Christmas in Liguria: Events, Markets and Nativity Displays
Christmas in Liguria, amidst markets, events, and nativity scenes!
Liguria will amaze you even at Christmas: during the holidays in its villages, you will find a thousand nativity scenes, amid ancient flavours and entertainments. And, the atmosphere of the winter sea is unmissable. Here is a pocket guide to the nativity scenes in Liguria. Below are the most important events that light up the festivities from west to east.
Imperia and surrounding
Christmas in Dolceacqua
On Christmas Eve, at the parish church of Sant’Antonio Abate, from 11:00 pm, the traditional mass will be sung by the “Cantoria” of Dolceacqua. On December 26th, there will be a market and a concert by the City Band at 6:00 pm in the parish church. In the evening, the Dusäigöti will offer a walking route around the traditional fires “Cantendu denäi au fœgu” with Soundpressure. Departure from “Fravega” (via Dante Alighieri) at 9:00 pm. On Thursday, December 29th, the long-awaited lantern festival for young and old returns; it starts from Piazza Garibaldi at 5:00 pm with the Theatre of a Thousand Colours that will guide you through the streets of the village immersed in a charming Christmas atmosphere with many surprises. Until January 8th, there is a route among nativity scenes with the “Presepiando Festival” featuring 20 participating commercial activities.
[Link to visit Dolceacqua: https://www.visitdolceacqua.it]
Bordighera shines with winter lights and colours
A rich program of events in the city that enchanted Monet to experience Christmas in a magical atmosphere with the whole family: Christmas markets, Santa’s village, entertainments, and shows.
Taggia, the historic fair
In Taggia, it’s known: those who want to give a nice Christmas present must wait for the traditional “Historical Fair of Santa Lucia” on December 11th. In Arma di Taggia, the markets, attractions, and surprises of the 10th edition of Christmas at Villa Boselli await young and old at the spectacular inauguration of the Christmas village on Friday, December 15th, at 4:45 pm, followed by the lighting of the tree. On Saturday, December 16th, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, the various stands will be visitable, offering unforgettable tastings of local specialties and items made by local artisans.
Badalucco, creative craftsmanship at Uparte Natale
In Badalucco, the eighth edition of “Uparte Natale” is ready to amaze from Saturday, December 2nd, to Saturday, December 23rd. The artistic exhibition with paintings, sculptures, objects, accessories, an exhibition dedicated to art and creative craftsmanship by Elimond, CeramicaCosmaga, Intreccio creativo, SpinArt, and wooden toys will also be accompanied by an unmissable appointment with workshops, cultural and spiritual events, and the collective performance on Friday, December 17th, by the winning artists of the “Visions of Notes and Poetry” competition.
Waiting for Christmas in San Bartolomeo al Mare
Also this year, the traditional Christmas market of San Bartolomeo al Mare awaits you on Friday, December 8th, and Saturday, December 9th, in the charming village of the province of Imperia. “Waiting for Christmas” is the name of the 2023 edition that will bring handmade products, collectibles, and hot chocolate to Torre Santa Maria square from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Savona and Province
Loano: Christmas Magic Village
In Loano, you will find many opportunities for your Christmas gifts, starting with the “Christmas Magic Village,” a traditional Christmas market with a Nordic touch set up inside the San Josemaria Escrivà Gardens. In typical wooden houses, you’ll discover gift ideas such as handmade Christmas items, nativity scenes, candles, collectible toys, souvenir photos, and custom calendars with Santa Claus, jewelry, items, games, and local products. The markets will be open from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on Sundays. Musical events and animations for children and families will accompany your shopping. Don’t miss the “Elf Workshop” for the little ones with baby-dance, while the music of the “U Gumbu de Loa-Verzi” concert and the gospel musical show by The Soul of Gospel will liven up the village on several occasions. The attraction will be open on the following days: Saturday, December 2nd, and Sunday, December 3rd / Thursday, December 7th, to Sunday, December 10th / Saturday, December 16th, and Sunday, December 17th / from Saturday, December 23rd, to Sunday, January 7th.
