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The magic of Christmas in Lombardy

Light effects in Como. Christmas markets in Bergamo, Cremona, Mantua and Pavia. Christmas Villages in Monza and Varese. Torchlight processions on skis through the snow-white mountains of the Valtellina and the Valle Camonica. All the events in Milan, such as the “Prima Diffusa” at La Scala, the “Oh Bej! Oh Bej!” Christmas fair or “The Annunciation” by Filippino Lippi at Palazzo Marino. Discover all the magic of Christmas in Lombardy with us!


The new star? It’s the Ferris wheel opposite Palazzo Frizzoni, a stone’s throw from the Sentierone, where, complementing Piacenza’s architectures, the “PiacenPino”, a fir tree for the Caucasus measuring around 8 metres, has been festively decorated. Until 26 December, according to the tradition, welcoming people large and small there are also the Villaggio di Natale in Piazzale Alpini and the Christmas Village in Piazza Dante. Among the many appointments not to be missed is the Christmas Concert at the Teatro Sociale with “I Piccoli Musici” of Casazza (22 December). While out of town, the Christmas Markets of Castione, at the foot of the mountains of Presolana, in Val Seriana, return with all their magic. Again in the Val Seriana, in little Gromo, until 26 December, lights, fires, friendly elves and magical settings will accompany a visit to the Santa Claus House. A spectacle!


For Christmas, music, lights and shows will fill Brescia with a rich calendar of Christmas events for everyone. You can’t miss “La Strada Winter Festival” (from 22 November to 22 December), that will enlive the city center with street theatre and contemporary circus performances, live music, clown shows and much more, for kids and adults. Then take a tour through the streets of the Carmine, the most creative district of the city, where you can find light-art installations (from 1 December to 6 January). Finally, from 24 to 31 December, extraordinary free entry in the Brescia’s Civic Museums: Santa Giulia Museum, Tosio Martinengo Art Gallery, Roman Brixia Archeological Park, and Weapons Museum. You will discover the great museal patrimony of the city in a time travel from the Longobard Era, with guided visits and workshops for children.


Until 6 January Como is once again the “City of the Toys”, thanks to the Magic Light Festival, which will fill the historic centre with lights, transforming it into a spectacle with 2 million presences. The must places to visit? The Christmas Market between Piazza Cavour and Via Plinio (until 26 December), the ice-skating rink, the magic of the Nativity Scenes in the Church of San Giacomo, the festively decorated lake-front, the Christmas Palio in Palazzo del Broletto and, from 6 December, the splendid Tree of Light. Again until 6 January, projections on Christmas themes from Lake Como Christmas Light will also illuminate some of the towns of Lake Como, from Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbianello in Tremezzina to Ponte della Civera in Nesso, for a “natural nativity scene” involving over 40 locations. Evening cruises are also scheduled so you can admire it at weekends too.


A special edition welcome card to be booked at the Infopoint in Cremona so you can discover the art of the violin around Christmas time. Every Saturday (until 5 January) you can participate in visits to the luthiers’ workshops with aperitifs and tastings of cheeses, mustards, torrone [nougat] and other delicacies, with recitals of antique violins at the Museum of the Violin, guided visits to the city centre and lots more besides. While on Sundays, between the stages there is also the city’s main theatre, the magnificent Ponchielli. Finally, not to be missed are the traditional Christmas markets, which, following the tradition, liven up the historic centre. An obligatory purchase? The legendary Torrone.


On weekends in December (with an extraordinary opening from 23 to 26), Piazza Virgiliana hosts the Grand Christmas Market of Mantua with over 50 wooden chalets, an exciting ice-skating rink and a miniature train on wheels for a fantastic tourist itinerary of the city. Departure? From Piazza Mantegna. To visit the Christmas Markets of Mantua until 26 December you can purchase the Mantua Pass ticket from all Trenord sales channels: the ticket, which costs €15, includes a return trip to Mantua from all stations in Lombardy and discounts for visits to exhibitions and gourmet breaks.


In Milan Christmas begins with the Feast of Sant'Ambrogio. The most eagerly awaited event? Undoubtedly the “Première” at the Teatro alla Scala on 7 December, with Puccini’s “Tosca” conducted by Riccardo Chailly and screened live free of charge at 38 locations in the city, between the centre and the suburbs. If, on the other hand, you are looking for gifts for Christmas, special appointments with the “Fiera degli Oh Bej! Oh Bej!” (from 5 to 8 December) under the walls of the Castello Sforzesco, and with Artigiano in Fiera (from 30 November to 8 December) at Fieramilano. At the Giardini Indro Montanelli, at Porta Venezia, the Village of Wonder returns (from 6 December to 6 January), while at the racecourse “The Dream of Christmas” is arriving, the largest Santa’s Christmas Village in Italy. “The Annunciation” by Filippino Lippi will welcome art enthusiasts to the Sala Alessi in Palazzo Marini (from 29 November to 12 January).


Breathing the atmosphere of Christmas in the historic centre of Monza with the Christmas Village. Brightening up the streets between L’Arengario and Piazza del Duomo there is now a romantic atmosphere of lights, wooden chalets, illuminated fir trees, Christmas markets and the traditional ice-skating rink in Piazza Trento e Trieste. During the weekends, to entertain both big and small, there are Santa’s Christmas House, musical concerts and shows. The Village is open every day until 6 January, with the exception of 25 December and 1 January.


