Let’s get into the Christmas spirit by visiting some fantastic Christmas markets in Italy! From north to south, here’s a list of some of the best places to enjoy an authentic Italian Christmas experience, from famous cities to little-known villages.

Italy-christmas-markets-pinterest

There are only a few weeks left before Christmas, so what better way to get into the festive spirit then attending a magical Christmas market? I’ve selected for you some of the coolest festive fairs scattered around Italy to fully embrace the yuletide season!

Naples

Naples is one of Italy’s top destinations for Christmas, with Via San Gregorio Armeno being synonymous with presepi (nativity scenes). This street is home to some incredibly talented craftspeople who create presepi of all shapes and sizes. This street is often referred to as the Christmas alley and figurines and decorations are on display all year around, but in the run up to Christmas it truly comes to life.

Naples-san-gregorio-armenoYou’ll also find Christmas stalls and little markets around every corner, displaying festive gifts and offering warming drinks and local delicacies – try struffoli, a classic Christmas sweet of Naples.

Useful information

  • Shops and stalls in San Gregorio Armeno are usually open from about 9:30 am to about 8:00 pm
  • Via San Gregorio Armeno is in the heart of Naples historic center, just a short walk from Duomo

READ ALSO:

A weekend in Naples | 5 unique experiences in Naples

Salerno

If Naples is the capital of nativity scenes, then Salerno could easily win the title of queen of lights! One of the biggest local events here is Luci d’Artista (literally, Artistic Lights), a Christmas festival that lights up every corner of the city with stunning light installations based on an annual theme (this year it’s marine life).

Salerno-christmas-light-festival

Photo: Agriturismo La Morella

Lights are turned on every evening at sunset until late at night and are accompanied by a traditional Christmas market sneaking through Lungomare Trieste waterfront and a panoramic ferris wheel in Piazza della Concordia.

Useful information

  • Luci d’Artista will take place from 9 November to 20 January
  • Further details are available on the event website

Milan

Italy’s fashion and business capital is home to an ancient Christmas fair that dates back to 1510, Oh Bej, Oh Bej (which literally means ‘how nice, how nice’). Against the backdrop of the majestic Castello Sforzesco, tens of stalls sell everything from Christmas decorations to toys, sweets and much more.

Milan-christmas-tramDon’t forget to stock up on panettone, the local traditional Christmas cake, and take a detour to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele to admire the beautiful Christmas tree!

Useful info

  • Oh Bej Oh Bej takes place on 6-9 December, from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm.
  • The nearest metro stop is “Cairoli” on the red line

READ ALSO:

The best day trips from Milan

Candelara

Candelara is a delightful medieval village located in the central region of Le Marche. During the festive season it hosts Candles in Candelara, an incredible event where electricity is switched off twice a day (at 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm) and the village remains completely illuminated by the flames of thousands of candles of any shape and size for 15 minutes… such an enchanting atmosphere!

Candelara-christmas-candels-festival

Photo: candelara.it

During the festival, you can take part in candle-making laboratories, browse through the stalls selling local handcrafted products and enjoy the sounds of bagpipes filling the air. There are also a street exclusively dedicated to Nativity scenes and a big heated tent where volunteers cook traditional local dishes, including polenta, grilled meat and apple pancakes.

Useful information

  • Candles in Candelara takes place every weekend from 24th November until 16th December. There’s an entrance fee of 2 euros (free for children under 12).
  • From the train station of Pesaro you can easily reach the location using the free bus service that departs every 30 minutes.
  • Further details are available on the Candelara website

Merano

Classy Merano is home to one of the most popular Christmas markets of Trentino Alto Adige, in northern Italy. Here we are in a region that totally embodies the festive season with a fairytale atmosphere that makes tis time of the year truly unforgettable.

Merano-christmas-market

Photo: visitmerano.it

Hundreds of people flock to Piazza della Rena to browse the colorful wooden huts selling beautiful Christmas decorations and traditional local delicacies. There is also a fantastic ice skating ring in Piazza Terme. And after a day out exploring, you can pamper yourself from head to toe in one of Merano’s fantastic spas.

Useful information

  • The Christmas market is open from 23 November to 6 January, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Sunday-Thursday and 10:00 am – 8:00 pm Friday-Saturday.
  • Further details are available on the Merano Christmas market website

Glorenza

With only about 900 inhabitants, Glorenza is the smallest village in the Alps, as well as a great alpine jewel with perfectly preserved medieval walls and towers.

Glorenza-christmas-market

Photo: glurns.eu

Every December the village hosts an intimate Advent Market that makes you feel a world away from the crowds of the larger and most famous markets of Bolzano and Merano. Arcades and the central piazza. Think Christmas carols, hand-made products, and sweet scents of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine! 

Useful information

  • Glorenza Advent Market takes place over the long weekend of 7-9 December, from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.
  • Further details are available on the Venosta Valley website.

