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Spending Christmas holidays in Milan

Milan, the stylish and vibrant metropolis of Italy, is not only a global fashion hub but also a charming destination to spend the Christmas holidays. As the city comes alive with festive lights, charming decorations, and an air of celebration, visitors are treated to a unique blend of traditional Italian holiday customs and modern sophistication.

Officially, the city of Milan starts the Christmas celebrations on the 7th of December with the Feast of Sant’Ambrogio, the patron saint of Milan. Christmas then goes on right up until La Befana observed on the 6th of January. So if you feel like spending a merry Christmas in Milan, you can do so for almost an entire month!

In this article, we’ll explore the enchanting ways to experience Christmas in Milan, from iconic landmarks and festive markets to delectable cuisine and cultural delights.

MIlan Christmas tree

Duomo di Milano is a must

No trip to Milan is complete without a visit to Piazza del Duomo. The city’s central square, Piazza del Duomo, is adorned with a towering Christmas tree and a nativity scene, creating a magical ambiance that fascinates locals and visitors alike. The magnificent Duomo di Milano, the city’s iconic cathedral, takes on an even more magical aura during the Christmas season. Admire the stunning architecture adorned with twinkling lights and decorations. Attend a special Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service to experience the spiritual side of the holidays, surrounded by centuries-old beauty.

This impressive cathedral is the second largest in Italy after St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and has a towering facade of relief sculptures, a vast interior of large marble columns and high ceilings. It’s also the seat of the Archbishop of Milan and is an enduring icon of the city.

Visit Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

What’s better than a Christmas tree? A giant Christmas tree decorated with thousands of ornaments and lights at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan’s historic shopping gallery. The famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, with its intricate architecture, becomes even more enchanting under the glow of festive decorations.

Enjoy Mercatino di Natale

Immerse yourself in the delightful atmosphere of Milan’s Christmas markets, or “Mercatino di Natale” Visit the market at Piazza Duomo, where you can find handmade crafts, unique gifts, and delicious Italian holiday treats. The scent of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine fills the air as you browse through the stalls, adding to the festive spirit.

MIlan Christmas decorations

Try culinary delights

Treat your taste buds to the rich flavors of Italian cuisine during the Christmas holidays. Many restaurants offer special festive menus featuring traditional dishes like panettone and pandoro, accompanied by regional wines. Savor the delectable Milanese risotto or enjoy a cozy dinner in one of the city’s charming trattorias.

Shopping Extravaganza

Milan is renowned for its high-end fashion, and the Christmas season only amplifies the city’s reputation as a shopping paradise. The Quadrilatero della Moda, or the Fashion Quadrilateral, is home to prestigious boutiques and designer stores, each showcasing their holiday collections.

See a show at La Scala

La Scala, one of the world’s most famous and luxurious opera houses, hosts special Christmas concerts and performances that infuse the holiday spirit with the city’s rich artistic heritage.

Have fun in Navigli District

Have a delightful dinner in Navigli, a glorious destination to enjoy the nightlife of Milan. The charming Navigli area surrounds the city’s main canal and is known for its restaurants and bars. This canal district has become synonymous with having an aperitivo – a pre-dinner drink. Over the Christmas period, Navigli bursts into festive life, with decorations, lights, and plenty of Christmas market stalls.

MIlan Christmas decorations

Go ice skating in the heart of the city

For a truly enchanting experience, head to the heart of Milano and lace up your skates at one of the city’s temporary ice rinks. Skating against the backdrop of historic landmarks and festive decorations creates a magical ambiance that captures the essence of a European winter wonderland.

Day Trips to Lake Como

Escape the bustling city for a day and embark on a short journey to the picturesque Lake Como. Just a short train ride away, Lake Como offers a tranquil retreat with its charming lakeside towns, stunning villas, and snow-capped mountains. Enjoy a scenic boat ride, explore the quaint streets, and savor a lakeside meal for a peaceful interlude during your festive Milan stay.

MIlan Christmas tree

From glamorous shopping districts to traditional markets and cultural experiences, the city offers a perfect blend of festive cheer and sophistication. With its iconic landmarks, cultural attractions, and a unique blend of modernity and tradition, spending the Christmas holidays in Milan promises a memorable and stylish experience.

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