Winter in Verona transforms this Italian city into a magical destination, especially around Christmas. The well-preserved Roman architecture and the vast array of shops, restaurants, and bars are only further enhanced by the traditional Christmas market held in Piazza dei Signori.
Throughout this guide, you’ll find detailed information on the 2023 Verona Christmas Market, including dates, opening hours, locations, and local specialties.
Christmas in Verona truly enlivens the city. The traditional Italian festivities blend seamlessly with the already rich cultural heritage, making this historic city’s holiday season particularly special.
Verona Christmas Market 2023
The Verona Christmas market, known in Italian as Mercatino di Natale di Verona, is held in Piazza dei Signori, which is centrally located and surrounded by striking medieval architecture.
Over 60 wooden stalls contribute to this festive celebration, where vendors sell everything from handmade crafts to Veronese food items.
The market also features a large, beautifully decorated Christmas tree alongside a traditional nativity scene, adding to the city’s festive atmosphere.
A notable unique aspect of this market is the international pavilion, where vendors from European sister Nuremberg set up their stalls, bringing a taste of Germany to Verona.
Dates and Location
Verona Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 24th November to 26th December 2023.
Location: Piazza dei Signori and Mercato Vecchio.
Opening times: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 9.30pm. Friday and Saturday: 10am to 11pm.
Christmas Eve: 10am to 5pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: No switch on date.
Ice skating: Yes, at Castelvecchio and the Scaliger Bridge.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Nuremberg-inspired stalls, birthplace of Pandoro, Feast of Saint Lucy, artisan crafts, bridging history and tradition.
Recommended tour: History and hidden gems walking tour.
Specialities: Pandoro, nadalìn, offella cake, vin brulè, craft ales, fritole.
Where to stay: Hotel Aurora is a highly-rated hotel, 2 minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Verona Christmas Market
For proximity to the Christmas market, consider staying in the Citta Antica, Verona’s historic centre. This area places you right at the heart of the festive action, surrounded by charming streets lined with restaurants, shops, and historic landmarks.
I recommend Hotel Aurora for its excellent reviews and strategic location near the market.
Location of Verona Christmas Market
City and Christmas Tours
Exploring Verona through a city tour is an effective way to appreciate the city’s deep-rooted history and cultural richness.
Even in winter, the appeal of Verona, with its stunning architecture, the old town and colourful buildings, remains undiminished.
I recommend this particular city tour of Verona as it showcases key city highlights with a local guide at a reasonable price, making it ideal for newcomers.
The tour encompasses some of Verona’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, such as the well-preserved Roman Arena, the Scaliger Tombs, and the Lamberti Tower.
Also, consider taking on a food tour to understand local culture through their cuisine as a different option. Food tours are gaining popularity, and I suggest taking one if you have the time.
For a comprehensive overview of where to go this winter, read my Italy Christmas Markets guide, where you’ll find essential information to aid in planning your festive trip.
Christmas in Verona
This video gives an overview of the Verona Christmas Market. It gives a realistic depiction of what you can expect when visiting the market during winter.
Christmas Specialties in Verona
Pandoro: Originating from Verona, pandoro is a popular Christmas cake made from enriched dough. Often enjoyed with a dusting of icing sugar, it resembles a snowy mountain. You can buy pandoro in various sizes to suit your family gathering.
Nadalìn: This star-shaped cake is considered the older sibling of pandoro. Baked with a dense consistency, Nadalìn is a local treat that has a long history in Verona. Look for it in local patisseries near the Christmas market.
Offella: A luxury cake invented by Giovanni Battista Perbellini, Offella is a moist and aromatic cake you’ll encounter only in Verona. Typically, it is filled with almond paste or other rich fillings.
Pearà with Pork Sausage: This creamy sauce accompanies pork sausage and rustic bread. It’s a Veronese delicacy that’s perfect for a cold winter evening, usually served hot to keep you warm while exploring the market.
Vin Brulè: While mulled wine might not be unique to Verona, the local version, known as vin brulè, is definitely worth trying. It’s a hot drink made with red wine, spices, and citrus fruits, and you’ll often find it at various stalls around the market.
Craft Ales: Though not traditional Christmas fare, the availability of craft ales adds a modern twist to the market experience. Look out for locally brewed options to get a taste of Verona’s emerging craft beer scene.
Bretzels: A nod to the market’s connection with Nuremberg, bretzels are salty, twisted bread that pair well with the local ales. They add an international flavour to the market’s food offerings.