Between sacred and profane, songs and liturgies, Christmas arrives in Savona. On December 23rd, there will be a large fair for last-minute shopping and a Santa Claus Walk from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm, mainly in Piazza Sisto IV and Via Manzoni. Check the City of Savona website for all other scheduled events.
Albissola Marina: Christmas Art
From Saturday, December 2nd, to Sunday, December 17th, at the headquarters of the Circle of Artists of Pozzo Garitta in Albissola Marina, the twenty-first edition of the “Christmas Ceramics” exhibition will take place, with over 200 participants from Italy and abroad to celebrate the wonderful artistic adventure of the region. The inauguration of the traditional event will take place on Saturday, December 2nd, at 5:00 pm, while opening hours will be as follows: from Monday to Friday, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm / Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
Albissola Marina: Christmas at Casa Jorn
A series of three appointments for young and old at the Casa Museo Jorn during the second edition of “Christmas at Casa Jorn.” At 4:00 pm on Saturday, December 16th, children can participate in plastic manipulation workshops, creating a Christmas object from Nordic fairy tales. At 4:30 pm on Monday, December 18th, the workshop will feature collage and painting workshops to create Christmas self-portraits. The event will conclude with a toast on Thursday, December 21st, at 4:30 pm, with a guided tour of the museum and an aperitif with focaccia.
Festival of Lights in Finale Ligure, Borgio Verezzi, Pietra Ligure, and Orco Feglino
Four municipalities join for the Christmas celebrations: from December 1st, 2023, to January 6th, 2024, with the Festival of Lights, traditions, events, theater, dance, and palate delights. The program will be divided among the four villages: Finalmarina/Finalborgo/Finalpia/Varigotti, with special events and activities proposed by various associations in the area. Discover the entire event program on the Finale Ligure City website.
Alassio Christmas Town
From Thursday, December 7th, to Sunday, January 7th, 2024, the city of the kiss and the small wall will be under the spotlight with initiatives and markets of Alassio Christmas Town. The first day of the Christmas event will be rich in activities, from the delivery of the prestigious “Alassino d’oro” in the Parish Hall of the Ancient Collegiate of Sant’Ambrogio to the scenic race of Santa Clauses from the Alassio Pier, a route of 2.5 km to be covered with a Santa Claus hat for glory and for the mulled wine at the end of the race.
The Province of Genoa
Rapallo Xmas Festival
Rapallo Xmas Festival is the grand Christmas festival that will involve Rapallo during the holiday season. Music, lights, songs, street artists, craftsmen, pastry chefs, Santas, witches, theatrical performances, luminous parades, themed workshops for children and teenagers, with a focus on local realities. Here is the program.
Santa Margherita Ligure: Santa Claus Village
In Santa Margherita Ligure, the celebration begins on Friday, December 8th, with the lighting of the large tree and the city lights, followed by the inauguration of Santa Claus Village at 2:30 pm in Giardini a Mare and Piazza V. Veneto. Santa Claus Village at Giardini a Mare will be open every day, with a food area and a dedicated space for special events, as well as booths presenting a wide range of products, from craftsmanship to catering, including promotional and cultural activities. The Elf House will also be present at Santa Claus Village, available for the little ones and where the Elves will be waiting for you.
Sestri Levante between villages and music
Starting from 5:00 pm on Friday, December 1st, the Christmas Village returns to Piazza Bo with the lighting of Christmas trees and the opening of traditional markets. The village will remain until Sunday, December 31st, following the following hours: from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Lights, typical products, workshops, and games for young and old will be the undisputed protagonists of an event that will involve the center of Sestri Levante. From 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm on Saturday, December 2nd, and Sunday, December 3rd, all children can also deliver their letters to Santa Claus, hoping to find their favorite toys under the tree. The event will be repeated from Friday, December 8th, to Sunday, December 10th, Saturday, December 16th, Sunday, December 17th, and from Thursday, December 21st, to Sunday, December 24th. Last but not least, on Wednesday, December 6th, on the occasion of the patronal feast of San Nicolò, the Christmas Party will enliven Villa Ragone starting from 11:30 am with a treasure hunt, games for the little ones, and a colorful forest market.
