After a year of a complete stop, this year, Italy's best-loved Christmas markets are starting up again with greater security (and some with the Green Pass). Discover the best ones in Central and Southern Italy for Christmas 2021.
The Christmas markets are a centuries-old tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. The first time was in 1434 in a document drawn up in Dresden, where the first fairs of small artisans took place. Since then, Christmas markets have spread throughout Northern Europe and later throughout the world, including Italy.
Many Christmas markets in Italy are worth seeing. Indeed, the first to come to mind are those in Northern Italy, especially in Bolzano. But there are also many in central and southern Italy, where you can find beautiful surprises.
If we told you about the Christmas markets in Northern Italy in our other article, here we introduce you to the most beautiful Christmas markets in Central and Southern Italy.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for a region where to spend the Christmas period, here is an article that talks about all the markets of our beloved peninsula.
20. The Kingdom of Santa Claus in Vetralla (Lazio)
Forty-five minutes from Rome (between Sutri and Viterbo), Vetralla hosts the magical Kingdom of Santa Claus from September to January, seven days a week. An auditorium of over 3500 square metres of the world of Christmas.
It started as the most popular Christmas decoration shop, which has become a real experience for those who enter. Lots of decorations, lights, cribs, LEMAX villages, gift and collectable ideas and much more immersed in a Christmas atmosphere.
There is plenty of entertainment and shows at the weekend, especially for the little ones. Our children will have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus and the other Characters of the Kingdom.
Many stalls where you can taste delicious chocolate and fun attractions. In addition, for the 2021 edition, the brand new Victorian Village with an ice skating rink will be inaugurated.
Every week the decorations change, and Santa's Kingdom will always be a different experience!
When? From 17 September 2021 to 6 January 2022
Photo credits: Facebook - Il Regno di Babbo Natale
19. Cadeaux at Limatola Castle (Campania)
The medieval Castle of Limatola (province of Benevento) is one thousand years old in 2020: the foundation stone was in 1020. The Castle is in the upper part of the old town, in a strategic position on a hill.
The Limatola Christmas Market "Cadeaux al Castello" takes place in this evocative setting. Immersed in an evocative Christmas atmosphere: jesters, jugglers, stilt walkers, participants, processions in Medieval costumes, Gospel choirs, historical re-enactments, falconers and Santa Claus are waiting to welcome and accompany young and old alike around the perimeter of the Castle and into the rooms inside, providing a truly magical experience.
There is also Santa's Big Cabin where you can take a souvenir photo with Santa Claus. To participate in the markets, you must book the ticket on the official website.
When? From 12 November to 12 December 2021
Photo credits: castellodilimatola.it
18. Santa's House at Lunghezza Castle in Rome (Lazio)
The saying goes, "All roads lead to Rome", which is no exception for the Christmas Markets.
One of the most beautiful plans for 2021 is Santa's House at Castello di Lunghezza. It is a fine aristocratic building with courtyard gardens and a park of about three hectares. It is a medieval castle that gives its name to the town of Lunghezza, in the eastern part of Rome between Via Collatina and Via Tiburtina.
It becomes the fantastic Castle of Father Christmas, which awaits his young guests sitting in the Throne Room during the Christmas period. Among the other scenarios set up: the Cheerful Post Office, the Toy Factory, the Snow Fairy, the Elves' Village in the Castle Court, Santa's Picture Gallery, the Grinch's Tavernaccia, Santa's Sleigh Garage and many other attractions.
To participate in the markets, you must book the ticket on the official website.
When? From 13 November to 6 December 2021
Photo credits: Facebook - Il Fantastico Castello di Babbo Natale
17. Christmas in the Centre of Florence (Tuscany)
For Christmas 2021, Piazza Santa Croce in Florence celebrates "Natale in Centro". An event for which a typical Christmas village, enriched by decorations and illuminations that sparkle on the stalls of about fifty exhibitors.
An interesting journey! Nativity scenes and Christmas decorations, gift ideas and gastronomic temptations. The Santa Claus House is dedicated to children, with a post office for letters.
When? From 20 November to 19 December 2021
16. Arezzo city of Christmas with Tyrolean Village (Tuscany)
The sixth edition of the Tyrolean Village is back in Piazza Grande in Arezzo: 32 wooden houses and two cabins to taste the best beers and typical products. The light and colour show that Big Lights is back on the four sides.
