Planning on spending Christmas in Italy? Great idea and Venice, and the Veneto, should be your first your choice. Simply put Italian Christmas tradition is at its very best in the Veneto.
You'll find something to suit all tastes. Let me share a little of what you can expect...
Of course very best of all is Venice. The traditional atmosphere, wonderful concerts and the Christmas Mass in St. Mark's Basilica are all truly unforgettable experiences.
I'll get onto Venice and Verona soon but first don't forget Bassano del Grappa and Belluno. Christmas markets are fabulous in both cities.
Not in the Veneto, but nearby, is Bolzano - home to Italy's most famous Christmas market.
Many of the stalls are little wooden chalets and artisans come from far and wide to sell some of the most wonderful handicrafts you're ever likely to see.
Soaring mountains around town are covered in snow and the atmosphere is so warm and genuine. You can't help but feel that this is how Christmas was always supposed to be.
Venice at Christmas time is truly magical. The misty grey weather makes Venice hauntingly beautiful and absolutely enchanting.
Canals seem to belong, once again, to those long lost centuries past and ancient palaces seem to float upon white clouds. Ancient history and magical kingdoms meet in a delightful experience you'll never forget.
Surprisingly lacking the tourist crowds you'll find a city full of locals and Christmas markets. Most of the main squares have a market and the atmosphere is always very special.
Plenty of delightful Christmas concerts are held throughout Venice. They are easily discovered by reading the posters around the city or asking your hotel for advice. The La Pieta church on the Riva degli Schiavoni, where Vivaldi was once choir master, hosts some of the best.
Of course no Christmas in Italy would be complete without a Christmas Eve Mass, particularly lovely is the famous Christmas Eve Mass in St Mark's Basilica.
Even if you are not Catholic a Christmas Mass is an unforgettably moving experience.
I may be biased, being Italian and Catholic, but my husband who is neither Italian nor Catholic agrees with me on this and he doesn't agree with me about much!
In Murano (famous for its glass) you'll discover the tallest glass Christmas tree in the world. A real work of art.
If you would like to experience Venice in all its magnificence and you have a big budget for sumptous luxury then these hotels are the ones I can recommend.
To return home with a little money left in your bank account try these very good value alternatives.
Finding somewhere to eat over Christmas can be tricky and you will need to make a booking well in advance.
Some restaurants I enjoy in Venice are these but if you would like to try one of them do check if they will be opening this Christmas as many restaurants close.
On Christmas Eve fish is the traditional Christmas meal whereas on Christmas day a roast is pretty typical although there is no specific meal as such. The one thing you can be sure of though is that their will be plenty of delicious Panettone (Italian Christmas cake).
You will either get the mist I mentioned earlier, grey and rainy weather or else the most beautiful clear and crisp days. For more information visit our guide to Venice’s weather.
Visiting one of the ski resorts? Have a look at our ski guide for information on the loveliest little towns to visit.
Traditional Christmas is the way Verona celebrates and you will find very little tacky commercialization. The traditional Christmas events in Verona start in mid December with the Feast of Santa Lucia.
A particular joy of Christmas in Verona are the many small markets.
The most famous and largest is the Santa Lucia Christmas market held in Piazza Bra, you can’t miss the huge illuminated shooting star that seems to be flying out of the Arena and landing in the Piazza.
Impressive too is the Nativity Exhibition held in the famous Roman Arena. The exhibition hosts incredible nativity scenes from all over the world.
If you have the time visit the nearby village of Soave.
Medieval Soave is famous for being the centre of the Soave wine region and is a great place all year round but Christmas is a particularly lovely time to visit. The town hosts one of the most touching nativity displays you are ever likely to see and all the locals seem to turn extra warm and friendly, with plenty of time on their hands to chat with any visitor who shows an interest in their town.
Have you visited Italy over Christmas? Share you experience!
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My Christmas visits in Italy Not rated yet
Thanks to my work I have had the opportunity to spend time in the Veneto leading up to Christmas. It is a truly wonderful experience and a special place …
Venice at Christmas Time Not rated yet
You have convinced us Maria - we are heading out to Venice for Christmas this year. Hotels I have looked through the list of hotels you have …
Italy at Christmas time is the best! Not rated yet
Very much I love Christmas. Every year for a long time I have not stayed in Italy but always I take my family to find another country to spend Christmas. …