Christmas in Portofino
Are you looking for a glamorous destination for your Christmas? Portofino and its Christmas events could be just what you’re looking for! Starting from Saturday, December 9th, the chosen date for the traditional Fire Ceremony and the lighting of the Tree in the little square, the pearl of Tigullio will welcome the festivities in grand style. For the occasion, parking should be free between 4:00 pm and 12:00 am, so don’t miss the opportunity to experience an unforgettable evening in a stunning location!
Christmas Market in Masso
In the hamlet of Castiglione Chiavarese, behind Tigullio, on Sunday, December 3rd, the whole village mobilizes with Christmas decorations in the narrow streets and in the sites of the local community for the third edition of the Christmas markets. From 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, you can enjoy local products and admire the creations of local artisans while sipping mulled wine. Unmissable are also the animations and the visit to the “Santa’s Mine,” a journey in the XX Settembre gallery with the geologists of the Archaeological Mining Museum. The Oratorio Antico also proposes the “Nativity Village,” set up with creations made for the occasion by the young artistic collective, while the Parish Church of San Michele exhibits the nativity scene in Genoese style, set in the territory of Val Petronio.
Santo Stefano D’Aveto: the true atmosphere of Christmas
A stone’s throw from the sea, enveloped in the atmosphere of enchanted mountains warmed by the sun’s warmth, the Christmas markets “Art and Flavors” will bring handmade products and gastronomic excellences of the valley to the Bocciodromo Arvigo in Santo Stefano d’Aveto. The opening days will be as follows: Saturday, December 2nd, and Sunday, December 3rd; from Friday, December 8th, to Sunday, December 10th; Saturday, December 16th, and Sunday, December 17th, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Also, the opening of Santa’s House is scheduled for Saturday, December 2nd, with workshops, entertainment, and shows for schools. The attraction will be open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on the same days as the market at Bocciodromo Arvigo. So, prepare your letters and don’t forget to deliver them to the host! Starting at 10:00 am each day, participants in various initiatives can also experience a unique adventure with the donkeys of La Villa, enjoying an unprecedented tour of the country starting from the entrance of the Castle. To participate in the activity, reservation at the La Ghianda Agricultural Company is recommended.
The Christmas Market in Bargone
The medieval town of Bargone, in the Casarza Ligure area, awaits you on Friday, December 8th, with stands of roasted chestnuts, fritters, hot chocolate, and mulled wine. Don’t miss the appointment with the local craftsmen and the meeting with Santa Claus. From 2:30 pm, the little ones can deliver their letters or directly entrust dreams and wishes to Père Noël.
Christmas in Cicagna
On Sunday, December 17th, from 9 am to 8 pm, the historic center of the town in the province of Genoa will host a traditional Christmas market in the spaces of disused commercial premises. Participants can appreciate local artisanal products, taste the main culinary excellences of the Genoese region, and experience the magic of traditional dances and games with melodies of fifes and accordions and Christmas decorations.
The workshop of little elves in Uscio
This year, fifth-grade children in Uscio are ready to make the Christmas season in Liguria even more special. From 10 am to 12 pm on Saturday, December 2nd, their markets will enliven the town gardens, with the proceeds of the day going towards the realization of the end-of-year play.
A leap into the past in Ognio
Do you want to discover the Val Fontanabuona during the Christmas season? If the answer is yes, the Christmas markets in Ognio, a hamlet of the municipality of Neirone, are just for you! On Sunday, December 10th, Santa Claus himself awaits young and old amidst traditional games, food stalls, and the inevitable delivery of letters. To make the event even more special, there will be the “saddle baptism” with ponies provided by ASD El-Rancho.
The cribs of Roccatagliata
At 3 pm on Sunday, December 10th, the medieval village of Roccatagliata, in the heart of Val Fontanabuona, will inaugurate the new season of cribs in the church square. The evocative event will be accompanied by a choir and traditional Christmas songs, also providing attendees with sweets and Ippocrasso, an ancient drink made from wine and honey.
