Updated: October 2019
Venice in December is a must if you are hoping for an Italy trip with a Christmas holiday feeling. Despite the cold weather that usually affects the lagoon, in Venice there are many events and unique cultural traditions that happen in December. December is an enchanting time to visit and a chance to experience local life amid the festivities. Here are our top local tips for visiting Venice in December:
- Go ice skating in Campo San Polo
Every year in mid-December, an outdoor ice skating rink is set up in Campo San Polo, in a very local neighborhood of Venice. This is a great activity if you’re traveling to Venice with kids especially, as the sestiere of San Polo also has booths set up around the campo where parents can enjoy sipping some hot wine (vin brulè) and eat some Italian sweets typical of this time of year, surrounded by festive lights and often a Christmas tree. The outdoor ice skating rink in Venice is set up in the campo from December till February.
- Visit a museum or an art gallery to beat the cold
You cannot miss the always classic: Gallerie dell’Accademia for some classic art, the Peggy Guggenheim collection for seeing exceptional modern art, Palazzo Fortuny for a great Venetian palazzo and a piece of local fabric history, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana for a more contemporary art collection within the Pinault collection. This December there are also two special exhibits worth visiting: the Exhibition of Tintoretto at Palazzo Ducale and to Willy Ronis photo exhibit at Galleria Tre Oci in Giudecca.
- Do something active outdoors to warm up! Like a Venetian Rowing lesson
In Venice they said that winter is the best moment to row as it’s not hot and you can warm up! We suggest to book your rowing lesson with the girls of Row Venice and don’t worry if the weather turns bad, the lesson will be rescheduled for a day with a better weather!
Prontopia Locals know the best way to get you and your belongings where you want to go, and help with any practical needs along the way. You’ll learn firsthand about the best local spots in the city for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Whether you need help for 15 minutes or all day long, a friendly Local is here to orient you to the city. For help with anything you may need during your stay in Venice, sign up for Prontopia, and enjoy Venice like a Venetian!
- Buy some presents from local shops
Get your Christmas gifts in Venice! You have a great amount of choices, but we recommend buying gifts from Local artisans whenever possible. We suggest to: get a typical papier-marche handmade mask at Ca’Macana, or buy a non-conventional Venice t-shirt or mug from Feelin’ Venice shop, grab a not mainstream book of Venice at the Un Mare di Carta, specialized in maritime and Venice lagoon books and items, or Libreria Marco Polo book shops. Shop some beautiful bags at Rio Tera’ Dei Pensieri.
- Enjoy some of the typical Christmas food, especially the Venetian Jewish sweets
During Christmas time, bakeries are filled with panettone and pandoro, delicious sweet breads made for the season. In Venice you will also find mandorlato, delicious homemade nougat with nuts and dried fruits. Try also the Venetian Jewish community specialities at the Ghetto, like the holiday fritters!
- Watch the Regatta of the Santa Claus’s
The Christmas Regatta takes place every year around December 20, with typical Venetia boats rowed by Santas along the Grand Canal.
- Don’t miss the incredible fireworks show for New Year’s Eve
The best places to view the fireworks for New Year’s Eve in Venice are from Riva degli Schiavoni, at Piazza San Marco, from the terrace of the Hilton Molino Stucky on Giudecca Island or from the terrace of the Hotel Danieli.
We look forward to welcoming you to Venice soon! For the best arrival, save time and money getting to your hotel or holiday apartment easily, by booking a connection with a Prontopia Local, who will meet you on arrival and help you navigate your way door to door.