Campo di Giove and Roccaraso

The villages of Abruzzo host some truly charming Christmas markets where you can immerse yourself in an authentic southern Italian experience. The cool thing about these Christmas markets is that it is possible to visit them aboard a vintage train that has been dubbed the Italian Transiberian, because it passes through a suggestive landscape resembling that of Siberia.

Italy-transiberian-railway

Photo: internazionale.it

The train departs from Sulmona and follows the scenic route through the Majella National Park before reaching Campo di Giove and Roccaraso.

Useful information

  • The Christmas markets run from 30th November to 23rd December.
  • Train tickets are €40 for adults and €25 for children between 4-12 years old
  • You can easily reach Sulmona by train from Rome in 2.5 hours, alternatively you can fly into Pescara and then catch a train (1 hour)
  • Further details ara available on the Railbook website

Como

Como is an elegant lakeside town with lots of things to see and do all year-around, but looks its best during the festive season, when it becomes the City of Toys. Yes, at Christmas Como turns a truly magical location surrounded by a suggestive atmosphere. The facades of the cathedral and the buildings around the central square are illuminated with amazing light displays and you’ll feel like an excited kid again!

Como-christmas-market

Photo: comocity.it

There’s a colorful market selling local products, a magic castle with theatrical performances and workshops for children, and Nativity scenes set up throughout the town. there are also Christmas concerts, exhibitions of Nativity scenes and an ice rink.

Useful information

Gubbio

Every year since 1981 the slopes of Mount Ingino overlooking the pretty medieval town of Gubbio, in Umbria, are home to the biggest Christmas tree in the world. 250 green lights outline the shape of the tree while over 400 multicolored lights decorate it. We are talking about an area of about 1,000 square meters! m2. This stunning installation was included in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1991.

Gubbio-christmas-market

Photo: gliangelidigubbio.it

There are also a delightful Christmas market in Piazza Grande and a life-size nativity scene through the streets of San Martino district.

Useful information

  • The Christmas markets are on from 7 December until 7 January 
  • Further details are available on this website 

Polignano a Mare

The charming village of Polignano a Mare in Puglia is usually associated with sun and sea, but this year it has put on some amazing festive clothes! The pretty historic centre is home to the first edition of Meraviglioso Natale (literally, Amazing Christmas), a fantastic Christmas festival with shimmering lights, carols and the highest Christmas tree in the region (18 metres).

Polignano-a-Mare-christmas-market

Photo: masterx.iulm.it

There  are stalls selling excellent local goods and gastronomic delights and an ice skating ring called Magic Ice in the central piazza Aldo Moro. The program includes also an exhibition of nativity scenes and a series of concerts.

Useful information

  • The festival will run from 16 November until 6 January, starting every day at sunset
  • Polignano can be reached by train from Bari central station in about 30 minutes
  • To access the village you need a GCard that can be purchased from one of the Info Points at the cost of 5 euros and entitles you to a series of free gifts

READ ALSO:

A week in Puglia

 

Until next time,

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34 Comments

Jackie S. 21 November 2018 at 08:04

I’ve never been to Europe during the Christmas time. Looks like I need to plan a future trip to Italy to see these various Christmas markets. Would love to take the train from Campo di Giove and Roccaraso as the ride sounds dreamy! Plus, train rides are usually fun. Will save this post the helpful tips and info to Italy’s Christmas markets.

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:14

    Thanks Jackie! That train ride is my favorite too 😀

Annick 21 November 2018 at 09:09

These are beautiful markets! I hadn’t considered Italy’s Christmas markets but I’m going to have to make the trip next year. They look very different from the German markets I’ve seen.

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:13

    I’m sure you would love them Annick!

Elena 21 November 2018 at 09:17

Wow, this is an amazing list of Christmas Markets in Italy! Most of these look like they came out of a fairy tale. You’re almost making me change my plans and head to Italy on Christmas! Thank you for sharing this lovely list.

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:08

    Yay, come to Italy!!

Sinjana Ghosh 21 November 2018 at 10:11

I love the gorgeous lightings in these markets. The experience that I would really love to have is riding on the vintage train through suggestive siberian landscape. This is a beautiful and informative post for anyone who wants to get experience christmas vibes in Italy

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:07

    Thanks a lot for your kind words!

Amanda 21 November 2018 at 11:48

I think where I need to go for Christmastime is Salerno! I’m all about finding the most amazing and eccentric lit places during the holidays. I really enjoy the fact that they have different non-relate themes like this year’s of Marine Life. How cool! The panoramic ferris wheel also sounds right up my alley, and since it takes place for 2 and a half months, I don’t see how I couldn’t see it at some point! 😀

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:07

    Salerno is truly magical around Christmas Amanda!

