Known for showcasing the “Italian’s Italy,” we are now sharing our five favorite ideas for discovering the country’s off-the-beaten path holiday sights, sounds and scents which truly capture the true meaning of the season.
- MANAROLA, CINQUE TERRE December 8, 2016 – February 1, 2017
This lovely seaside town of the Cinque Terre hosts one of the most beautiful and original nativity scenes in the world – The Presepe di Manarola – with over 15,000 solar-powered light bulbs and 300 characters made from recycled or unused materials. Visitors can walk through a candy cane village, and take cooking classes preparing traditional Christmas dishes.
- SANT’AGATA FELTRIA, EMILIA ROMAGNA November 29 – December 20, 2016
This medieval town is also known as Il Paese del Natale (the Christmas village). Its historic center becomes an enchanted place with the traditional sounds of bagpipes and handcrafted nativity on display all along the narrow alleys as well as in the Fregoso Fortress which dates back to 1000 AD. The market square hosts Santa’s home (reindeer included) and lots of fun activities for children organized by the elves!
- BOLZANO, SOUTH TYROL November 24, 2016 – January 6, 2017
Certainly the most renowned town in Italy known for hosting the country’s largest Christmas market or mercatini di Natale. For more than a month, the magnificently festooned Piazza Walther is filled with decorated stands, as well as the fragrance of cinnamon and mulled wine – making visitors feel as if they are in a fairytale.
- AOSTA, AOSTA VALLEY December 1, 2015 – January 6, 2017
The Marché Vert Noël (Green Christmas Market) turns Aosta‘s Piazza Caveri into an alpine Christmas wonderland with twinkling lights, glimmering decorations, and adorned Christmas trees. Shoppers can browse handmade items including candles, holiday decorations, soaps, ceramics, wooden handicrafts and antique furniture, as well as clothing and accessories made from local wool, felt, hemp and lace.
- CANDELARA, PESARO November 29 – December 14, 2016
Candele a Candelara, the Candelara candle light festival, is the first Italian Christmas market dedicated to candles. Apropos, since the name of this medieval town is derived from the Latin word for candle. During the celebration all electric lights go dark at fifteen minute intervals and the town glows only with candle light. Visitors can also wander through the town’s traditional Christmas market.