Five Italian Villages to Visit During Christmastime

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What could be better than bundling up in your warmest winter clothes and strolling down the cobblestone streets of a fairytale-like Italian village this Christmas? Now imagine sipping on a luscious hot chocolate or perhaps mulled wine while you admire the town’s light displays, Christmas market, and nativities.

This is the scenario in hundreds of hamlets and cities throughout Italy from late November through the beginning of January, or just after the official end of the Christmas season, Epiphany. In this article, we’ll take you to five Italian villages to visit during ChristmastimeAndiamo!

Levico Terme (Trentino region)

The enchanting village of Levico Terme is in Italy’s northeastern region of Trentino and is just 30 minutes away from the major city of Trento. Situated in Valsugana near Lakes Levico and Caldonazzo, it is one of the most beautiful areas of the region. The town sits at an altitude of 520 meters (1,700 feet) at the foot of the Lagorai mountain chain (Dolomites). It is also well-known for its natural hot springs with curative properties due to its high sulfur and iron content. 

levico terme-trentino-natale

What to Expect During Christmastime

Every year, between mid-November and January 6th, Levico Terme hosts its famous Christmas market. The wooden chalets are set up inside Habsburg Park (Parco secolare degli Asburgo) and visitors can enjoy historical reenactments representing the Habsburg period. Over 550 gigantic trees grace the park, many of which are centuries old. You can expect to find artisan crafts of all kinds made by locals as well as high-quality food and wine.


Make sure to buy some of Valsugana’s signature cheese that has been made using the same technique for centuries including Vezzena and Formaggio Lagorai. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of Grappa and a rare type of cornmeal, known as Mais Spin, for making polenta. 

Visit the official website for more information.

Longiano (Forlì-Cesena province, Emilia-Romagna)

In the soft hills between Rimini on the Adriatic Sea and Cesena, you’ll find the quaint town of Longiano. This walled medieval town is one of the best-preserved in the region and highlights include a castle belonging to the Malatesta family, numerous museums, and historic churches. 


What to Expect at Christmastime

At Christmastime, the historic center takes on an even more magical atmosphere with its nativity scenes on display throughout the town. From the Immaculate Conception on December 8th through January 8th, unique, handmade nativity scenes of all sizes and styles will be arranged both indoors and outdoors for all to enjoy. This year, Longiano will also have a Christmas market and lots of food and entertainment for all ages. 


If you plan to visit specifically when the Christmas market is taking place, the dates are December 8, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26 and again on January 6, 7, 8, 2023. Parking is available in piazza XI Ottobre 1944, underground parking on Via Circonvallazione, and in piazza Racca. Camper parking is free in piazza Racca and includes utility hook-ups.

Details on the event’s Facebook Page.

Casole d’Elsa (Siena province, Tuscany)

In the Elsa Valley about 35 km from Tuscany’s beloved art city of Siena, lies the quintessential hilltop village of Casole d’Elsa. Characterized by its 14th-century fortress, the 12th-century Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, and the internationally-renowned Verrocchio Art Center, Casole is a must-see at any time of the year. 

casole delsa-siena-natale

What to Expect at Christmastime

The tiny village is filled with the alluring aromas of the season from chestnuts roasting to the area’s specialty, panforte. From November 27 through January 6, 2023, Casole will host numerous events including tastings and concerts. 


Casole is equidistant from other fantastic Tuscan towns such as Volterra, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, and Siena. You can combine at least one of these in a single-day trip!

Scanno (L’Aquila province, Abruzzo)

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Scanno at first glance. This tiny village in the Apennines is full of charm and even its lake is shaped like a perfect heart. At an altitude of 1,050 meters (3,400 feet), you can expect to find snow to add to its already wonderful Christmas atmosphere. It is known for its intricate lacework and unique traditional costume unlike anything else in Italy. 


What to Expect at Christmastime

One of the most characteristic displays in Italy can be found on Scanno’s lake. A lighted floating tree and nativity scene adorn the surface of the water. The narrow streets, arches, and alleys will be decorated with carefully-placed light displays and a Christmas market will be set up offering the finest in artisan crafts and food and drink. 


You will most likely need to drive to Scanno, however; there are buses from Sulmona (the nearest major train station). Make sure to pick up a wheel of one of Scanno’s traditional artisan cheeses such as ricotta dalla bucia nera whose black outer shell forms due to natural aging in a total absence of light. 

Erice (Trapani province, Sicily)

When you think of the island of Sicily, you certainly don’t think of mountain villages but that is exactly what Erice is. At 750 meters above sea level (2,400 feet), this village is perched upon the jagged mountains of Trapani. There is a cableway that will take you from Trapani to Erice in a short time, or you can arrive by car in about 30 minutes. 

What to Expect at Christmastime

This small village has something for everyone at Christmastime. Beginning on December 8th through January 8th, 2023, Erice will have nativity scenes on display, light displays, Christmas markets, concerts, special tastings, and lots of events specifically for children. 


Try to catch the zampognari musicians performing their traditional songs on an ancient instrument similar to a bagpipe. The official program is available on the Erice Natale Facebook page. 


Photo credits from top to bottom of page: Visit Levico Terme; Longiano dei Presepi Facebook page; Pro Loco Casole d’Elsa Facebook Page; Erice Natale Facebook page