Visiting the Christmas markets in Friuli Venezia Giulia is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the cultural kaleidoscope of a borderland.
Christmas is a magical time for adults and children, that lights up the cities with colors and beauty, but also a special moment to rediscover the traditions of the Italian regions.
Friuli Venezia Giulia, due to its border position, is a real crossroads of different cultures: from the sea to the mountains, from the refined cities rich in history to the countryside, all the heritage of craftsmanship, flavours and fragrances gather on the stalls of the Christmas markets in Friuli Venezia Giulia and in the variety of events that enliven the cold days of December.
Christmas markets in Friuli Venezia Giulia: a journey through tradition
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Christmas Markets are one of the most loved attractions by visitors looking for original gift ideas, handicrafts and typical products: in this guide we present the 10 best Christmas markets to visit in Friuli Venezia Giulia, with useful information to organize your trip.
Friuli Venezia Giulia offers many destinations in which to breathe the true Christmas atmosphere: every corner of this region will surprise you for the richness of its culture and the variety of its proposals.
From the seaside cities that light up with lights and colors, to the cozy atmosphere of the mountain villages surrounded by snow, Friuli Venezia Giulia is the best region to spend a Christmas as you have always dreamed.
10. The best Christmas markets in Friuli Venezia Giulia: Trieste
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Trieste, the elegant border city between the Mediterranean and Central Europe, crossroads of peoples and cultures, is preparing to wear its most glittering dress and celebrate the holidays with its traditional Christmas markets, illuminating thousands of lights in a magical and evocative atmosphere.
The first appointment is set for the first week of December with the St. Nicolò Fair, which has reached its 100th edition this year. The Saint most loved by children will arrive in the streets of the center, among stalls of sweets, toys and Christmas decorations.
From 8 December 2023 to 7 January 2024 the markets will move to different squares in the historic center, such as Piazza Sant'Antonio, Piazza Ponterosso and Piazza della Borsa: crafts, gifts, gift ideas and typical products, but also cultural, musical and religious events, such as concerts, exhibitions, theatre performances and Christmas Masses.
In Piazza Ponterosso in an area specially designed for children there will be games, rides and stalls of sweets, cotton candy, donuts, pancakes and roast chestnuts.
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9. Christmas markets and living nativity scene in Gorizia
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Even Gorizia is dressed in lights and colors for Christmas, offering many opportunities to experience the magic of the city festivals.
The Christmas markets will be held in Piazza Vittoria from 3 to 24 December 2023 and will offer typical products, crafts, sweets, wines and gift ideas, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Among the proposals there will also be shows, concerts, workshops and games for children.
In addition to the Christmas markets, on 23 and 24 December you can watch the Living Nativity in the historic center: a realistic representation of the scenes of the Nativity, with costumed characters and real animals, animated by music and Christmas carols.
If you love Christmas in Nordic style, you can visit the Christmas Village of Cormons a few kilometers from Gorizia: from 3 December 2023 to 6 January 2024 the park of Villa Rosi will host an exhibition-market of typical products and crafts from Austria, from Germany and Slovenia, with the opportunity to taste gastronomic specialties and mulled wine.
In the Christmas Village there will also be an ice rink, a Ferris wheel, a Santa Claus house and a dog sleigh.
9. The magic of Christmas and the Harry Potter saga in Pordenone
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The Pordenone Christmas Markets will be set up in the characteristic wooden houses in Piazza XX Settembre, from 2 December 2023 to 7 January 2024: here you can find typical products, crafts, sweets and gift ideas, in a magical and festive atmosphere.
A large decorated tree and an ice skating rink will be the protagonists of the square, while in the Loggia of the Town Hall it will be possible to admire the artistic crib that is enriched every year with new life-size wooden statues, made by artists from Friuli and neighboring regions.
This year’s events include a rich program of concerts, DJ sets and a New Year’s party to toast in the square at the arrival of 2024.
In addition to all these initiatives, a unique event will literally make magical these days of celebration: in fact, from 8 to 10 December, Piazza della Motta will host a Magic Fair entirely inspired by the Harry Potter Saga.
There will then be magic lessons, spell duels, potion challenges, wizard and muggle tournaments, the Hagrid House Escape Room and an exhibition area where Diagon Alley and its shops will be played. Do not miss the street food always in theme, where drink a mug of Burrobirra and eat tasty magical specialties.
7. The largest Christmas-themed fair in Udine
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Udine is the ideal city for those who want to start celebrating Christmas in November.
Among the many initiatives that animate the city, the Christmas markets are certainly the protagonists: the best opportunity to discover a wide variety of local products, crafts, gastronomy and original gift ideas in what is one of the most important events in the region.
"Idea Natale" is the Christmas fair that takes place this year from 17 to 20 November in the district of Udine Fiere, well in advance of the Christmas holidays to allow everyone to shop without the rush of the last days.
Here you can find over 150 exhibitors offering quality products, from design to furniture, from fashion to toys, from cosmetics to organic products.
"Idea Natale" is also a place of entertainment, with shows, workshops, tastings, book presentations, cultural events and an area dedicated to children.Find out where to stay❯
6. Typical products and traditions of Friuli in Tarcento
The Christmas markets in Tarcento, a few kilometers from Udine, will open every weekend and on holidays, from 25 November to 17 December 2023 in Piazza Roma, Via Roma, Piazza Libertà and Viale Marinelli: a tradition that is renewed every year, bringing in the heart of Friuli Venezia Giulia the magical and festive atmosphere of Christmas.
