Mummies and Daddies should not allow themselves to be discouraged by the harsh temperatures and the limited hours of daylight, because the short days of December and January see the return of magic open-air villages for children.
Christmas markets, a tradition that is centuries old, are an unmissable event for children, who are free to roam amongst the traditional wooden huts full of toys and sweets. The Trentino-Alto Adige is still the main area for the markets, with Bolzano leading the way
Young adventurers will not resist a couple of rides on the horses on the traditional merry-go-round in Piazza Walter. As well as browsing in the stalls, one can visit the Loacker shop, a chocolate factory with wafers of every kind and gadgets in the shape of the famous biscuit.
Mulled wine flows along the Lungo Passirio in Merano (Bolzano). Another jewel of the region, it is a destination loved by parents who can try out the skating rink or relax in the famous hot springs in the centre with their choice of fifteen internal pools.
There is a fairly tale ambiance at Levico Terme (Trento): during the Christmas period the ancient park of the Habsburgs, a natural oasis of unequalled beauty, hosts 60 traditional wooden huts under trees decorated with thousands of magical lights. Before leaving the Alto Adige, we should also mention the small town of Vipiteno (Bolzano), which is famous both for the stalls selling bratwurst sausage and cooked pork shoulder and for its historic centre which is amongst the most magical and colourful in Northern Italy.
Raggiungendo le colline piemontesi di Langhe-Roero e Monferrato, a Govone (CN) merita una visita il Magico Paese di Natale, aperto fino al 23 dicembre. Un viaggio tra sogno e realtà ispirato agli scritti di L. Frank Baum, l’ideatore del Mago di Oz, dove i più piccoli possono incontrare Santa Claus nella sua dimora polare. Anche in Toscana è lunga la lista degli appuntamenti festosi open air: Arezzo, per esempio, si trasforma in un vero Christmas Village.
The Magico Paese di Natale in Govone (Cuneo) is a journey between dreams and reality inspired by the writings of L. Frank Baum, the creator of the The Wizard of Oz
Until Wednesday 26 December, Piazza Grande houses the largest Tirolean village in central Italy. A new development this year is the partnership with Lego to create a 400 m2 exhibition area and Pick&Build workshops. Should the seaside appeal more than hills, until 20 January the coast in Lazio hosts the event Gaeta lights up with Favole di Luce. Every weekend the beautiful fountain in Piazza della Libertà has water shows, music and firework displays.
Further south, there is the third edition of Valle del Natale at Torre del Greco (Naples). It won the Parksmania Award in 2017 for the best family project in European parks, and this year it boasts 10,000 m2 of workshops and completely renewed settings. There is also the first edition of the Christmas market of the Railway National Museum of Pietrarsa (Naples). Wooden huts, musicians playing in the streets, festive lights and flavours bring life to the area on the Gulf of Naples.
The tour ends in the heart of Apulia, at Alberobello (Bari). The Associazione Future organises a Christmas between traditional trulli houses, from 7 December to 6 January. Father Christmas will be there to welcome everybody personally, but especially children, ready to receive Christmas letters, greetings and cuddles.
And out of respect for the saying “Epiphany is the last celebration of all”, the event ends with the arrival of the Befana, the witch: everyone, from old to young, will look up to welcome the magical old lady, who distributes lumps of coal or sweets from her flying broom.
Autumn in South Tyrol
From Bolzano to Lake Reschen, this region is to be explored, with a mix of historical monuments, boat tours and scenic wonders.
World Press Photo 2018 in Aosta
From 7 December to 6 January 2019 Fort Bard hosts the exhibition from the celebrated international photo-journalism competition