DECEMBER 2018 |Top Events in Italy

by Elena Brunello
2018_december_what_to_do_italy



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Which are the best events happening in December 2018 in Italy? Explore the Alps and the local culture at Bressanone, Vipiteno, and Bolzano’s Christmas markets. Head south for the breathtaking Nativity Scenes of Naples and Alberobello (UNESCO site) in Apulia. Do not miss Teatro alla Scala Opera Season Grand Opening Gala Night.

EXHIBITION | World Press Photo at Bard Fortress

7 DECEMBER TO 7 JANUARY
Bard, near Milan, Valle d’Aosta (Northern Italy)
Every year from the beginning of December to the beginning of January the World Press Photo itinerant exhibition makes its stop at Bard, in Aosta Valley. In the majestic atmosphere of this huge fortress surrounded by the Alps you can explore the most famous photojournalism award. In addition to the World Press Photo of the year, the contest determines winners of General News, People, Sports, Contemporary Issues, Nature, Portraits, Daily Life, and Spot News.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of the World Press Photo at Bard Fortress


CHRISTMAS MARKET | Bressanone Christmas Market

23 NOVEMBER TO 6 JANUARY
Bressanone, near Venice, Trentino Alto Adige (Northern Italy)
Nestling around the splendid cathedral, encircled by proud, centuries-old buildings, visitors are met by a colourful world of tempting scents and unique flavours. Unforgettable insights into traditional arts and handicrafts and coach rides for the entire family round off the festive offering. Cribs, made in laborious manual labor, carved wooden figures, candles, glass and ceramic manufactures fascinate and please the eye of the viewer. Taste the typical specialities from Valle Isarco and enjoy the unique atmosphere on the cathedral square.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Bressanone’s Christmas Market


CHRISTMAS | Living Nativity Scene in Matera

8 DECEMBER – 8 JANUARY
Matera, near Naples and Bari, Basilicata (Southern Italy)
The UNESCO ancient town of Matera is probably one of the most famous destinations in Italy. It has gained international attention and fame thanks to its old town, known as “Sassi di Matera”. Habitations, churches, and monasteries, were carved inside the caverns of Matera’s rocks. In the 1950 the government forced the population out if the old town and relocated them in the New Matera. Visiting Matera is a must if in Italy, especially during Christmas time, when actors enact a living Nativity Scene.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Matera


FESTIVAL | Florence Light Festival

8 DECEMBER – 6 JANUARY
Florence, Tuscany (Central Italy)
A huge light festival in one the world’s most charming cities. Florence lights up with F-Light: a month of illumination, video mapping, projections, games of light, art installations, and educational activities in more than 15 locations across the city. Monuments, alleys, and squarer shine brighter than ever.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of the F-Light Festival


CHRISTMAS MARKET | The Peoples Christmas

23 NOVEMBER – 6 JANUARY
Rovereto, near Venice, Trentino Alto Adige (Northern Italy)
The People’s Christmas (Natale dei Popoli) is one of the most famous Christmas-related events in Italy. In the Renaissance town of Rovereto (also home to MART – a beautiful museum) artisans and artists from all over the world gathered in a melting pot of people and cultures. An occasion that celebrates the memory of the fallen of every conflict. Every night hundred of tolls and bells resound in the magic atmosphere.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of the Natale dei Popoli


CHRISTMAS MARKET | Bolzano’s Magic Atmosphere

22 NOVEMBER TO 6 JANUARY
Bolzano, near Venice, Trentino Alto Adige (Northern Italy)
The region of Trentino Alto Adige is famous for its magic atmosphere during Christmas. Surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Dolomites, almost one hundred stalls fill the alleys of the town of Bolzano with their typical products. A stone’s throw from the region’s legendary ski resorts this is a must visit if you happen to be in Italy during Christmas.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Bolzano’s Christmas Market


CHRISTMAS | Christmas Light Festival in the UNESCO village of Alberobello

7 DECEMBER – 7 JANUARY
Alberobello, near Brindisi, Apulia (Southern Italy)
This village is probably one of the most unique in Italy. Declared UNESCO Heritage it consists of hundreds of “trulli”: the traditional Apulian dry stone huts with conical roofs. Every December this charming and unique village shines with the lights designed by artists on top of the “trulli”. The sight is magic. Worth seeing it if you happen to be in Southern Italy.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Alberobello UNESCO Village