Serra Riccò celebrates Christmas
On Friday, December 8th, the Christmas lights will illuminate the various hamlets of the town in the province of Genoa, all connected by a free train starting at 10 am. In Pedemonte, for example, the gardens of Tavola Bronzea will welcome inflatable games, while in Piazza Santo Poggi, Santa’s house will open its doors to the little ones with sweets, workshops, and activities. The streets of the hamlet will then be the stage for musical performances during the afternoon, closing the day with an exhibition of vintage postcards in the council hall and a Gospel choir in the church of San Rocco starting at 6 pm. In Castagna, on the other hand, the market of hobbyists awaits enthusiasts and curious visitors with games and many gastronomic surprises. Last but not least, the magic of cribs and Christmas decorations will envelop the hamlet of Mainetto from early morning, offering hot chocolate and even an exciting dog show.
Christmas markets in Moneglia
The magic of Christmas envelops and involves the Ligurian seaside village of Moneglia, one of the most beautiful in Italy. Typical products, workshops for children and families, exhibitions of local artisanal excellence, and much more await you on Corso Longhi from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, December 23rd, Saturday, December 30th, and Saturday, January 6th. Among the events not to be missed is also the Christmas Party on December 23rd in Piazza delle Poste. From 2 pm, Pro Loco awaits the little ones with animations, workshops, parades of “Christmas jesters,” and the inevitable greeting from Santa Claus in person!
The anticipation of Christmas at La Gaiazza
The events leading up to December 25th also pass through the municipality of Ceranesi, with markets, food stands, shows for children, and the art of cribs at La Gaiazza. On Sunday, December 10th, from 10 am to 6 pm, the city will open its doors to visitors, the curious, and families for an unmissable Christmas event.
The Christmas market of Mignanego
On the Immaculate Conception weekend, the parish of Giovi awaits you for a traditional Christmas market with exhibitions and sales of local craftsmanship, the proceeds of which will go to social projects for the community. The hours will be as follows: from 9:30 am to 12 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm on Friday, December 8th, from 3 pm to 7 pm on Saturday, December 9th, and from 3 pm to 5 pm on Sunday, December 10th.
Christmas markets in Villavecchia in Ronco Scrivia
The magic of Christmas is ready to return along the ancient Via Postumia with the thirteenth edition of the Villavecchia markets. On Sunday, December 3rd, from 10 am to 7 pm, more than 60 stands will exhibit artisanal products, gastronomic delights, and unique gift ideas, also offering among the many novelties a Lego exhibition at the city library and the Columbia cinema.
The crib art of Borgo Fornari
An essential stop for all Christmas lovers is the appointment with the Cribs in the Village, an event organized by Pro Loco Borgo Fornari APS in its third edition. This year too, visitors can participate in a special contest by exhibiting their small crib in the most characteristic corners of the high Scrivia valley village. At the end of the exhibition, scheduled from Friday, December 8th, to Saturday, January 6th, 2024, the most original will be rewarded with a surprise prize.
Artisans and hobbies on display in Rovegno
Starting at 10 am on Friday, December 8th, the Christmas markets of Rovegno return with artisanal objects, agricultural products, and stands with mulled wine and hot chocolate scattered through the streets of the village. From 12 pm, it will also be possible to taste local products in rustic sandwiches, while from 2 pm onwards, the Christmas elf will await the letters of the little ones in his little house. The unmissable day will close with the show of the Teatro Scalzo Company, featuring stilt walkers and lights.
The Tradition of the San Nicola Market in Genoa
This year, the oldest market in the Superba (Genoa) returns to Piazza Piccapetra from Friday, December 1st, to Saturday, December 23rd. The thirty-fourth edition awaits both young and old with stands filled with gastronomic delights and traditional objects, the proceeds of which will be donated to charity for solidarity projects in the city.
The Art of Wood Takes Over Piazza Matteotti
From Saturday, December 2nd, to Sunday, December 24th, from 9 am to 7 pm every day, artisanal stands and local gastronomic products will take over the spaces of Piazza Matteotti. The initiative, organized by Terliguria Confesercenti, will include 27 exhibitors from Liguria and neighboring regions.