A Christmas market will gather exhibitors from Tyrol, Germany and Austria, with the best local products from Tuscany. Also confirmed are all the collateral initiatives that revolve around Arezzo Città del Natale:
- the Santa House in the Palazzo Fraternità with the world's most illuminated Santa Claus;
- guided tours of Arezzo's historic centre;
- the Christmas Garden with fir trees;
- the Christmas Village, just 100 metres from Piazza Grande, in the large Prato Park;
- the Christmas Brick Arezzo Christmas Village.
Live demonstrations during the weekends, such as making hand-carved baskets and gift ideas.
When? From 20 November to 26 December 2021
Photo credits: www.arezzocittadelnatale.it
15. Christmas in Montepulciano (Tuscany)
Once again this year, in the province of Siena, Montepulciano is ready to welcome all visitors who want to fully experience the magical atmosphere of Christmas with its "Christmas in Montepulciano". In its 7th edition, the event offers one of the largest Christmas markets in Italy, with over 60 wooden houses for Christmas shopping and many attractions for the whole family. The market is between Via San Donato and the majestic Piazza Grande, with a large pedestrian area. And at nightfall, Piazza Grande lights up with a light show and animations on the historic buildings.
The mediaeval fortress is home to the "Castello di Babbo Natale" (Father Christmas' Castle). Children can meet Santa Claus and his elves and post their letters in an enchanted device. The large, imposing, majestic castle, with many rooms that can all be visited undercover, festively decorated and full of surprises, can amaze everyone, children and adults.
Moreover, even at Christmas, Montepulciano cannot miss the opportunity to taste wine. For the occasion, the Christmas Terrace has created in collaboration with the Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It is a terrace in the heart of the historic centre, where you can sip the precious wine and savour the tasty excellences of the territory, in front of a breathtaking panorama.
When? From 20 November 2021 to 6 January 2022
14. Gubbio is Christmas (Umbria)
"Gubbio is Christmas" is an event full of events focusing on different aspects related to the Christmas celebrations. First and foremost, the Lighting of the Tree to not miss.
The silhouette is created by placing more than 800 illuminating bodies of various types and colours on Mount Ingino. Behind the splendid medieval town of Gubbio, which create an extraordinary and unique chromatic effect.
Its star comprises 200 lights and has a surface area of 1000 square metres. It is on top of the mountain and reaches as far as the Basilica of the patron saint, St Ubaldo. The tree is lit every year on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, 7 December. It remains lit throughout the festive period, from sunset to late at night, until the first days of January.
Christmas in Gubbio is free and accessible to the disabled.
When? From 20 November 2021 to 9 January 2022
13. It's Christmas, Mombaroccio in celebration (Marche)
In its 22nd edition, "Natale a Mombaroccio" has become an unmissable event for lovers of Christmas markets, good food, arts and crafts and more. In the medieval village of Mombaroccio, on the hills of the Marche in the province of Pesaro and Urbino.
The castle is lit up for the occasion and set for many events. More than 30 tiny houses, located along the main street and the square, offer handicrafts and, thanks to the Cloister of Flavours, food and wine excellences of the territory.
Special attention is to children. They can immerse themselves in the magic of the Winter Landscape, the Mountain Landscape, the Magical Atmospheres of the Handcrafted Nativity Scenes, or visit Santa's House and participate in his workshop.
During the days of the event, in Piazza Barocci, there will be the suggestive "Magical Snowfall" at 4.30 pm, 5.30 pm and 7 pm.
When? From 27 November to 12 December 2021
Photo credits: www.nataleamombaraccio.it
12. Candles at Candelara (Marche)
"Candles at Candelara" is the first Italian Christmas market entirely dedicated to wax candles. The event takes place in the ancient medieval village of Candelara, in the province of Pesaro.
Every afternoon Candelara will be immersed in a unique and evocative atmosphere. Thanks to two scheduled switch-offs of 15 minutes each, the village will be illuminated only by candles' warm and reassuring light. At the end of the suggestive event, many luminous balloons will release into the sky.