GUIDED TOUR | Gran Sasso National Laboratory of Nuclear Physics

OPEN ALL YEAR
L’Aquila, Abruzzo (Central Italy)
Guided tours to the Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) of Nuclear Physics. One of the most important laboratories in the world for the study of astrophysics and particle physics, this laboratory is located in the stunning landscapes of the Gran Sasso National Park and it features one of the longest underground tunnels in the world.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of the Gran Sasso Laboratory


EXHIBITION | Grotesque process

OPEN ALL YEAR
Milan, Lombardy (Northern Italy)
In 2006, in order to realize the photographic work Grotto, Thomas Demand, commissioned by Fondazione Prada, used a postcard as his starting point in recreating a grotto located on the island Maiorca. Employing 30 tons of grey cardboard, shaped with the help of a computer and laid out to form a stratification with 900,000 sections, the artist recreated the rock chamber, stalactites and stalagmites displayed on the postcard in order to photograph the work.
> Additional info and tickets Grotesque Process Official Website


LOCAL FOLKLORE | A Very Special Nativity Scene in Cinque Terre

8 DECEMBER and 28 JANUARY
Manarola – near Cinque Terre, Liguria (Northern Italy)
An Italian tradition of the local area, the light presepe (Nativity Scene) of Manarola, Cinque Terre, is certainly a magic sight. More than 250 life-size figures shine on the hills near Manarola until the end of January. A tradition started by a village man and that has now became a must see if in Cinque Terre.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Manarola


LOCAL FOLKLORE | Krampus Night in the Mountains

5 DECEMBER
Various locations – near Venice, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige (Northern Italy)
There is something very charming about Italian rituals: they are usually a mix between Catholicism and Paganism. During the Krampus night, people dressed up as scary devils and roam the streets of the mountain villages of Friuli to scare children and adults. This is a tradition that comes from Saint Nicholas (Santa Klaus) who was told to be helped by angels and devils while delivering presents to children.
> Additional info and tickets for Trentino Alto Adige Krampus Night and Friuli Venezia Giulia Krampus Night


LOCAL FOLKLORE | Nativity Scenes in San Gregorio Armeno

OPEN ALL YEAR
Naples, Campania (Southern Italy)
Nativity scenes are a must in Catholic culture but when in Naples, this tradition changes from simple ritual to art. Neapolitan artisans have been making presepe (nativity scenes) for centuries. In the city area of San Gregorio Armeno there are hundred stalls selling the most original ones. It is no oddity to find a Nativity Scene where Neapolitan house-wives appear next to Jesus while cooking spaghetti or Italian Politician are found as main actors of these scenes. This is a must visit if in Naples.
> No tickets needed


LOCAL FOOD | Zeppola Festival

29-30 DECEMBER
Positano – Amalfi Coast, Campania (Southern Italy)
There is nothing like food to Italians. When it comes to eating, they stand very high both in quality and quantity. Zeppola, also called frittella, is a typical Italian pastry consisting of a deep-fried dough ball topped with sugar and filled with custard, ricotta cream, or honey. It is usually eaten to celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day. Taste it in Positano, in the beautiful scenery of the Amalfi Coast during the Zeppola festival.
> No tickets needed


EXHIBITION | Italian Garden and Superb American Art Collection at Villa Panza

OPEN ALL YEAR
Varese, near Milan, Lombardy (Northern Italy)
A majestic villa from the XVIII century with a superb Italian garden hosts one of the most prominent and important collections of American art in the world. Villa Panza, donated by Giuseppe and Giovanna Panza di Biumo to FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) in 1996 hosts a permanent collection with works by Dan Flavin and James Turrell among others and several temporary exhibitions. This is a must visit if in Milan. We strongly suggest having lunch at the villa’s restaurant facing the garden.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Villa Panza