Discovering Forte Tenaglie in a Christmas Key
On Saturday, December 2nd, and Sunday, December 3rd, Christmas stalls will display handmade creations by local artisans, showcasing wooden toys, ceramic objects, necklaces, dolls, and typical Christmas symbols from 3 pm to 8 pm. Don’t miss the guided tour of the Fort and its “Santa Barbara” at 3:30 pm, as well as the Christmas snack on Sunday, December 3rd, at 4:30 pm.
The Christmas Market of the Dopolavoro Ferroviario Genova in Rivarolo
On Saturday, December 2nd, and Sunday, December 3rd, from 10 am to 8 pm, the Arena Albatros in Rivarolo will be filled with stalls, gastronomic and artisanal stands, light shows, and music with the third edition of the Christmas market of the Dopolavoro Ferroviario of Genoa. Also, do not miss the distribution of cheese focaccia, pastries, mulled wine, and hot chocolate.
The (Christmas) Book Fair in Galleria Mazzini
If you love Christmas and reading, the 97th edition of the Book Fair in Genoa is perfect for you! In the marvelous spaces of Galleria Mazzini, various exhibitors starting from Friday, December 1st, will offer a series of literary gift ideas, taking you on an unforgettable journey through novels and Christmas tales. The event, especially in the year of Genoa as the Italian Capital of the Book, will have an even more special flavor and will be open every day until January 7, 2024, from 9 am to 7:30 pm.
Helpcode, an Exotic Christmas Market
Via XXV Aprile awaits the curious with stands and exhibitors who, from Saturday, December 2nd, to Friday, December 22nd, will showcase fabrics and handmade products from the communities supported by Helpcode in Cambodia, Mozambique, and Nepal. The market will be open from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm, from Monday to Saturday.
The Christmas Atmosphere of Apparizione
At 3 pm on Saturday, December 2nd, the artisanal and gastronomic markets of Apparizione will officially inaugurate the Christmas season, with tastings of mulled wine, hot chocolate, and traditional treats. At 4 pm, Santa Claus will wait for children’s letters in his house, while at 7:30 pm, participants can enjoy the traditional polenta dinner and the subsequent burraco and cirulla tournament.
On Sunday, December 3rd, the markets will open at 10 am, featuring a series of unmissable activities, including the delivery of panettone, raviolate, and the award ceremony for the “O Pandoce ciù bon di Paisciun” contest.
Spezia Parade 2023: shows, events, and Christmas parades
Until December 24, Spezia Parade 2023, a rich artistic exhibition conceived and organized by the Teatro Scalzo Company, will enliven the streets of the capital of La Spezia with shows, events for children, and parades. The series of events will accompany the queen of the Gulf of Poets towards Christmas, offering a variety of performances for both adults and children, including charming city parades featuring musicians and stilt walkers. Here’s the program:
Four Villages and a Christmas: Discover the Cinque Terre and Val Petronio in a Christmas Key
Certainly, the Cinque Terre is one of the most picturesque and charming places in the whole country. However, be careful not to consider them exclusively summer destinations, ignoring the more intimate and hidden charm of the winter season. To avoid this unforgivable mistake, explore the four villages, their Christmas decorations, and the nativity scenes scattered from Moneglia to Sestri Levante through the events of the “Four Villages and a Christmas” project. Discover the detailed program here.
Sarzana and the Magical Forest
This year too, in Sarzana for Christmas, there will be a real “magical forest” in Piazza Matteotti, an almost fairytale place animated by Christmas characters, events for children, and dedicated illuminations, involving various parts of the city. The Christmas lights, already installed in the historic center, have been renewed with new low-consumption LED lights and the installation of dedicated timers, which will limit the hours of operation. The lighting is scheduled for 6 pm on Thursday, November 30, and in the coming weeks, there will be many activities related to environmental issues, combining territorial promotion with citizen awareness of environmental respect and sustainability. There will also be artisanal nativity scenes in the Civic Palace, concerts, Piedmontese markets, and shows with ice sculptures, as well as an ice skating rink and the traditional Christmas train that will cross the city.
