Christmas in Italy's most beautiful villages: don't miss these attractions
Bard and Hône: two Christmassy villages - Aosta Valley
On one side Hône, on the other Bard, in the middle a river: the Dora Baltea. Two ancient villages and an unparalleled Christmas atmosphere. Welcome to Valle d'Aosta: here, with popular traditions and festive events, Christmas has the scent of sweet bread and chestnuts.
Overlooked by the famous Fort, the medieval village of Bard is enchanting. The most charming corners become the perfect backdrop for festive nativity scenes. There are also light and laser projections that illuminate the evenings in the valley, making the village and the climb towards the Bard Fort even more magical. Take the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful panoramic views from the lifts.
After visiting one of the inevitably beautiful temporary exhibitions scheduled at Forte di Bard, head towards Hône. Reachable on foot by crossing the bridge over the Dora Baltea river, this village becomes even more welcoming during the Christmas period. Key date: December 8th when the traditional Micòoula festival takes place, dedicated to their traditional sweet bread with chestnuts and dried fruit.
Candelo: Santa Claus Village - Piedmont
The colourful lights, the Candelo Band with bagpipes, a large tree decorated for the festive season, the stalls of local artisans and the traditional, typical produce of Piedmont all await you if you decide to visit the Santa Claus village in one of the most beautiful Mediaeval villages in Italy. Candelo celebrates the miracle of Christmas throughout the holiday period, ensuring joy and excitement for young and old alike. Ricetto is a "must visit" with its magnificent seasonal decorations and lights, as well as the wonderful panoramic view over the entire area of the Biella Pre-Alps. Younger children will love the Post Office of Santa Claus and his elves, where they can post their letters with Christmas wishes
Gradara: The Christmas Castle - Marche
Discovering Gradara during the festive season is an experience no one should miss! At Christmas, the alleys of Gradara are decorated with evocative decorations and lights to welcome and astonish visitors. Don't miss the guided walk of discover around the fortified village, with its alleys and castle, renowned as one of best-preserved Mediaeval structures in Italy and home to the story of Paolo and Francesca as narrated by Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, d'Annunzio and Silvio Pellico. During the festive season, the local "trattorie" and "osterie" propose local menus prepared with typical and traditional products and recipes of the Marches Region, while kids are always thrilled to discover the house of Santa Claus.
Pesaro and Urbino: "The Christmas you were not expecting” - Marche
In Pesaro and Urbino: "The Christmas you were not expecting” is a traveling Christmas event organised in the province of Pesaro and Urbino, with more than 100 initiatives in more than 26 villages. This event takes visitors through art nativity scenes, medieval castles, festively illuminated Renaissance villages and activities for children to discover delicious, authentic and zero-kilometre specialties. A journey through the wonders of the some of the most beautiful villages Italy, from the Adriatic Sea to Montefeltro. There are many must-see events throughout the Marche region: the Biroccini race in Mondolfo, the live nativity scenes in Piobbico and Paravento, the futurist display in Fossombrone, the enchanted snowfalls in Mombaroccio and the thousands of candles in Candelara, to name a few. Unique events to savour the full flavour of the festivities.
Greccio: The Living Nativity Scene - Lazio
Close your eyes and imagine living for a moment the thrill of witnessing the birth of the Saviour: around you, there are the shepherds, the Three Wise Men, the ox and the donkey, an empty cradle, the Mary Joseph, the soft lights of the warm fire and the feeling of being surrounded by a mystical air of expectation.
Know what we mean? Sure - you are in Greccio experiencing the emotion of the Living Nativity Scene! Every year, this magnificent Medieval village near the Franciscan Sanctuary sets up a Living Nativity Scene with a magnificent stage-setting to narrate the birth of Baby Jesus in ancient Bethlehem. Broadcast on TV worldwide, it is a unique and unmissable event that will take your breath away.
Villalago: The Underwater Nativity Scene - Abruzzo
A unique event which takes place underwater and involves divers from all over Italy. Incredible, right? Torches, flickering candles and fireworks illuminate the Lake of San Domenico where, on the night of 26 December after sunset, an exciting procession led by divers begins. The task is to carry six ceramic statues to the bottom of the lake depicting Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the ox and the donkey. It is a truly evocative spectacle: the statues symbolizing Christmas float on the surface of the water on special rafts at night before magically disappearing into the depths of the lake. A very rare event that you should not miss if you happen to pass through Abruzzo during the Christmas holidays.
Erice: EriceNatale, the village of Nativity Scenes - Sicily
Nativity scenes, bagpipers, concerts and markets! If you love Christmas and look forward impatiently to this time of year, you can't miss the Village of Nativity Scenes - an incomparable opportunity to experience the thrill of Christmas in all its magic. Nativity scenes are set up everywhere in Erice: in the churches, the alleys of the village and shop windows. Monumental, traditional, baroque, modern or with ceramic figures, they are the main decoration giving the village a truly evocative and magical atmosphere. Set in a truly fairy tale atmosphere with elves, decorations and lights, as well as also local produce, performances, exhibitions, artisan markets and concerts, this event ensures joy, charm and entertainment.
Poffabro: A Nativity Scene among Nativity Scenes - Friuli Venezia Giulia
More than one hundred Nativity scenes hand made by assembling materials of different kinds and innovative techniques. Out of the ordinary? Poffabro at Christmas becomes an open-air Nativity scene and attracts large numbers of visitors. A Nativity Scene among Nativity Scenes came about almost by chance and today welcomes the creativity of artists, hobby enthusiasts or simply people who love Christmas, displaying Nativity scenes on their window sills or in the streets and courtyards of the village. In wood, stone, porcelain, chocolate, straw or other innovative materials, the nativity scenes in Poffabro ensure a magical atmosphere made all the more stunning by the floral decorations along the alleys and the colourful stalls selling confectionery and local produce. A very unusual experience should you decide to spend Christmas in Friuli Venezia Giulia.