Come to Milano for Christmas! Every year the Christmas spirit lights up the whole city for a month of events: lights, music, shopping, taste and much more.
Christmas markets and shopping
Milano is Italy’s privileged destination for shopping and in these days the choice gets even richer and caters to every taste: one can range between the luxury of fashion shopping in the Quadrilatero della Moda or Fashion District , between via Montenapoleone and via della Spiga, where the pret-à-porter brands are concentrated, to Milano’s Botteghe Storiche, where craftsmanship and quality are handed down generation after generation, and can be discovered walking through areas quite close to the city centre.
For those who love traditional Christmas markets , the Oh Bej, Oh Bej is back: for centuries it has offered visitors delicatessen, sweets, handicrafts and a hot cup of mulled wine – it is now held by the ramparts of the Castello Sforzesco.
Almost at the same time, on December 9th the Milano Rho Trade Fair exhibition grounds hosts L’Artigiano in Fiera (The Artisan at the Fair), the market – exhibition dedicated to Italian and international craft. Once there, it is impossible not to get lost among the various stands, looking for that last Christmas present or tasting food from all parts of Italy and most of the world. After the weekend the stalls will not disappear: that’s the moment in which new markets open across the whole city, starting with the one in Piazza del Duomo, around the cathedral everyday from 8:30 to midnight.
Taste the Milanese Christmas with the biggest artistic Panettone in the world!
Christmas in Italy means panettone, the not-to-be-missed typical cake well-liked all over the world.
Again this year, the taste and creativity of the Milanese Christmas cake par excellence reach the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: on Sunday, December 16th at 17:00, everyone will be able to taste the “biggest artistic Panettone in the world” made by Davide Comaschi of the Chocolate Academy. The panettone will be decorated with a special type of pink chocolate praline called “Rosa Milano”, created by Davide Comaschi himself and presented for the first time.
Once unveiled, the panettone will be cut and offered to everybody, for an occasion of conviviality and hospitality under the magnificently illuminated vault of the Octagon. At the same time, other slices of artisan panettone will be distributed throughout the Galleria. The ceremony will be opened by the Alpine choir that will sing Christmas carols.
It will not be the only initiative dedicated to the Christmas dessert: thanks to the master bakers and confectioners, from Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th of December there will be tastings throughout the city to follow on the map that will be distributed. A brochure with the “Panettone Itineraries” is also provided, a list of the masters who scrupulously adhere to the specification for the “typical panettone of the Milanese artisan tradition” .
Christmas in music
On December 7th, when the City celebrates its holy patron, St. Ambrose, La Scala Theatre inaugurates its new season with a performance-event much to be talked about in the media of Giuseppe Verdi’s Attila, conducted by Riccardo Chailly and directed by Davide Livermore, a director and a light-designer guaranteeing originality. It will be possible to follow La Scala’s Opening Night in various theatres and public locations, including Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, where it will be shown live free, thanks to the Prima Diffusa project . Furthermore, for the whole week, many spots all over the city will resonate with the music of Attila, while there will be a choice of meetings, concerts and exhibitions on the subject of Verdi’s opera.
Milano has a special way to celebrate the coming of Christmas and that is the Advent’s Musical Calendar . Every evening from December 1st to 24th at 18:30 a surprise will meet the onlookers’ gaze, through a spectacular video-projection that transforms the facade of the Palazzo dei Portici Meridionali in Piazza Duomo into a big screen.
This is of course not the only musical event at a time of the year that has its own exclusive soundtrack: among the many offers the traditional Christmas concert in the Cathedral, offered for free to citizens and visitors on December 20th, featuring famous classical ensembles and choirs every year, and New Year’s Eve Celebration in Piazza Duomo, which has seen onstage, waiting for midnight, famous artists.
La Scala Theatre is open for the holidays and celebrates in the illustrious company of Vivaldi, Mozart and Verdi: two Christmas concerts on December 22nd and 23rd will be reserved for sacred music, while on December 31 Verdi arias will be performed by four great operatic singers during the Gala .
Four great singers for Beethoven’s Ninth as well: with its “Ode to Joy” it has been Orchestra LaVerdi’s New Year’s soundtrack for the last twenty years. Karina Gauvin, Sonia Prina, Moritz Kallenberg, e Jochen Kupfer will be at the Auditorium di Milano from December 29th to January 1st, along with the renowned Milanese orchestra, Conductor Claus Peter Flor and Choirmaster Erina Gambarini.
Take a picture of the sparkling Christmas trees and lights and skate on the ice rinks
As per Milanese Christmas tradition, on December 5th the big Christmas tree in Piazza Duomo lights up to be brighter than ever. Over 35 thousand LED points and hundreds of blue decorations will illuminate the square.
The tree, a 25-meter spruce from the Val di Sole, Trentino, is sponsored by Unipol, that will light up the Torre Galfa, too: from November 29th to January 6th 2019 a luminous installation in the shape of a Christmas tree enriches the façade of the tower making it the tallest Christmas tree in Milan. At the top of the tree there is a comet star with a diameter of 4 meters and composed of 2,000 LEDs.
Other trees are added in different places in the city. First of all, the shining Tree in the Octagon of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which always amazes not only those who walk under the festive light, but also those who are in the square and, through the arch of honor, sees this jewel-like tree stand out in the "living room" of the Milanese.
A special tree is the one set up by OPPO in Piazza XXIV Maggio, a real installation of design and lighting 20 meters high, with an internal staircase that allows access to the balcony, located at 9 meters high, from which to admire the Navigli and the Darsena lit up for partying while inside it is enveloped by a starry sky.
In Corso Vittorio Emanuele, on the corner with Piazza San Babila, the luminous tubes of the Bulgari tree stand out, while Piazza Gae Aulenti hosts the Esselunga Christmas tree and Piazza Tre Torri, in the Citylife district, the Christmas tree set up by Huawei.
The Quadrilatero della Moda, which in Via Montenapoleone and in the surrounding streets offers the Christmas Shopping Experience initiative, is not to be missed: music, events and shows as well as a sparkling Christmas tree in Piazza Croce Rossa.
It’s not over, yet: the whole city dresses at parties to celebrate the most loved day of the year. Both the squares of the city center and the outskirts will be festively decorated with miles of light installations , to spread everywhere the joyful atmosphere of the most loved party of the year.
And don't forget to enjoy yourself on the ice skating rinks in the city.
Christmas in art
For the eleventh year in a row, Palazzo Marino (the City Hall) hosts for the whole Christmas period an artistic masterpiece on loan from an Italian museum – it can be visited free of charge. This year it will be Perugino’s Adoration of the Three Wise Men, a Renaissance masterpiece from Umbria’s National Gallery. Umbria will also lend to Milano a beautiful traditional crib scene on display at Palazzo Marino.
There’s no shortage of great temporary exhibitions at Palazzo Reale either: Picasso, Metamorphosis, in which Picasso’s works converse with classics of ancient art on loan from collections across the world and Carlo Carrà, one of the Italian 20th-century masters, on his journey from Futurism to Metaphysical Art and beyond.