A Christmas Market has more than 60 wooden houses whose main protagonists will be candles. The visitors will see a tower with the Advent wreath at the entrance—the four luminous themes linked to the Sundays preceding Christmas on four floors.
After the castle entrance, there will be a street dedicated to Nativity scenes and the Elves' Shop. Visitors will be able to deliver their letters directly to Santa Claus. There will also be musical entertainment, stilt walkers and petting animals.
It is possible to reach the Candelara Christmas Markets from Pesaro railway station thanks to the free shuttle service with departures every half hour.
When? From 27 November to 12 December 2021
Photo credits: Pro Loco di Candelara
11. Magical Christmas Forest in Cassino (Lazio)
At the Terme Varroniane in Cassino, a town in the southern part of Lazio, there is the Magical Christmas Forest: many attractions and a giant Christmas Market with various products of excellent food and wine and handicrafts the territory. The Elves' post office, the toy factory, and Santa's throne room are also there.
For access, you need a reservation, and tickets must book on the official website.
When? From 27 November 2021 to 6 January 2022
Photo credits: Facebook - Il Magico Bosco del Natale
10. Viterbo Christmas Village (Lazio)
In Viterbo, a city with a rich artistic and cultural heritage, the Christmas Village comes to life. Amidst medieval villages and charming squares, the numerous stalls display toys, gift ideas, clothing, hats, gloves, books and much more. The market, in Nordic style, develops along the streets and squares of Viterbo.
Also not to be missed is the appointment with the living crib. Other attractions include Santa's House, Rudolph's stable, the Children's Post Office, the Befana factory, Santa's Bank, the Vintage Carousel and the Crib. There is also a mini pony ranch and a skating rink.
When? From 27 November 2021 to 9 January 2022
Photo credits: www.viterbochristmas.it
9. Christmas market in the historic centre of L'Aquila (Abruzzo)
The L'Aquila Christmas Markets will enliven the main streets of the city: Villa Comunale, Piazza Duomo, Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the Castle Park. You can find local handicrafts and gastronomic delicacies in the tiny wooden houses such as cheese and salami, honey, spelt, saffron and lentils, sweets and nougat. There is also pottery from Castelli - a village surrounded by an agricultural landscape and clayey gullies -, small wooden or copper home accessories, and handmade costume jewellery.
L'Aquila is a city that is always worth getting to know and appreciate. And what better occasion than Christmas! When the concept of "social sharing" is overriding.
When? From 2 December 2021 to 2 January 2022
Photo credits: laquilablog.it
8. Christmas market in the historic centre of Castellabate (Campania)
An atmosphere of lights and melodies is typical of the popular tradition.
When? From 3 to 12 December 2021
Photo credits: Facebook Mercatini di Natale di Castellabate - Borgo Medioevale
7. Christmas magic in Avezzano (Abruzzo)
Avezzano, 50 km from L'Aquila, hosts the 3rd edition of the "Magie di Natale" (Christmas magic) event, with the Avezzano Christmas Market in Piazza Risorgimento during December. The market's wooden stalls offer handicrafts, food and wine products, and refreshment stalls offer Arrosticini, typical local products, fried food, waffles, and other Christmas delicacies. There will also be an ice skating rink, and children can visit Santa's House to deliver their letters.
The market stalls will be available until 26 December, while the Magie di Natale event will run until 6 January.
When? From 3 December 2021 to 6 January 2022
Photo credits: Facebook - Magie di Natale città di Avezzano
6. Vintage Market ChristmasLand in Rome (Lazio)
Let's go back to Rome, and for lovers of hipster culture, we find the Vintage Market Christmas Land. Three weekends (4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19 December) during which 200 exhibitors, different every weekend, will be waiting for you with vintage products, handmade and local crafts, design & stylists, pieces of vinyl, illustrations, books and prints, furniture, plants and floral decorations, home décor.
Live activities include handmade screen printing techniques and unmissable Christmas activities for children. The Farmer's Market, which encourages direct encounters between small producers and consumers, will also be organised within the Area. There will be Christmas baskets, panettone and other delicacies...
ChristmasLand in Rome takes place in the Ex Deposito Atac in Piazza Ragusa (entrance Via Tuscolana 179).
