Babbo Natale, Christmas markets and shopping . . . . . .
December is a real treat for the senses for anyone visiting Italy, not to mention the traditions and celebrations – all squeezed into just 31 days. SHOPPING
Cities, towns and villages are lit like magical wonderlands, the smell of roasted chestnuts float on the cold, crisp air. There are an abundance of concerts, events, street fairs and markets just waiting to be explored and shops remain open late for those in need of an extra Christmas gift.
Shopping is always at the top of the agenda during December, but if you’re looking for a little something extra, then here are my few choice selections for this month. SPORT
The San Siro in Milan is the stage for the UEFA Champions League where on 8th December, Milan and Ajax will go head to head. Experiencing an Italian football game for myself, you can guarantee the atmosphere is always electric and the fans – a frenzy!
Outside of the city, high in the Italian mountains, The Alpine World Cup, the most glamorous event in skiing, visits Val Gardena for the downhill and Super G competitions. All the best skiers now compete for the FIS Alpine World Cup, the definitive tournament run very much along the lines of Formula One motor racing. Stay in one of Cottages to Castles’ wonderful properties on Lake Como or within Varese, just an hour drive from the cityscapes of Milan and ideal for a short visit to the ski resorts of the north. CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS & TRADITIONS
Florence Noel is a family-friendly Christmas fair where exhibitors decorate their stands as creatively as possible inside the Stazione Leopolda. Games, interactive activities and interesting reconstructions of the North Pole and Father Christmas' home create a fun and magical atmosphere. Definitely one for the kids!
Stay in the cosy Italian retreat of Le Scuderie
in Lamole (Greve in Chianti), just 40 kms to Florence.
Near the top of Monte Ingino, above Gubbio, Umbria, a huge Christmas tree, 800 meters tall, is made up of 450 lights. In 1991 the Guinness Book of Records named it "The World's Tallest Christmas Tree." The tree is topped by a star that can be seen for nearly 50 km and lit up every year on 7 December, the evening before the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Stay in the beautiful Umbrian Villa Monte Acuto
in Umbertide, just 30 kms from this world record breaker.
There are hundreds of celebrations and nativity scenes played out throughout Italy together with some of the largest Christmas markets with music and entertainment for all the family. Italy is one of the best places to celebrate and experience this magical time of year. Who knows, Babbo Natale may leave something in your stocking this year! Buon Natale!