While you might not make a special trip to Italy to visit the Bologna Christmas market, it is definitely worth visiting if you happened to be in the area or want to incorporate it into a city break or winter holiday. Bologna’s Christmas market is known as Fiera di Santa Lucia and is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Italy.
Bologna in December celebrates the festive season by decorating much of the historic city centre however it’s an incredible city to visit not only during winter but at any time of the year.
As the gourmet capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, and quite possibly all of Italy, the Christmas market in Bologna adds to incredible foodie options and events available during the festive season. If you love Italian food, you must visit Bologna if you can and Christmas in Bologna is particularly special.
Bologna Christmas Market 2021
Bologna Christmas Market dates: normally around the 22nd November – 6th January (likely to be cancelled in 2021, please check back).
Location: Piazza Maggiore, Via Altabella and Corte Isolani.
Reason to visit: Bologna is all about the food.
Specialties: All the regional cuisine.
Christmas tours: A food tour is highly recommended in Bologna or search our other tours.
Where to stay: Locanda Fourghetti is a good option but it’s quite far from the centre or search Christmas hotels.
Winter events: The French Christmas Village and the International Nativity Fair.
Bologna weather in winter: Temperatures average 7°C / 2°C (high / low) in December.
Plan your trip: A list of travel resources to help you plan your Christmas holiday or winter break.
Bologna Christmas Market Specialities
At the Christmas market in Bologna you can find all the typical market specialities. But what you really should try are foods local to the Emilia-Romagna region. This is produce protected under European law, meaning these products are restricted in their labelling and must be from the originating city or region and produced according to strict guidelines. A few examples for you to look out for:
Balsamic vinegar from Modena, prosciutto di Parma, mortadella from Bologna, grana padano from Piacenza, tagliatelle a ragu (known as pasta bolognaise to most of us), parmigiano-reggiano, tortellini, zuppa inglese, lambrusco sparkling wine. All from Emilia-Romagna and you’ll discover much more when you arrive.
Places where you might want to eat out or put on your list for another time:
- La Sorbetteria Castiglione – May as well start with the most important. The best gelato in Bologna. Via Castiglione, 44
- Osteria dell’Orsa – Affordable lunch specials but be prepared to queue on the weekends. Via Mentana 1
- Trattoria da Leonida – Also hugely popular on the weekends. Vitolo Allemagne, 2
- Trattoria Anna Maria – Apparently the best zuppa inglese in the world but also great for local specialities. Via delle Belle Arti, 17
- Drogheda della Rosa – High end specials of the day. Via Cartoleria,
- 10 Berbere – Top quality gourmet pizza with organic ingredients. Via Giuseppe Petroni, 9
- Alce Nero – Sister restaurant to Berbere, all seasonal, local and organic. Via Giuseppe Petroni, 9
- Le Stanze – The most beautiful location for an aperitivo. Borgo di San Pietro, 1
- Cafe Zamboni – Incredible hot chocolate fondant. Via Zamboni, 6
- Camera a Sud – Quirky cafe popular with students. Via Valdonica, 5
- Eataly – Gourmet food, cookware and cookbooks. Via degli Orefici, 19
- Mercato delle Erbe – Fruit and veggie market. Via Ugo Bassi, 25
- Food market and shops behind Piazza Maggiore Via Pescheria Vecchie
Bologna Food Market
If you are visiting Bologna at Christmas but find the Christmas markets to be closed or cancelled, you can be thankful there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the incredible specialties and cuisine from the Emilia-Romagna region.
The Bologna food market isn’t just one market but a number of excellent fresh food markets located in the old town around Piazza Maggiore (the main square). Walk around the famous arcades to discover all the wonderful food shops and little markets.
Take the opportunity to chat with the store owners to find out what is fresh and in-season and how to cook or prepare what you’re buying.
Bologna is a great city for eating out but if you stay in an apartment, you can prepare your own meals after shopping locally, a wonderful experience for those who love to cook with the best ingredients.
Is it Safe to Visit Bologna?
It seems likely the Christmas markets will be cancelled in 2021. If that is the case, please don’t let it deter you from visiting Bologna, provided the local government advice permits travel and you take all the necessary precautions. Be sure to continue social distancing and any other recommended health measures at the time of your visit. Keep in mind health precautions or restrictions are not only to keep yourself safe but those around you, particularly for the locals living and working in Bologna. It is essential for the health and wellbeing of the local residents to be given priority. If there are any risks, please consider staying at home and visiting Bologna in 2022 instead.
Emilia-Romagna Tourism is the regional tourism website where you can find things to do in Bologna, get the latest Christmas market dates, times and locations and read reviews on all the amazing foodie spots.
Map of Bologna
If you have visited Bologna in winter or would like to review the Christmas market, leave a comment below.
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