Italy is always a good idea, but the favoured destination tends to take on a special air around the holidays. Squares fill with holiday stalls, bakeries smell of rich spices and even the shops become a little more fashionably festive. Take a seat on the square and people watch over coffee as the Christmas spirit takes hold of the city.
Try visiting these best Christmas markets in Italy.
Best Christmas markets in ItalyHow do these rankings work?
Milan is already a stunning city, but with twinkling lights strung high and the Christmas market set up in Piazza Castello, the city’s elegance is heightened. It’s holiday market is one of the country’s longest-running and has been an annual event since 1510. Browse more than 350 stalls in search of unique antiques, clothes and hand-made toys.
Most notably in Florence, a massive Christmas tree is erected outside of the cathedral, but closer to the holiday, a market opens in Piazza Santa Croce. Decorated with a traditional carousel and more than 50 wooden stalls, the market focuses on traditional decorations and treats. Pick up one of the many delicacies to nibble on while walking.
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Italian Dolomites, the small town of Bolzano is a picturesque setting for a holiday getaway. The market opens at the end of November and fills the square with small wooden huts filled with handicrafts and traditional gifts surrounded by garland strung high and candlelight.
Another small town below the Dolomites, the Merano Christmas market is just as atmospheric. Set along the banks of the River Passirio, the market includes dozens of decorated Christmas trees, wooden advent stalls, nativity scenes and horse-drawn carriage rides.
There’s a lot more to Verona at Christmas time than Juliet’s balcony, though the decorated tree below it is beautiful. Located within an enclosed piazza, this small market is easy to navigate and offers all of the holiday magic. Enjoy sweet treats, mulled wine and shopping for special gifts.
Consider a snow-covered Venice for a holiday break and ocean-side Christmas market. In the three weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, the Venice Christmas market is bustling with handmade crafts and culinary delights. Splurge on intricately made and delicate gifts for special people in your life here.
Known as “The Christmas Town,” Trento is home to one of Italy’s greenest Christmas markets. The environmentally-friends and sustainable event takes extra care to avoid a negative impact on the pristine nature that surrounds this lovely city. You won’t find any single-use plastics here, and rest assured that everything is locally made and sourced at this market.