't get into the Christmas spirit there as well. At the Cagliari markets you'll find local food, toys, and crafts, and if they prove popular they may stay open until January 6th.
The ten most magical Christmas markets in Italy The ten most magical Christmas markets in Italy Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 5:41 PM Rating: 5

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