December has always been associated with Christmas Markets and despite the tradition is more Germanic than Italian, even in Italy for several years the period from Advent up to Epiphany is accompanied by these beautiful Christmas villages. The markets are framed from our most beautiful historical squares, and they host culinary and craft products, toys, decorations, but also events and themed shows.
Visiting the markets has now become the custom par excellence in the four weeks before Christmas, and represents for ever more fans an unmissable opportunity to make original gifts or buy unobtainable decorations, joining the pre-Christmas shopping in the big cities sometimes becomes very stressful, with a small vacation out of town.
The Italian region where Christmas markets are more present – with even medieval origins – is certainly Trentino Alto Adige because of its geographic proximity to Austria, where all the towns and villages offer picturesque villages of Santa Claus: in South Tyrol those of Bolzano , Vipiteno, Bressanone, Brunico and Merano are certainly the best known and appreciated, but also those in Trentino taking place in Trento, Rovereto and Levico Terme are taking hold.
This is the most important market in Italy for the volume of craft proposed. There are a hundred little wooden houses located between Piazza Fiera and Piazza Cesare Battisti that delight guests with their gastronomic and artistic specialties. For those wishing to visit the city, a must is the new Muse, the Science Museum designed by Renzo Piano and the Castello del Buonconsiglio.
Inside the beautiful Piazza Walther, the aromas of mulled wine and Christmas cakes (first of all the Black Forest cake, the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) mix with the sounds of Christmas music. Since the market takes place in the center, between a purchase and the other you can visit some interesting places nearby, such as the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology where it is hosted Otzi, the mummy of Simulaun.
The city of Merano offers its visitors the evocative spectacle of the Kurhause, the Baths and the Trauttmansdorff Castle where the empress Sissi wintered. The markets are located between the Passeggiata Lungo Passirio, Piazza Terme and Piazza della Renama.
Among the Christmas markets of Trentino Alto Adige, Bressanone is certainly one of the largest and most striking. It takes place in the central square where you can find many food and wine specialties of the region.
Even in the rest of the country, however, there are these events with great historical value and linked to regional traditions: an example is the Fair of the Oh Bei! Oh well! in Milan, the Fiera di Santa Lucia in Bologna but also the street of the cribs in Naples, the market of sacred statues and satire, open all year.
Many villages and towns host the Christmas markets thanks to their architectural shape that allows you to easily imagine yourself in a Christmas fairy tale in the open air.
Some of the most popular destinations are Sauris in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Santa Maria Maggiore (Verbano-Cusio-Ossola) in Piedmont, Grazzano Visconti (Piacenza) in Emilia Romagna, Matera in Basilicata which can boast a truly evocative location for its living Nativity, and Candelara (Pesaro and Urbino) in the Marche region: in this last town the festival of wax flames is celebrated, and twice a day light up the Marches village.
The Christmas markets enliven also the squares of the great cities of the peninsula such as Florence, Turin, Verona, Padua and Perugia, which for more than a month are festively decorated with Christmas trees and luminous garlands. It is really difficult during Advent weekends not to come across some nice street market in one of our cities and relive the spirit of the holidays with greater serenity and childhood.