The Christmas season is just around the corner: have you already planned your holiday trip and decided where to go for your Italian holidays? Every Italian city has its own way of celebrating the holidays, with century-old traditions, stunning decorations, Christmas markets and unique regional dishes to savor.
Here are our recommendations – a mix of well-known towns and hidden gems all over Italy that are a must if you’re planning to travel during the holidays.
San Candido – The Heart of the Alps
Do you want to spend a dashing ski vacation in one of the most popular high-end towns in Italy? Well, San Candido sits in the heart of the Alps and is an extremely fashionable Christmas and winter destination!
A vacation in San Candido is sure to be unforgettable. There are plenty of winter activities to do, from skiing to snowshoeing, snowboarding, skating and more.
The whole month of December is marked by numerous Christmas events! Starting with the Krampus parade and the arrival of St. Nicholas at the beginning of the month, events continue with workshops for children, shows and concerts
Manarola – Nativity Scene in the Cinque Terre
Manarola overlooks one of the most famous coastal areas in the whole Italian peninsula – the Cinque Terre. But it is also home of a Guinness World Record-breaking nativity scene!
The entire hill is lit up in a majestic play of lights that follow the shapes of the various religious characters, creating a unique and beautiful show that will take your breath away.
Spending your Christmas holidays here also means getting a taste of the best Ligurian dishes, lingering in the magical Christmas atmosphere among lights, markets, and romantic pathways, and enjoying the beauty of the world-famous Cinque Terre.
Genga – Frasassi Caves Christmas Magic
Speaking of unique nativity scenes, the town of Genga in the Marche region doesn’t disappoint. The one hosted here is no ordinary nativity scene – it’s one of the largest in the world!
It covers about 3,000 square meters inside the famous Frasassi Caves. About 300 people are engaged in the event, bringing to life different characters, and reviving ancient traditions of the area.
In addition to the nativity scene, plenty of other events are also held in the historic center of Genga, from magical Christmas markets with handicrafts and typical local products to workshops for children. When you’re here, make sure you visit the Valadier Temple, a majestic neo-classical temple built inside a cave.
Gubbio – Crown Jewel of The Umbrian Countryside
Gubbio is a wonderful medieval town in Umbria, not too far from Perugia. One of the best times to visit is during the holidays, as it is home to one of the largest Christmas trees in the world, towering over the entire town. Christmas events start right with its lighting in early December!
The entire city is decorated throughout the holidays, with attractions both for adults and kids. You can also go for a ride on the Gubbio Express Christmas, a train that goes all around the historic center.
Gubbio’s roman ruins, the stunning countryside views from the panoramic Piazza Grande, its magical cobblestone alleys, and its many tasty traditional foods will make your trip absolutely worth it!
These are only some of our favorite holiday destinations in Italy, perfect both for a daytrip and a longer vacation. But all over Italy you will find there is no shortage of activities and events to accompany you during Christmas time – each town with its peculiar traditions, dishes, and history!