Christmas in Venice: How to Discover this Dazzling Time of Year
December 22nd, 2022
2 Minutes Read
Maybe it's because this is one of my favorite times to visit Venice, but I always feel like something special happens during this winter season. If you're lucky enough to visit Venice at Christmas then you’ll see a different side to this wonderful city. It will be cold, it will be quieter than normal, but it will be gorgeous - and it will be worth it! So, without further ado here are some top reasons why Christmas in Venice really is one of the most memorable Italian vacations.
Venice is Already Beautiful, but the Christmas Decorations Take it to a New Level
Anyone who visits Venice during the holiday season comments on its beautifully lit streets and festive atmosphere. Venice is blessed with having a unique setting for the Christmas holidays. You'll find an abundance of fairy lights and Christmas markets dotted around historic buildings. However, during Christmas time, the beauty of the city steps up a gear. Even the gondolas, like the buildings, get dressed up for Christmas in Venice. The city's magical glass decorations and lighting are enough to make anyone feel this special atmosphere this time of year- even if they're not celebrating!
I love how beautiful it looks when the Christmas lights turn everything into white or gold; there’s just something so joyful about seeing all those lights glowing against dark skies at nightfall…
Winter in Venice is a magical time. The canals turn into ice rinks and the sky clears up, giving way to stunning views of this ancient city beneath you while its buildings seem floating on top of watery clouds; it's quite possibly a one-of -a kind experience that everyone who visits should enjoy at least once! An ice skating rink is a great place to have festive fun with your kids, or an ideal Christmas date setting (just like the movies!). The air gets crisp but not too cold, so you can still enjoy a pleasant hot chocolate, or glass of vino al fresco.
The sound of music rings through Venice during the Christmas holiday, but it's even more beautiful than you could ever imagine. If this year is your first time visiting the city at Christmas time then make sure that once you get off those boats into Piazza San Marco for some shopping or just allow yourself to take in all things Venetian - there will be church bells ringing throughout! The atmosphere really does take you back centuries as actors perform live on stage while pedestrians stroll past them on their way home after being indoors since Thanksgiving dinner ended. If you have time, I highly recommend a visit to La Fenice theater. It's the grand opera house of Venice, and perhaps of Italy.Christmas in Venice is a beautiful, tranquil time to get away from the hustle and bustles of life.
The Sights are Less Crowded
The city will be less crowded so you can explore famous sites such as St Mark's Basilica without being surrounded by other tourists! Additionally if you visit the Grand Canal, Rialto bridge, or Campo san Salvador during the morning, you'll find an even more peaceful setting. Perfect for taking unspoiled photos, and appreciating this winter wonderland.
Private Venice in a Day tour combines a walking tour of Venice featuring St Mark's square, St Mark's basilica, Doge's palace
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Indulge in Traditional Christmas Food
What would an Italian Christmas be without the delicious food lusted over world wide?
Italy has a well-deserved reputation for its rich cuisine, (often drizzled in a healthy dose of olive oil). Spend Christmas in Venice and you’re bound to have a fabulous culinary experience. It is traditional for Venetians to have a multi course fish dinner on the 24th December, while on Christmas day Venetians will traditionally enjoy Ravioli in a Capon broth, boiled capon, salami, potatoes and spinach. On Christmas Eve, you'll find locals sipping traditional Italian mulled wine and making the rounds with their friends. The Venetian dishes served during this time are some of the tastiest in Italy, including sarde in saor (fried sardines) and baccala mantecato (codfish). Sample as many of these dishes as you can – after all, it's the holidays! On Christmas Day, wrap yourself in a blanket and admire the twinkling lights of Venice's many bridges. As you breathe in the crisp winter air, it'll be hard not to feel the holiday spirit.
Join in With Venetian Traditions
If you're looking for an unforgettable and luxurious Christmas experience, there are a number of unique and wonderful Venetian traditions that you can join in with. Whether you're here mid December, or actually on Christmas day!
Celebrate the holidays with wonderful Venetian traditions that have been passed down through generations. Start your celebrations off with a Santa Claus run, where dozens of Santa Clauses take to the streets of Venice in festive costumes to spread holiday cheer. Afterward, join in a procession with the ancient gondolas and sail along Venice's picturesque canals. New Year’s Eve in Venice is also special and is usually celebrated with a meal, followed by a firework display in the city center at St. Mark’s Square. There is usually a party celebration in the square with lots of live music - and a tremendous atmosphere.
Attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve
If you want to be among the few who get a chance at attending Christmas eve mass during your Venice trip, then make sure that you come early and stay until it's over. Even if you're not religious, it's a memorable and one-of-a-kind experience. I recommend St Mark's basilica (San Marco), for a bedazzling Christmas mass – complete with nativity scenes.
Enjoy the Christmas Concerts
Another Venetian tradition could be to visit one of Venice’s special concerts. These are held throughout the season and are well advertised throughout Venice. We think that those held at La Pieta church host some of the best. Incidentally, this is the church where one of Venice’s most famous musical songs, Vivaldi, was choirmaster.
Immerse Yourself in Christmas Shopping and Peruse the Christmas Markets
What would visiting Venice be without a visit to a Christmas market or two! For a truly unique Christmas in Venice, it's hard to beat the magical atmosphere of the legendary Christmas markets. You may be familiar with the German style markets but I promise our Italian version is just as awe-inspiring! The Christmas markets offer a wealth of bespoke gifts and treats, from artisanal Italian craftsmanship, traditional decorated masks, and delicious traditional delicacies. Among other things, visitors can purchase handmade Murano glass, Venetian ceramics and gourmet food items like sardines in saor and sopressa salami. With a perfect blend of luxury, festive spirit and warm Italian hospitality, Venice's Christmas markets are a must-visit destination during the holidays.
Venture to the Islands of Murano and Burano
Fancy a day trip? Load up on beautiful hand blown Murano glass or traditional Burano lace to take back as Christmas gifts for friends and family at home. Once you are on Murano, you can’t miss the famous glass Christmas tree that is reported to be the largest in the world.
Experience the Magical Atmosphere of Venice This Christmas
If you plan on spending Christmas in Venice, remember that on Christmas Day and the 26th December, those who live and work in Venice will be enjoying a holiday with their families. This means many services and tours will not run on those days, however, most run right up until 24th December and from 27th December onwards. Hotels are open but booking is required.
Ready to Go?
Waking up to your Christmas tree and presents at home is all well and good, but imagine waking up to this and more by spending the most magical Christmas in Venice! We're here to help organize bespoke vacation packages to help you explore every inch of Venice at Christmas. Just get in contact with us here!