Here are a few of Local Venetian Ilaria Nardone’s favorite things about enjoying Christmas in Venice. We would love to hear yours, too! Please comment below or find us on Facebook here.
1. Go crazy buying presents…in style. During Christmas in Venice there are so many vendor stands all along Strada Nuova where you can find presents (also last minute!) for your family and friends. From typical food, like cheese and prosciutto, to perfumes, antiques, toys…everything! It is fun and festive to stroll among the Christmas lights and shop for special Venetian crafted gifts. Please consider buying gifts from Local artisans whenever possible, another great way to visit Venice respectfully
2. Listen to a christmas choir. There are several. One of the best, of course is the Christmas choir at Teatro La Fenice… but my favorite the choir concert at the Basilica dei Frari as the setting is so beautiful and suggestive — the choir performs beneath the Assumption of the Virgin painting by Titian. You can find a schedule of the concerts at the Basilica dei Frari here. On the afternoon of December 26, there is a magnificent free concert. This is such a special Venetian family tradition.
3. Buy fresh fish for the Christmas Eve dinner at Rialto. In Italy, it is customary to eat fish for dinner on Christmas Eve. Of course, Venetian cuisine is famous for fish, and the most typical place to buy local fish is at the Rialto fish market. It is best to buy the fish for your feast earlier in the day, before it’s too late, as it sells out! This is a very local experience. Understanding which fish to buy and how to order the fish according to the weights you need can be confusing. we recommend requesting a Prontopia Local to help you. Learn about the recipes they will be eating on Christmas Eve, which fish to buy, and perhaps meet a friendly Venetian fishmonger
4. Go ice skating in the Campo of San Polo. There are many festive December events in Venice to enjoy this season. The sestiere of San Polo has an outdoor ice skating rink in Venice set up in the campo from December 8 to February 13, 2018. There is also a nice Christmas market in San Polo.
5. Enjoy some of the typical sweet Christmas breads and sweets. At Christmastime, 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. Venetians enjoy a slice of pandoro or panettone with a glass of prosecco on Christmas Eve, and then of course feast on the rest on Christmas day.
6. Watch the Regatta of the Santa Claus’s or the Regatta of La Befana. The Christmas Regatta takes place every year around December 20, with typical Venetia boats rowed by Santas along the Grand Canal. This event is organized by the University of Ca’Foscari. On January 6, in honor of the epiphany, represented by an old witch “La Befana” who visits children in the night, there is another regatta along the Grand Canal from San Toma’ to the Rialto Bridge. In this regatta, athletes from the oldest rowing club of Venice dress up as old witches and compete in a race.
Travel Tip: The vaporetto (public water bus system) runs on a limited schedule during the holiday season. Be sure to check the holiday timetable here. If this affects your travel plans, we recommend requesting a helpful Local from the Prontopia app to assist you with getting you and your luggage where you need to go by foot or the best, most economical, alternative transportation.
Christmas in Venice by foot is amazing! And you can learn about these local holiday traditions and where to enjoy them along the way.
Prontopia helps you easily get around the city by connecting you with an on-demand Local. 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, download Prontopia, the app that gets you there.