Christmas in Milan

In Milan, the lights are ready to be switched on and in many parts of the city preparations are underway for the start of the pre-Christmas festivities. With a special time travel through the atmospheres of Christmas in Milan, this magical moment of the year, we will take you to the most interesting corners of the Milanese capital and the really not to be missed events.


The Finnish market

Towards the end of November, in Via dei Marchi, the stalls with handicrafts and culinary specialties of the Finnish tradition and, next to them, the stalls of the German market will again brighten up the Christmas spirit. In the afternoon, children can listen to the story of Santa’s dwarves and participate in Christmas card-making workshops.


The artisan fair

The Artisan Fair, held at the end of November/mid-December in the exhibition halls in Rho, lasts nine days to buy handicraft products, taste the food of many different countries and take a real trip around the world between fascinating cultures and traditions.

An unmissable event for those who want to think in advance about Christmas gifts, focusing on originality. Surround the many products offered, musical events, dance performances and cooking classes.

Image above, Christmas and New Year decoration of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (1877) – one of the oldest shopping centers in the world. (photo ©
Milan Cathedral, Christmas in Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Milan Cathedral with Christmas tree, Italy (photo ©

The “Oh bej Oh bej” fair

The tradition of the time of Christmas in Milan wants this fair or market to accompany the feast of the patron saint of the city. Around the Castello Sforzesco, numerous stalls, divided into sections according to the area of origin, display all kinds of goods, including food, sweets and many handicrafts typical of the vendors’ countries of origin. Astonishment both among the visitors and the children who in 1510 welcomed Giannetto Castiglioni, sent by Pope Pius IV to rekindle the enthusiasm of the faithful. “O Bej, O Bej” exclaimed the little Milanese of that time at the sight of the gifts brought to them in the city.

The markets around the cathedral have less dated origins, but help to brighten the climate of the city center. Every year, the wooden stands will start selling their products from December 8 to remain operational for all the Christmas holidays.

Castello. Sforzesco, Lombardy, Milan, Italy
Balloons with the Sforzesco Castle in the background on a sunny winter day for the “Oh bej! Oh bej!” Fair, Milan, Italy (photo © Murphy1975 /


Christmas trees

Exceptional Christmas trees complete this magical atmosphere: for example, the large tree in Piazza Duomo lights up to illuminate everything that surrounds it with its decorations and lights. The tree in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the one in Piazza Della Scala and the one in Piazza Duca d’Aosta will accompany him.


Christmas in Milan – Culinary traditions

We can only conclude this overview of Milanese traditions by mentioning its most typical dishes: Legend has it that panettone, the most famous Italian Christmas dessert, was born in Milan by a careless boy from the scullery in the service of Ludovico il Moro, whose name has survived through the centuries. The “Pan de Toni” has been produced and consumed throughout Italy for centuries, but tasting and buying it in the most prestigious confectioneries of the native city has a completely different flavor.

In this context, I suggest you make a trip to the refined pastry shop “Cova”, a kind of temple of panettone from the 1930s, where the exquisite dessert is sold in a really elegant package, or at “Bianco Latte”, a warm and welcoming place. where a thousand delicacies are made, including the panettone, prepared according to tradition or in other, even more delicious variations, or at the Martesana pastry shop, characterized by a modern style and a pastry shop of excellent quality, where the motto “with the hands, with time, with the heart” reinterprets the traditional dessert and proposes it anew in infinite flavors.

Text ©

Naviglio Grande, Milan, Lombardy, Italy
The waterway of the Naviglio Grande canal in Milan (Italy) with Christmas lights. This district is famous for its restaurants, cafes, pubs and nightlife. (photo ©

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