- Food & Wines
- Real Estate
- Learn Italian
- Home & Garden
- Sign in
Markets in Christmas
Markets in Italy: Christmas
Conducting Business during Christmas, Italian Style
Italy is actually home to the Christmas celebration. Although Christ was born in the small town of Bethlehem, his birth was not formally celebrated until three hundred years later in Rome under the reign of the Emperor Constantine. Today, Italy celebrates Christmas with both reverence and extravagance. For the public eye, this celebratory time can be viewed in the abundance of the Italian holiday market place.
During the Christmas season, Italy's markets burst with foodstuffs as well as wares of all kinds. Visit Milan's Sant' Ambrogio Fair and you are likely to find decorative ornaments, figurines for the manger as well as many terrific gift ideas. Marketplace avenues are filled with crowds enjoying holiday treats and searching for the ideal gifts for relatives and friends.
The Piazza Navona in Rome showcases a memorable scene each Christmas season with its spectacle of lights and extravaganza of booths selling all manner of items. Balloons, jars of preserves, bunches of holly, colorful shawls, pots of poinsettias, stuffed bears, metal tops, porcelain dolls, trinkets and sparkling baubles can be purchased at this lovely time. Just before Christmas the auxiliary bishop of Rome blesses this famous square and walks its length of colorfully roofed kiosks.
Among foods, sweets top the list of the crowd's most beloved treats. Torrone is sold at nearly all the markets as well as dried fruit and nuts. A child's dream of gum drops, fudge, caramels and hard sugary candies can be found at various stalls. Palermo's holiday market boasts candy dolls. Other booths around the country offer holiday spice cakes or Italy's customary Christmas cake, panettone. Cookies can be purchased in decorative boxes and pastries of all sorts are readily available. Be sure to look for marzipan, gingerbread and Turkish delights to treat your holiday guests.
Walk through the market and invariably see snackers munching on a special holiday sandwich of porchetta, a traditional roasted pork. Foods of all kinds-both Italian in nature and exotic-flavor the December air. Rounds of spiced sausage such as prosciutto and capicolli are popular purchases. Other holiday meats like hams, turkeys and capons are purchased widely as well from these enchanting market scenes.
Of course, small towns and big cities alike congregate at these extraordinarily decorated fairs to hold fairs and special holiday ceremonies. The old and young alike shop among the amused vendors while bells clang from nearby churches and musicians play favorite carols and songs. Many of the big cities like Rome, Venice and Florence have special fairs that are well attended by both Italians and tourists alike. Christmas is a special time in Italy that is well reflected by its colorful and bountiful markets.
By J. A. Young