Along the streets and squares of the historic center you can admire and buy typical products, crafts, Christmas decorations, sweets and hot drinks.
Among the main attractions you will find the living crib, the house of Santa Claus, the ice rink, music and entertainment shows and the opportunity to take a ride in a carriage or toy train.
For those who want to take advantage of the visit to the Christmas markets to discover the beauties of the territory, Tarcento also offers many cultural and naturalistic attractions, such as the castle of Arcano, the park of the Green Caves, the ethnographic museum and the museum of the peasant civilization.
5. Between ancient history and Christmas atmosphere in Aquileia
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Aquileia is a city with a fascinating history and one of the most important archaeological sites in northern Italy: it preserves many testimonies of its history as a Roman colony during the empire of Diocletian and later Christian community, starting point for the evangelization of Eastern Europe.
In this scenario also the Christmas Markets are tinged with history: "Aquileia in winter" is a market exhibition now at the XXVIII edition, and takes place on December 8 in the streets of the historic center of Aquileia next to the ancient basilica complex, Roman archaeological sites and the national museum.
In this evocative context every year is recreated a market of handicrafts and agricultural products that reinterprets an ancient tradition: there are about 130 craftsmen and hobbyists who offer fabrics, paintings, embroidery, ceramics, mosaics, glass, and simultaneously stage practical demonstrations of their craft.
In addition to the handicrafts, there are farms from all over Friuli Venezia Giulia, with their stalls of fruit, vegetables, cold cuts, cheeses, jams, apple cider, honey, wine, lavender and spices.
There are also food and wine stalls where you can taste the typical dishes of the Friulian tradition, workshops and games for children, traveling Christmas music and the arrival of Santa Claus.
4. A little bit of Tyrol in San Vito al Tagliamento castle
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For those who love Christmas in Tyrolean style, the ideal destination is the Christmas Village in San Vito al Tagliamento, a few kilometers from Pordenone.
In the three weekends before Christmas, from 2 to 17 December, San Vito Castle will host "Voglia di Natale in Castello", a market exhibition of typical products and crafts from Trentino Alto Adige, with tasting of gastronomic specialties and mulled wine.
The event will be open to the public from 10 to 19.30 and will also be enriched by attractions for all tastes, such as shows, concerts, workshops and games for children.
At the same time, for two Sundays will open its doors also the Christmas Markets: the 10 December the stalls will be hosted in Via Manfrin and Via Amalteo and Sunday, December 17 in Piazzetta Pescheria and in the Courtyard of the Castle, proposing hobbyists, artisans and typical gastronomy.
On this occasion you can find original and quality objects, from design to furniture, from fashion to toys, from cosmetics to organic products, as well as music and shows for adults and children.
3. The spectacular sand nativity scene on the beaches of Lignano Sabbiadoro
Lignano Sabbiadoro is one of the most famous seaside resorts in the Adriatic and is usually associated with summer and beaches, but for Christmas this town turns into a magical and welcoming place, with many initiatives and attractions to create the atmosphere of winter holidays.
Among the most anticipated events there are the Christmas markets: this year they will take place from 7 December 2023 to 7 January 2024 in Lungomare Trieste and Parco San Giovanni Bosco.
On this occasion you can find over 150 exhibitors of hobbies, art and crafts, with typical products, sweets and mulled wine. Among the attractions there will also be an ice rink, a large Christmas tree, Santa’s house, entertainment and shows.
But the most awaited tradition is surely the famous sand crib, which will be built from 8 December 2023 to 4 February 2024.
The crib, made by the Association "Dome Aghe Savalon d'Aur" in collaboration with the Municipality of Lignano Sabbiadoro and local associations, is made without the use of glue or other similar materials, but only with water, sand and meticulous care in compressing and shaping.
The sculptural works are performed by international artists and represent scenes of the nativity and everyday life.
2. The suggestion of a mountain Christmas village in Sauris di Sopra
This small alpine village in the province of Udine is one of the most charming destinations for those who want to experience the magic of Christmas in the mountains.
Every year, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the village surrounded by woods and pastures is transformed into a Christmas village where you can discover the traditions and typical products of Carnia, while you stroll through the typical stone and wooden houses decorated with lights and colors.
The appointment for this year is 4, 5 and 8 December in the historic center of the country, from 10 to 18: the Christmas market in Sauris di Sopra offers the best of craftsmanship and regional gastronomy, in an atmosphere made magical by the scent of mountain wood and the resin of the decorated fir trees.
Among decorations and carols that create the typical Christmas atmosphere, you can experience all the warmth of a place where traditions have remained the same as the past.Find out where to stay❯
1. Discovering ancient crafts in San Pietro al Natisone
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The Christmas Markets of San Pietro al Natisone in the province of Udine are a suggestive event that leads visitors in a real journey into the past.
"Ancient Gestures for a New Christmas" is an exhibition-market of typical products and crafts that takes place in the gyms of the study center on 2 and 3 December. The peculiarity of this event is the opportunity to attend live demonstrations of ancient crafts such as blacksmith, carpenter, potter, potter, tailor, basket maker, embroiderer and painter, in a warm and familiar atmosphere made joyful by music, songs and games for children.
Here you can buy objects made with ancient techniques, such as ceramics, wood, iron, wool, felt, glass and paper or taste local gastronomic specialties, such as frico, polenta, salami, cheese, honey, sweets and mulled wine.
In San Pietro al Natisone, in addition to the Christmas markets you can visit the ethnographic museum, the museum of peasant civilization, the music museum, the castle of San Pietro and the church of San Pietro Apostolo.