Christmas markets in Italy are one of our favorite parts of, well, Christmas in Italy! Not only are they beautiful and atmospheric (and a great place to get that holiday shopping done), but they make for an especially fun way to get to know an area’s local traditions, delicacies and artisans. Since we love sustainable and immersive travel, we think that’s always a plus!
Here are our 10 favorite Christmas markets in Italy, from Naples on up to the Dolomites!
Christkindlmarkt in Bolzano (Dolomites)
South Tyrol, located along Italy’s border with Austria and Switzerland, is world-famous for its festive Christmas markets. As the holidays approach, almost all of the region’s towns and cities fill their piazzas with festive stalls and shops! But the most famous in the Dolomites is the Christkindlmarkt in Bolzano’s Piazza Walter, held this year from November 29 to January 6. Expect dozens of wooden stands filled with traditional gifts and regional specialties like vin brulé (hot mulled wine).
Traditional South Tyrolese market in Lagundo (Dolomites)
For a less famous—but more local and intimate—Christmas market in South Tyrol, head off the beaten path to Lagundo, approximately 30 minutes from Bolzano. It’s known for a beautiful Christmas market featuring holiday items like peppered bread, ice skating rinks and expansive gardens… all with a view of the breathtaking Dolomites!
Weihnachtsmarkt German Market in Florence
Florence’s iconic Santa Croce piazza turns into a traditional market every year from the end of November to mid-December—and the market comes directly from Heidelberg, Germany! The many wooden stands are filled with both Florentine and German gifts and dishes, from panforte (a dense, spiced fruitcake) to bratwurst. (Don’t miss our post on Italy’s Christmas sweets, from panettone to panforte!).
Christmas nativity market in Naples
Presepi, or nativity scenes, are one of Italy’s most popular Christmas decorations and can be found both in town piazzas and inside Italian homes. (Don’t miss our post for more about Italian Christmas traditions!). Ranging from small and simple to enormous and ornate, presepi come in all kinds—and all kinds can be found in Naples, which is the place for finding handcrafted precepi. Each November, Naples hosts a market dedicated just to nativities on Via San Gregorio Armeno.
Medieval candle market in Candelara (Le Marche)
Near Pesaro, in central Italy’s Le Marche, lies the charming town of Candelara. (Here are six things we love about the Le Marche region!). Every year, Candelara celebrates the meaning of its name—candles! Starting from the end of November, the town illuminates its quaint Christmas market and city streets by periodically closing all lamps in the evening and lighting candles instead. Look for handcrafted medieval-style candles, on sale at the market, for a unique gift to bring home!
Fabbrica di Babbo Natale in Pisa (Tuscany)
Discover the Fabbrica di Babbo Natale (literally, the “Father Christmas Factory”), a market created just for children in Pisa. Held from December 13 to 29 at the Leopolda Center, the “factory” even features a workshop to help children make their own gifts—not to mention to write letters sto be mailed directly to the North Pole!
Piazza Navona market in Rome
One of Rome’s most beloved piazzas, Piazza Navona turns into a winter wonderland every December with an expansive Christmas market. These days, most of the goods on offer are mass-produced. Even so, stalls with traditional Italian gifts, like miniature statues of la befana), backdropped by the marble fountains, make for an unforgettable shopping experience. (Don’t miss our post about la befana, or the super-cute video, below!).
Campo San Polo market, Venice
Head to Venice’s picturesque skating rink and small Christmas market in Campo San Polo, the city’s largest piazza, to stock up on hand made gifts like colorful glass goods and lace from Murano and Burano… and, of course, on traditional Carnival masks. (Don’t miss our post on Carnival, and Carnival masks, in Venice!).
O Bej, O Bej market in Milan
Hundreds of stalls line up along the majestic Castello Sforzesco castle to celebrate its patron saint, Sant’Ambrogio. (This year, the market takes place from Dec. 6 to 8). The market is named O Bej, O Bej, which means “how nice, how nice” in Milanese dialect—a name that’s thought to have come from the shoppers who appreciated the market’s artisanal goods and foods many years ago.
Christmas market in Turin
Turin is the go-to destination in Italy when it comes to Christmas lights, with many installations designed by local and international artists. Check out the wonderful market in Piazza Borga Dora for decadent Piemontese delicacies like gianduja (hazelnut chocolate) and bicerin (espresso with chocolate and milk). (And don’t miss our insider’s guide to Turin, written by one of our local experts!).
Where’s your favorite Christmas market in Italy? Tell us about it in the comments!