Lerici and its Villages and the Magic of Christmas
Starting from December 2, the magic of Christmas will conquer Lerici and its surroundings with activities, events, markets, and shows for all tastes. From 4:30 pm to 6 pm on December 2, “The magic box tells” will bring theatres and readings for children aged 5 to 10 to the village. On Sunday, December 3, from 10 am to 6 pm, the 45th edition of Christmas Bazar will illuminate Lerici’s Municipal Palace, attracting the curious and tourists to the English market stalls organised by the International Women’s Club of La Spezia. On Friday, December 8, on the occasion of the Immaculate Conception, games and creative workshops will wait for the little ones for the first edition of Xmas Lerici in the spaces of the Municipal Palace in Piazza Bagigalupi from 10 am to 6 pm.
A Seaside Christmas in Porto Venere
From December 8 to January 7, discover the magic of Christmas in beautiful Porto Venere! Start your winter visit to Byron’s village among the craft and gastronomic stalls of the Christmas markets. The scent of fritters, hot chocolate, and mulled wine will attract curious visitors to Porto Venere and alle Grazie, also reserving a series of initiatives and meetings with Santa Claus for the little ones.
On December 20, starting at 9 pm, the Christmas Concert of the students of the Liceo Costa della Spezia awaits you in the charming church of San Lorenzo. Another unmissable event is the special Submarine Christmas, an initiative by Spezia SUB that will take place on Sunday, December 24, at 11 pm, followed by the Midnight Mass.
Wandering Christmas in Ameglia
Have you never visited medieval Ameglia or have you never done it at Christmas? This year, don’t miss the opportunity to experience a wandering Christmas in the town halfway between Liguria and Tuscany! On Saturday, December 2, a walk through the streets of Caprione will kick off a month of events and markets. From 2:30 pm to 6 pm, you can be enchanted by the colours and scents of the hobby and gastronomic market, with workshops and activities also dedicated to children and families. The stands will remain open the next day, following the same hours as Saturday.
Among the main events in December in Ameglia, the lighting of the Christmas tree in all the fractions of the municipality stands out on Friday, December 8. On the same day, the Fiumaretta location will be filled with artisanal and gastronomic markets starting at 2 pm, reserving a show with Christmas carols performed by schools at 4 pm. The day will end with the arrival of Santa Claus in the evening and the collection of letters from the little participants.
On Saturday, December 9, the famous Santa Claus will land on the shores of the town, ready to amaze young and old, while on Sunday, December 10, the Bocca di Magra location will host a treasure hunt, workshops for families, and the awaited concert by the Santo Stefano di Magra Philharmonic.
In the approach to Christmas, the concert on Sunday, December 17, at 6 pm, by the EsaEnsemble of La Spezia at the Parish Church of San Vincenzo in Ameglia will follow. Last but not least, on Saturday, December 23, the Fiumaretta location will host a musical show called “In… Christmas song,” scheduled at 3:30 pm in the Church of Sant’Isidoro.
Deiva Marina and the Christmas Tree Festival
The wonder of Christmas trees will conquer the alleys of Mezzema starting at 2:30 pm on Thursday, December 8. The inevitable symbol of the most beloved holiday of the year will colour the streets of Deiva Marina, triggering a real contest that will reward the most beautiful decoration of this year. Hot chocolate and other products for a warm Christmas snack will not be missing.
Christmas at Varese Ligure Castle
The colours of Christmas are ready to conquer the Fieschi Castle in Varese Ligure with the markets on Sunday, December 10, family workshops, and an unmissable elf village. This last attraction, in particular, will be open from 3 pm on the following days: from Friday, December 8, to Sunday, December 10, Sunday, December 17, Saturday, December 23, and Saturday, December 30.
Waiting for Christmas in Rocchetta di Vara
Games and workshops for the little ones will animate the village of Rocchetta di Vara until November 30 and from Thursday, December 7, to Thursday, December 14. The event will end with the final party on Thursday, December 21, organised by the Municipality and the Pro Loco of Rocchetta di Vara.