According to the tradition, for Christmas Pavia is lit up festively. And those who are looking for gifts can go to Viale Matteotti where they will find wooden cottages in Tyrolean style for the craft market. Going out of the city, in Zavattarello, a beautiful town in the Oltrepò Pavese, a special Christmas representation is also being staged this year: a live nativity tableau reconstructing life in the town and its valley as it once was.


The Santa Claus House, the ice-skating rink, the wooden cottages, the artistic Nativity Scenes… until 6 January, Varese Xmas Village invites you to relive the Christmas atmosphere in the streets of the city centre. Mention must also be made of the activities of the FAI, the Italian Environment Fund. Two big appointments: on 8 December in Villa Panza with the children’s “Ricicl-Art di Natale” lab; at weekends until 8 December at the Monastery of Torba at Gorlate Olona for guided visits, creative labs, workshops and tastings. Finally, the magic of the underwater nativity scene at Laveno Mombello, on Lago Maggiore: on 24 December, after a procession, four divers place a statue of the Child Jesus in a manger at the bottom of the lake, 2-3 metres deep, right in front of the city centre. A spectacle of lights and water games that is not to be missed!


Christmas in the mountains? Between Valchiavenna and Valtellina you are spoiled for choice! Christmas Markets, live nativity tableaux and concerts will liven up the entire Valchiavenna for the whole month of December. Among the events in the Lower Valtellina, not to be missed is the Christmas Running (8 December) in Morbegno, a non-competitive 5km run of Santa Clauses “in costume”, and the Grand Nativity Scene of the Val Tartano (from 24 December to 6 January).
Plenty of events in Sondrio and its surrounding area too: in particular, from 8 December to 6 January the squares and streets of the city will be livened up with stalls, Christmas markets, concerts and events in the square for “Sondrio is Winter”. In the Middle Valtellina, the Christmas markets (7/8, 14/15 and 21 December) in Aprica, the Christmas Village (24 December) and the Gospel Concert (30 December) in Teglio and the Walk of Santa Clauses (22 December) in Tirano. And also, in the Upper Valtellina, the Christmas markets in Valdidentro (7 and 8 December) and Sondalo (8 December), the end-of-year torchlight procession by the ski instructors (31 December) in Santa Caterina Valfurva and the Christmas Village that will liven up Livigno for the entire month of December.
Finally, in Bormio, you must not miss the “Gira Bormio Winter” (7 December), all-night festival with shops open, lights, colours, street artists, exhibitions and tastings of typical products, the Christmas markets (8, 22, 30 December and 5 January), and Christmas concert (24 December) in Piazzetta San Vitale and Piazza Cavour. Finally, on the ski slopes of the entire Valtellina, numerous torchlight processions are planned. We will highlight one of them in particular: in Bormio itself, on the afternoon of 31 December, on the legendary Stelvio piste.


Christmas on Lake Iseo speaks the language of art and good food. Until 12 January, in Lovere (Bergamo), every evening original works by US artist Robert Duncan will be projected onto the façades of buildings, thanks to the initiative “Lovere, Town of Light”. The amphitheatre in Piazza Tredici Martiri, the Accademia Tadini, Piazza  Garibaldi, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II and the promenade named after Lady Wortley Montagu are just some of the places where it will be possible to admire the spectacle of light. In Iseo (Brescia), on the weekends of 7-8 and 14-15 December, “Christmas with Taste” returns: in the streets and squares of the historic centre there will be food tastings, shows, exhibitions by street artists, music and lots more besides. Finally, those who are looking for gifts can go to Sarnico (Bergamo), where the lake-front will host the Christmas Markets (from 6 December to 6 January).


From north to south, there are numerous Christmas events along the whole Lombard bank of Lake Garda. In Sirmione the Christmas markets every weekend of December in Piazza Mercato and the ice-skating rink in Piazza Montemurro (from 7 December to 6 January). In the new year, on 4 January, you must not miss “The Fire at the Castle”, a firework display in the historic centre of Sirmione. In Desenzano there is the concert by the Cameristi Strumentisti [Chamber Instrumentalists] of the Orchestra Sinfonica RAI (on 23 December). In Pozzolengo, for the whole month of December, the Christmas Village, in Tremosine the Festival of Polenta (7 December), in Tignale the Sagra dei Marù [Chestnut Festival] (8 December) and “Mercatini della Stella” [Markets of the Star] (from 14 to 21 December), in Gardone Riviera the Concerto degli Auguri [Seasonal Greetings Concert] (26 December).


A major musical event officially opens the winter season in the Upper Valle Camonica. It is the Winter Opening Party, on 7 December in the heart of the pedestrian island of Ponte di Legno. The guest? A major artist of international renown, whose name will be revealed soon. But Christmas events in the Valle Camonica do not stop here. in Temù, from 29 December to 6 January, comes the return in fact of the “Tabià de Nadal”, the traditional Christmas markets in the most charming corners of the historic centre.
Again this year there will be the torchlight processions on skis in the snow: on 28 December in Temù, on 30 December and on 4 January at Tonale Pass on the spectacular Paradiso piste, on 31 December in Ponte di Legno. With the new year (from 4 January), comes the return of the “Ice Music Italy” festival in an igloo on the Presena Glacier: a packed calendar of concerts ranging from classical music to jazz, performed by international artists using musical instruments… made of ice!

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