When? From 4 to 19 December 2021
Photo credits: Facebook - Vintage Market Roma
5. Greccio and the Crib (Lazio)
Greccio is a medieval village, situated at an altitude of 705m, in the heart of the Rieti plain, twinned with Bethlehem. It is one of the symbols of the Franciscan tradition: it is the place where St Francis of Assisi made the first nativity scene in the world (1223).
From 4 December 2021 to 6 January 2022, the medieval village that for Christmas becomes a Christmas village, where you can meet qualified exhibitors of the crib and artistic handicrafts. It is where the Exhibition Market of Handicrafts and Crib Objects takes place.
Among the typical wooden chalets decorated for the festivities, there will also be spaces to sell local delicacies such as saffron, honey, and the black pig of the Rieti mountains. Last but not least, Santa Claus will meet the children during the Exhibition Market, with dynamic attractions.
When? From 4 December 2021 to 6 January 2022
Photo credits: visitgreccio.com
4. Living crib and Christmas markets in Urbino (Marche)
Urbino prepares for Christmas with a series of events, exhibitions, Renaissance settings, high-quality arts and crafts, historical markets, shows for adults and children, dances, music, traditional gastronomy and much more. The Winter Duke's Festival takes place during the Christmas period, with a living Renaissance nativity scene and the reconstruction of a Renaissance Christmas square.
In Piazza Della Repubblica, there are Christmas markets to visit in the heart of the historic centre, accompanied by music and various shows. An area is for children, where there are board games, large chessboards and Renaissance games. The square is also the place for excellent local gastronomy, where you can taste polenta with mushroom sauce, traditional Renaissance wine, chestnuts and mulled wine.
On the other hand, the Palazzo Nuovo hosts the scenes of the Living Renaissance Crib, which is inspired by the famous painting "The Adoration of the Shepherds" by Perugino, and an exhibition market where you can find artistic glassware, art prints and Casteldurante ceramics.
When? From 4 December 2021 to 6 January 2022
3. Christmas at the Rocca Paolina in Perugia (Umbria)
Perugia, known as Italy's green lung, is enriched for Christmas with its Christmas Markets, held for over twenty years at the Rocca Paolina, in the alleys of the underground city inside the medieval fortress. There is a profusion of typical products and gifts, an opportunity to browse the colourful stalls and buy handmade Christmas presents.
On the red stage of the Rocca Paolina, there will be theatre shows and fairy tales for children. Santa Claus will also welcome children and be available for photos and selfies.
When? From 4 December 2021 to 6 January 2022
2. Matera Christmas Village (Basilicata)
And what better Christmas setting than the Sassi di Matera. The city, which by its very nature resembles a crib, hosts the important Christmas event of the Living Crib in the Sassi.
From 8 December 2021, the Matera Christmas Village starts in the central Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Christmas markets offer typical and traditional products, Christmas crafts, gifts and ideas, and mulled wine chestnuts. The programme includes Santa's House, Lego Story, street artists, puppet theatre, bagpipes, concerts and Christmas carols.
When? From 8 December 2021 to 6 January 2022
1. Christmas Markets and Nativity Scenes of Alberobello (Apulia)
Alberobello is a magical place by nature, thanks to its splendid Trulli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At Christmas, the magic is even more incredible here. From the beginning of December till Epiphany, the illuminations begin to decorate the Trulli of the village and bring a magical atmosphere. From 7 December 2021 to 6 January 2022, there will be Christmas markets in the historic centre of Alberobello.
From 6 to 29 December 2021, the 51st edition of the Living Crib will be in Alberobello. This event evokes the mystery of Christmas and the birth of God.
To participate in the Living Crib, booking and a green pass are compulsory. Tickets will be available from the first week of December 2021.
The Living Crib of Alberobello was born in 1970 in the Monti district. Still, in the last 20 years, it has moved to the Aia Piccola district, the oldest area of Alberobello. It is a unique event, staged by more than 200 participants who truthfully tell the Nativity story.
This year there will also be the first edition of the Presepe di Luce (Light Crip). Two young artists, Francesco and Serena, have installed wonderful illuminations, so sparkling that you need a pair of sunglasses. This event will be free, and you will find it in the Aia Piccola district from 28 November 2021 to 9 January 2022.
When? From 28 November 2021 to 9 January 2022
Photo credits: Facebook Comune di Alberobello - Capitale dei Trulli