When one tends to think of Christmas markets, the Austrian towns come to mind with their wooden huts and traditional dress, so it is no surprise that some of the best and most atmospheric Christmas markets in Italy are up on the northern border.
One of my favourites is right on the border between Italy and Austria, in the region of South Tyrol in the town of Merano. The snow tipped peaks of the Alpines and the wonderful smells of scented hot drinks and fresh pastries fill your senses with Christmas. The stalls hold traditional handicrafts and amazing local culinary delights all in a wonderful atmosphere.
The Biggest Christmas Market in Italy is in Bolzano
The biggest Christmas market in Italy is in Bolzano, South Tyrol. For nearly two decades this market has been a huge tourist attraction. The Piazza Walther is decorated and set up with stalls to provide a lovely romantic atmosphere. Candles and light shimmer, in the alleyways and enticing aromas guide you around the market, whilst snow flurries around you to create a magical Chrstmas experience.
A Medieval Gem
So many of the towns in Italy have a Medieval history and so it is very special to go to a Christmas market with a Medieval feel. Chiusa, in the Isarco Valley, called the “town or artists”, hosts an annual Medieval market with night watchmen, fire-eaters, jugglers and knights. The street lights are turned off and candles and lanterns take their place. Craftsmen work with wood and precious metals, bakers offer their wares and choirs, musicians and drummers play traditional music and the night watchmen tell stories to delighted crowds.
It is a totally bewitching experience!
Oldest Christmas Market in Italy
Italy’s oldest Christmas market first began in 1796 in Bologna! It is spread over the centre of the city. Known as the Gourmet capital of Emiglia-Roma, it is no surprise that this market is heavily influenced by food and the smells and tastes will keep you occupied for hours on end!
Under the largest Christmas Tree in the world!
Further south in Umbria, under the largest Christmas tree in the world, is also one of the best Christmas markets. Gubbio hosts a market in Piazza Martiri, where you can find all kinds of crafts, decorations and local culinary delights, in a very special, unique atmosphere.
In Venice, the Campo Santo Stefano is transformed into a Christmas village, with craftsmen and food producers housed in wooden cabins. With a backdrop of wonderful Palazzo, this is Venice at its best!
Stalls with masks, Murano glass and traditional food, line the streets and musicians and choirs serenade the shoppers.
Did you enjoy this? Then why not try The best Nativity Scenes in Italy