LOCAL FOLKLORE | Sand Nativity Scenes

DECEMBER AND JANUARY
Different areas of the Riviera, Emilia Romagna (Northern Italy)
The art of making the presepe (nativity scenes) is something peculiar to Italian culture. From December to October the riviera of Emilia Romagna region exhibits huge sand hand-maid nativity scenes in different towns of the region.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Sand Nativity Scenes


EXHIBITION | Dan Flavin neons at Chiesa Rossa

OPEN ALL YEAR
Milan, Lombardy (Northern Italy)
A site-specific artwork and installation designed by American artist Dan Flavin following an invitation, in 1996, from Italian priest Giulio Greco. This artwork is the central element of the Santa Maria Annunciata in Chiesa Rossa Church in Milan, part of a project realized by Fondazione Prada. Enter the nave of this 1930s church to visit Untitled: green, pink, gold, ultraviolet, and blue sources of illumination permeate the sacred atmosphere of this temple.
> Additional info and tickets Dan Flavin’s Official Website at Chiesa Rossa Church


EXHIBITION | Anselm Kiefer at Hangar Bicocca

OPEN ALL YEAR
Milan, Lombardy (Northern Italy)
Since 25 September 2016 Pirelli Hangar Bicocca unveiled the new installation by German contemporary artist Anselm Kiefer. The new show is and expansion of The Seven Heavenly Palaces, a permanent work conceived as a site-specific project in 2004. Five large-format paintings are now on display together with Kiefer’s seven towers.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Anselm Kiefer Installation


MUSIC | Opera Season in Florence at Maggio Musicale

OCTOBER TO MARCH
Florence, Tuscany (Central Italy)
The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is an annual arts festival held in Florence and that includes a very important opera festival. Giuseppe Verdi’s Traviata, George Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s and Shostakovich’s concerts are just some of the events on the schedule.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Maggio Fiorentino Festival


CHRISTMAS MARKET | Vipiteno Christmas Market

23 NOVEMBER TO 6 JANUARY
Vipiteno, near Venice, Trentino Alto Adige (Northern Italy)
Situated at almost 1,000 metres above sea level, Vipiteno is a charming small Alpine village located in the Dolomites. Artisans and artists gather in front of the Zwolferturm, built in 1486. Freshly baked pastries, the aroma of mulled wine, local craftsmen and Christtmas tree decorations fill the stalls. Enjoy the magical atmosphere of Advent in the village’s alleys and squares.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Vipiteno Christmas Market


FOOD | Palermo Street Food Fest in Sicily

7-17 DECEMBER
Palermo, Sicily (Southern Italy)
Sicily celebrates its regional tradition and bond with food and excellent cuisine. December is the month for the Palermo Street Food Fest: stalls selling local and international delicatessen, music, and local crafts. Palermo is Sicily’s biggest city and one of the most charming in Italy.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Palermo Street Food Fest


MUSIC | Strings City Festival in Florence

DECEMBER
Florence, Tuscany (Central Italy)
Strings City is a festival dedicated to stringed instruments such as the violin, the guitar, viola, bass, cello, banjo, and many other instruments. The Festival schedules classical and contemporary concerts. More than 50 venues across the city host these events. A charming way to discover the city.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Strings City


SPORT | Cogne Ice Opening

13-17 DECEMBER
Cogne, near Milan, Aosta Valley (Northern Italy)
From December 14th to 17th, many interpreters of ice climbing will meet in the Alpine Pearl of Cogne, in one of the most popular views of the entire world of ice.Fans of the discipline have already synchronized the clock and an active team is working on the “Cogne Ice Opening” that, during the whole weekend, will see the best “acrobats” of Ice, confront themselves in this fascinating sport.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of Cogne Ice Opening


MUSIC | Grand Opening of Teatro alla Scala Opera Season

7 DECEMBER
Milan, Lombardy (Northern Italy)
In Milan 7 December hold a special place. It is both the city’s saint patron day (Saint Ambrose) and the opening day of legendary Teatro Alla Scala opera season. A grand opening is scheduled every year, with representatives from the government and city, vips, and Milan’s glamour scene appearing as hosts. Milanese people usually watch the show on a big screen in the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery. It’s a must do, if in Milan in December.
> Additional info and tickets Official Website of the Teatro alla Scala Ticket Office




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