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The best places for Christmas in Italy

Italy turns itself into a fairytale dream at Christmas, where everything has a special role.

Amazing Christmas trees, colorful streets full of lightsBabbi Natale –Santa Clauses– greeting people in squares, nativity scenes and zampognari playing bagpipes, Christmas markets: all makes the atmosphere magic.

Christmas is celebrated everywhere, but there are some places particularly beautiful in this period, which are definitely worth a visit. These cities and towns are renowned for their beauty around Christmas time, and they may be an excellent destination for a Winter Italian holiday.

best places for christmas in italy
Christmas Tree and Cathedral in Milan Ph. depositphotos/halpand


Despite low temperatures and snow, the streets, all decorated and full of lights, along with Christmas shop windows, make the atmosphere in the city warm and welcoming. Several shows and entertainment activities take place from the beginning of December up to the 6th January, the day of the Befana. About a hundred Christmas stands are located in the main squares and behind the Duomo.


Florence changes face thanks to the decorations and the lights animating its streets. A not-to-be missed event is Florence Noël: Florence’s Christmas market, particularly indicated for families (at Leopolda station). Moreover, concerts, shows and activities for children are organized in the streets and typical cakes and sweets can be tasted.

best places for christmas in italy
Christmas Market in Piazza San Marco in Florence Ph. flickr/Antonio Buccella


Perhaps thanks to the presence of the Vatican, here Christmas is characterized by special celebrations and a distinctively religious atmosphere. Among its special events, Rome presents the Mostra dei 100 presepi , exhibition of more 100 Nativity scenes, from the 7th of December to the 12th of January that can be visited in Via dell’Ospedale, near the Vatican. And of course, Rome is home to the quintessential Italian Christmas market, that of Piazza Navona. 

best places for christmas in italy
Christmas Market in Piazza Navona, Rome Ph. flickr/Daniele Ciabattoni


Naples is considered the birthplace of Presepe. Neapolitan Christmas’ traditions are well known around the world and bring each year many tourists to the city. Although the charm of Christmas with its scents and magic is palpable everywhere, San Gregorio Armeno is the real place to be, especially if you want to find that perfect presepe statuette to make it truly unique.

best places for christmas in italy
San Gregorio Armeno in Naples sells presepi all year round, and before Christmas it gets quite busy. Ph. depositphotos/jacklondon


Perhaps not as known by foreign tourists as other Italian towns, Assisi is nevertheless extremely popular among Italians. Assisi recreates the perfect Italian Christmas’ spiritual atmosphere. This town is very famous for being one of the emblems of Italian Catholicism and in this period rituals are celebrated in honor of Saint Francis, San Francesco, who is considered the inventor of the “presepe”: amazing Nativity scenes are built in the main square, but the one that is used as the main symbol of Nativity is the one placed in front of the Basilica Superiore, the Nativity of the Colle Paradiso.

best places for christmas in italy
The Basilica of Saint Francis (by ivonnewierink at depositphotos.com)

These are some of the most evocative towns offering you the opportunity to enjoy a typical Italian Christmas. They are totally different in culture, geography and scenery, but all of them will manage to make you feel the joyful and magic feeling permeating the streets in this period of the year.

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The Christmas Presepe

Christmas Street Illuminations in Italy

Christmas Street Markets

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