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Christmas in Gubbio, 5 unmissable things for a dream itinerary

Gubbio turns into an enchanted village at Christmas: from the world's largest Christmas tree to the life-size nativity scene. Here is the itinerary for discovering this mediaeval jewel.

17 November 2022

3 minutes

Visiting Gubbio at Christmas means immersing yourself in a truly unique atmosphere, with the world's largest Christmas tree towering over the historic centre, Christmas markets, a large Ferris wheel and a life-size nativity scene winding through the streets of the San Martino district.

Here is what you should see in Gubbio during the Christmas season.

1. The Christmas Tree in Gubbio is the largest in the world

The Gubbio Christmas tree

450 metres wide, 750 metres high and more than 300 lights throughout the entire silhouette and the large star that alone covers an area of 1,000 square metres: these are some of the statistics of the largest Christmas tree in the world, which has been erected on the slopes of Monte Ingino, behind Gubbio, since 1981.

The work of the volunteers starts as early as September with more than 8,500 metres of cables and 1,350 plugs and sockets, but to see the lighting of the Gubbio Christmas tree you will have to wait until Immaculate Conception Day, 8 December 2022. You will have the chance to admire it from near and far, from dusk until late at night, for the entire duration of the Christmas festivities, until the Epiphany.

2. The Gubbio Christmas markets, the gateway to the city

The Gubbio Christmas markets

During the Christmas period, Gubbio also boasts the most evocative Christmas markets in Umbria, with many Tyrolean-style stalls populating the large Piazza dei Quaranta Martiri from the end of November. Here, it will be easy to pick up Christmas presents, find unique decorations for trees and nativity scenes and discover gastronomic delicacies.

The square is also the access point to ChristmasLand, the circuit of activities and services to discover Gubbio at Christmas. You will also find the large North Pole Ferris wheel and the International Exhibition of Nativity Art set up in the exhibition hall of the Logge dei Tiratoi.  In the large square there are attractions that will delight the little ones: Santa's sleigh and little train.

3. What to see in Gubbio at Christmas: the city tour

gubbio main square

At Christmas, the end of Via Cavour becomes the terminus of the Gubbio Express Christmas, the tourist train that crosses the historic centre of Gubbio in a 7-kilometre itinerary and 62 points of interest to discover the mediaeval town in all its magic.

If you prefer to explore the town on foot, you can head towards Piazza Giordano Bruno, pass the Church of San Giovanni and reach Piazza Grande, dominated by the town's symbol: Palazzo dei Consoli di Gubbio. The square is a great viewpoint from which you can admire the entire festively-decorated historic centre. We suggest you go further up, on foot or by lift, to reach the Duomo and the Palazzo Ducale. From there, through Porta S. Ubaldo, you can walk up to the basilica dedicated to Gubbio's patron saint.

When you buy a ticket for ChristmasLand, you get a real Father Christmas passport that includes access to the Christmas VR experience, the Nativity Art Exhibition and the Museum of Arts and Crafts. It also allows you to get a reduction on the cost of tickets for all the other museums and Christmas attractions such as the Ferris wheel, Santa's sleigh, the Enchanted Carousel and the Gubbio Express Christmas.

4. The Gubbio Living Nativity, evocative charm in 120 figures

The Gubbio Living Nativity

Another must-see on your Christmassy day is the San Martino Crib in Gubbio

The alleys of this historic part of the city are filled with life-size statues that will take you back to the ancient atmosphere of mediaeval Gubbio.

Starting from the Bargello Fountain, follow the path of the Via del Presepe indicated by the 120 statues and, discovering the typical trades of the Middle Ages, you will reach the hut where the Madonna, St Joseph and the Baby Jesus are located. And if you are lucky, a flurry of snow will make the experience even more impressive.

5. The cable car in Gubbio, for a view of the town from above

cable car in Gubbio

The Christmas Tree is at its best when viewed from afar, but reaching the big shining star perched above it is easier than you might think.

The credit for this goes to the Colle Eletto cable car: you can ascend from the historic centre of Gubbio and reach the Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo at an altitude of 803 metres.

The urn of the patron saint is kept there, on top of the giant illuminated tree, and the view from above over the city will leave you speechless.

Take note of the timetable: in November and December the last ride is at 5 p.m., both on weekdays and holidays.

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