5 Christmas Markets To Visit In Italy This December

Capturing the essence of Italy’s enchanting holiday traditions, you’re in for an unforgettable Christmas experience.

Chrstimas markets in Bressanone, Italy
Chrstimas market in Bressanone, Alto Adige. Photo: darvina06, CC BY 2.0 DEED, via Flickr.

Italy in the winter is a magical experience, and the Christmas markets add an extra layer of enchantment to the festive season. They capture the essence of Italy’s diverse and enchanting holiday traditions, offering a unique blend of local craftsmanship and culinary delights. Whether you’re wandering through the historic streets of Rome or sipping mulled wine against the backdrop of the Dolomites, these five markets promise an unforgettable Christmas experience throughout the Boot.

Piazza Navona Christmas Market (Rome, Lazio)

The Eternal City transforms into a winter wonderland during Christmas, and the Piazza Navona Christmas Market is at the heart of it. The historic square, adorned with Baroque architecture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, comes alive with colorful stalls selling everything from handmade crafts to traditional Italian treats. You can find nativity scenes, festive decorations, and, of course, the mouthwatering aroma of roasted chestnuts. The atmosphere is festive, with street performers and musicians adding to the joyful ambiance of the city.

Catania Christmas Market (Catania, Sicily)

In the heart of Catania, the Christmas market transforms Piazza Università into a festive wonderland. Stalls offering various artisan crafts like the typical Sicilian majolica ceramics for sale, offering a glimpse into Sicily’s rich artistic heritage; snack on traditional marzipan sweets and buccellato (a cookie filled with filled with almonds, pistachios, figs and other dried fruits) warm up with a comforting sip of zabaglione.

Spaccanapoli Christmas Alley (Naples, Campania)

The crowded Parthenopean city squeezes in a Christmas market that winds its way through the narrow streets of the historic center. You’ll be greeted with a sensory delight of the scent of freshly baked Campianian pastries like mustaccioli (spiced biscuits) and struffoli (sweet dough balls). Naples is famous for its presepi, or nativity scenes, and you’ll find intricately crafted versions at this market—look for the Cloister of Santa Chiara to find one that is over 200 meters long!

Bassano del Grappa Christmas Market (Bassano del Grappa, Veneto)

Nestled at the foot of the Alps is this charming and picturesque Christmas market. A celebration of local craftsmanship, featuring handmade wooden ornaments, traditional textiles, and artisanal cheeses. The Ponte degli Alpini, an iconic covered bridge, serves as a stunning backdrop to the festivities. Visitors can enjoy a warm cup of grappa, a local specialty, as they explore the market stalls. All of this against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks in the distance, it’s a real joy for the heart.

Merano Christmas Market (Merano, Alto Adige)

Renown for its Alpine charm and wintry beauty, the Merano Christmas Market is surrounded by the breath-taking Dolomites covered in white. The market features wooden stalls offering handmade crafts, local delicacies, and festive decorations. Try local specialties like mulled wine, hot apple juices (Glühmix), sausages with sauerkraut, goulash soup, and apple strudel; and when you’re tired of being in the cold, visit the Merano thermal baths for a bit of relaxation!