Italy’s Best Christmas MarketsReading Time: 4 minutes
The end of the year is truly a magical time in Italy. The weather is cold, the air is clear, and the ground is sprinkled with snow. But the best part is that all the cities deck up nice and shiny for the holiday season with a spectacular show of lights. Amongst all of these splendid attractions, the Christmas markets in Trentino-Alto Adige steal the limelight.
Located in the northern region of the country, Trentino-Alto Adige has a curious and interesting past, sharing a wide range of cultures and traditions with Austria and Germany. In fact, from the 8th century until its annexation in 1919 the region was part of the Austrian empire. And the region has taken forward their tradition of the holiday markets.
Set in the magnificent backdrop of the Alps, the markets are a must-visit for tourists with plenty of food topped up with festive cheer.
A Made in Uvet Special
We have put together a rather special package that takes you up, close, and personal to the magnificent Christmas markets, enabling you to experience the true magic of the holiday season.
The experience begins when we pick you up from either Milan, Verona, or Venice, and then transfer you to Trento – home to the markets. Our special package includes a visit to the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology where Ötzi the Iceman, the legendary glacier mummy, is on permanent display nearly 30 years since its discovery. You can also drop by the other town in the region, Bolzano-Bozen.
The Best Christmas Markets in Trentino-Alto Adige
Without further ado, we present to you the very best markets:
The city squares of Trento, Piazza Fiera and Piazza Cesare Battisti, come alive during the holiday season, decked up like a beaming new bride. You will find close to 100 different stands all offering a stunning array of decorations based on the nativity scenes. Then you can indulge in some gourmet goodies and taste local delicacies. Think of the I sapori del mercatino as an exciting gastronomical journey. And with our special package, you also get to visit a producer of one of the best sparkling wines in Italy.
With the Rosengarten Dolomites offering a stunning backdrop, Bolzano’s famous markets are set in the central Piazza Walter. Here you will find around 80 stalls that display local handicrafts such as wooden statuettes, decorative candles, handcrafted Christmas balls. You can also indulge in some delectable local treats including mulled wine, apple fritters, apple juice, and strudel cake. One of the standout features of the market is its Nativity Scene. A large Christmas tree shelters a miniature stable, carved from wood and covered with a shingle roof, similar to the local mountain huts. Inside the stable rests the Holy Family along with a cow and a donkey on their side. Speaking of family, the kids will have a gala time at the market too with attractions such as the miniature train, the merry-go-round, the puppet theatre, the horse-drawn carriage, and the stalls offering kids entertainment.
Located close to the Austrian border, Bressanone has transformed into the artistic capital of the Isarco valley. It also bears the distinction of being the oldest town in the province. The Mercatino di Natale here is one of five original markets, sharing the title with Vipiteno, Merano, Brunico and Bolzano. The breath-taking Cathedral Square plays host to the various stalls that feature artisanal Christmas decorations, wooden sculptures, hand-made ceramics, candles, glass balls, angels, Tyrolean Christmas items, and local food specialties.
The scenic mountain village features among Italy’s most beautiful borghi. As beautiful as Vipiteno is, the Christmas market too offers a magnificent sight. It hosts a variety of booths that will certainly spark your imagination for holiday gift ideas. Then there are the stalls that serve some delicious local treats and lip-smacking wine while your eyes feast on the artisanal products. The highlights here include the exhibition dedicated to the history of mining in the area, and the Nativity Scene constructed from handmade wooden statues. At night, the warm, cosy lights sprinkle an air of romance on the picturesque market.
Hosting one of the most popular Christmas markets in Trentino-Alto Adige, Merano draws visitors from all over Italy, all over Europe, and all over the world. The Piazza della Rena is abuzz with crowds, strolling past colourful wooden stands that display local crafts and decorations. You can also feast on special delicacies such as ginger cookies and baked cinnamon apples while sipping on vin brulé and Christmas tea, made with orange peel and clove. The air is filled with pleasant melodies from music performances. More stalls can be found along the Passirio river and the Piazza delle Terme.
The Christmas market here has developed a reputation for being one of the most multi-cultural in Trentino-Alto Adige. You will find the decorations done in a local flavour while the Christmas tree displays a more Austrian flavour. In fact, the tree is one of the central attractions of the market, allowing you to decorate it in your own personal style.
Nestled close to Lake Garda is a well-kept secret – Arco’s Christmas market. The streets of the province transform with tiny wooden huts displaying stars, toys, dolls, books, ceramics and glass objects, wooden statues, candles, chocolate and sweets. The market offers special attractions for families with a train tour around town and an opportunity for the little ones to meet Father Christmas. A grand firework display occurs in the main castle to commemorate the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. Another highlight of the region is the village of Bolognano d’Arco where 50 nativity scenes decorate the streets.