Anita 21 November 2018 at 11:48

This is the kind of post I was looking for recently as I love to visit Christmas Markets. From this list I think I would choose Gubio and Poligano di Mare but in the end all the Christmas Markets have similar spirit, right? What I like the most is to get some mulled wine from their stands, that reminds me of Christmas for sure 😀

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:06

    Mulled wine is so Christmassy, isn’t it? 🙂

Kristy Bullard 21 November 2018 at 15:03

All of these markets sound amazing! I would love to see all of the beautiful lights in Solerno and eat my weight in panettone cake in Milan. The kids would love seeing the lights and experiencing the workshops in Como.

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:05

    Aaaah panettone, how can you resist! So good!!

Sierra 21 November 2018 at 18:51

Oh my goodness this post is so dreamy! How magical all of these markets are! I have Christmas markets in Austria and Germany on my bucket list but now I’ll have to add Italy too. My daughter would love the fantasy like Salerno festival and my sons would die for the Italian Transiberian train ride. I would simply love them all. Thanks for sharing!

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:02

    Oh yes, I’m sure the kids would love these beautiful markets!

Leah 21 November 2018 at 18:52

What a beautiful post! I have never been to Europe at Christmas, but visiting Christmas markets are on my bucket list! The lights in Salerno sound amazing. I will definitely reference this list in the future.

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:00

    Fantastic Leah, thank you!

Kell 21 November 2018 at 23:35

These images make me want to go to Italy for Christmas! I’d only actually heard of German and Austrian Christmas markets previously. It hadn’t occurred to me to check out other areas of Europe (especially that town up in the Alps). Although I think I’d check out Candelara just to see the scene when electricity is turned off and the town is lit by candlelight…

    Val 28 November 2018 at 21:00

    I know right? The village lit up by candles only must be truly stunning!

The Average Tourist 22 November 2018 at 00:56

Those Christmas markets look absolutely charming! I loved visiting Italy and have always wanted to go during the holiday season. Christmas markets just make me so happy. I love the photos you shared too.

    Val 28 November 2018 at 20:59

    Thanks so much! 🙂

Shreya Saha 22 November 2018 at 01:21

I have been longing to visit Christmas markets in Schengen countries. It’s such a beautiful thing that I haven’t experienced yet. Loved the pictures of your post. Each and every place you back picked up in Italy for Christmas markets looks glorious. I am heading to Reykjavik next month. Hope to see one there.

    Val 28 November 2018 at 20:58

    Hope you’ll be able to visit Italy too 🙂

Nicole Hunter 22 November 2018 at 02:28

Oh my goodness! I love the photos of these gorgeous markets. It is wild to see Xmas lights projected onto Puglia with the waters swirling below it like that. I think that I’d have to visit “The City of Lights” – Salerno – first! Those lights make me feel so happy!

    Val 28 November 2018 at 20:58

    I know, right? So beautiful!

Jen 22 November 2018 at 05:39

I love visiting Christmas markets from all over the world! I get to try the local delicacies and I could really feel the festivity of Christmas! I would love to visit Salerno and Como and see their beautiful light installations. Merano looks wonderful too. It reminds me of a magical Christmas village. Campo di Giove & Roccaraso sounds interesting too with its train ride!

    Val 28 November 2018 at 20:55

    Thank you Jen, I love Christmas markets too and here there are lots of great ones!

Medha Verma 22 November 2018 at 14:15

I explored the Christmas markets of Austria last year and plan to go to Hungary this year. But I am still looking for a place to visit in 2019! I absolutely love a white Christmas and it seems that Italy has several options where it’s possible to see that, along with some really beautiful looking markets. I love the one at Merano and the slopes of Gubbio are so gorgeously decorated! But the winner for me would be the charming villages of Abruzzo!

    Val 28 November 2018 at 20:55

    Thanks Medha, hopefully next year Italy for you then 😀

The Travel Bunny 22 November 2018 at 16:20

I am so happy I came across your blog. I live Italy! I never knew how lovely it looks around Christmas. I’ll definitely have to go on a tour in one of the coming winters!

    Val 28 November 2018 at 20:53

    Aaw, thanks so much! Winter is great to visit Italy, I know the weather is not great but hey, you don’t have to worry about the big crowds 😉

Manjulika Pramod 22 November 2018 at 18:44

I am very fond of Christmas decorations and this virtual trip to Italian markets was super fun. From Naples to charming village of Polignano to Milan to gorgeous Lake Como celebrations, I wish to see them all. And struffoli sounds like a treat, I would love to dig in!

    Val 28 November 2018 at 20:52

    Come here, you would love it!!

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Ciao! I’m Val

Ciao! I’m Val

Ciao! I'm Valentina, an Italian blogger with a huge passion for my country, its culture and traditions. My Italian Diaries is the online space where I share my expert knowledge of itineraries, activities and off-the-beaten path places to help you experience the best of Italy like a local.

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