Bratwurst: Continuing the German theme, bratwurst sausages are grilled and served in a bun, usually with mustard or sauerkraut. These provide a quick and satisfying snack as you walk around.
Sausage Sandwiches: Simpler and more straightforward than their German cousins, these are popular snacks at the Verona Christmas market. Often served with a smear of mustard or ketchup, they are a go-to option for a quick bite.
Hot Chocolate: For those not inclined towards alcoholic beverages, hot chocolate provides a warm and comforting alternative. Rich and creamy, it’s a hit among visitors of all ages.
Confectionery: The market also features a range of sweets like candies and chocolates. While not unique to Verona, these add a universal appeal to the market’s food landscape.
Saint Lucy Sweets: Available around the Feast of Saint Lucy on 13 December, these sweets are specific to this feast and are eagerly awaited by the locals. Usually made from almonds, sugar, and egg whites, they make for an interesting regional find.
Cheese and Charcuterie: Local cheeses and cured meats are available from various vendors. While not specific to Christmas, these artisan products add a distinctly Italian flavour to the market’s offerings.
Christmas Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Ceramic Items: Verona has a long-standing tradition of ceramic making. Mugs, plates, and decorative items can be found in various designs and colours. These items give you an opportunity to take a piece of Veronese artistry back home.
Wooden and Woollen Items: Carvings and knitwear abound, often made from local wood and wool. Whether it’s a wooden figurine or a woollen scarf, these products offer a rustic charm that resonates with the local culture.
Luxury Chocolates: Though chocolates might not be unique to the Christmas market in Verona, the ones you’ll find here are exquisite. Local chocolatiers take immense pride in their creations, often featuring Italian ingredients like hazelnuts or espresso.
Liqueurs: Local spirits and liqueurs like grappa or limoncello from southern Italy are often available in beautifully designed bottles. These can serve as a premium gift or a delightful addition to your home bar.
Christmas Decorations: From handmade ornaments to intricately designed snow globes, you’ll find a variety of Christmas decorations that often incorporate Veronese motifs. They offer a unique way to remember your visit during future holiday celebrations.
Traditional Italian Foodstuffs: Beyond the sweets and meats, you’ll often find stalls selling high-quality olive oil, vinegar, and pasta. These make for excellent gifts for foodies or additions to your own pantry.
Books and Stationery: You can also find beautifully crafted notebooks, diaries, and books, often with covers made of high-quality Italian leather or intricate paper designs. These items make thoughtful gifts for the book lovers or writers in your life.
Veronese Icons and Miniatures: Look out for miniatures of Verona’s famous landmarks like the Arena or Juliet’s balcony. These serve as compact, easily transportable reminders of your time spent in this romantic city.
Musical Boxes: These items are particularly appealing to those who appreciate Verona’s operatic history. Designed to play some of the world’s most famous operas, these boxes are a sophisticated gift choice.
Children’s Toys: Handmade wooden toys or dolls dressed in traditional Italian clothing can be a hit with younger members of the family. These toys not only entertain but also offer a glimpse into local culture.
Things to Do in Winter
Discover the History of Pandoro: Verona is the birthplace of Pandoro, a popular Italian Christmas cake. Don’t miss the chance to taste its older ancestor, Nadalìn, as well as Offella, both available in local patisseries.
Explore Beyond the Main Squares: More stalls are found inside the former Hapsburg Arsenale and over the Ponte Castelvecchio and Ponte Pietra bridges. These locations also showcase traditional, artisan products.
Celebrate the Feast of Saint Lucy: This local festival on 13 December is a key tradition. Piazza Bra hosts a market full of sweets, toys, and gifts centred around a guiding star sculpture.
Attend Festive Events: Beyond markets, the city hosts a variety of events, including Christmas concerts, theatre shows, and the international exhibition of nativity scenes in the archways of the Arena, attracting a million visitors annually.
Close the Season with Epiphany Celebrations: The festivities end on 6 January with the “Brusa la vecia,” a traditional ceremony that involves burning a witch effigy in front of the Arena.
I suggest incorporating these activities into your holiday itinerary to make the most of your Christmas season in Verona.
For more information, you’ll find that Visit Verona is a handy resource with practical information for planning a trip to the city. Here’s a list of some of the most popular things to see to get you started.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Verona at Christmas.
Choose accommodation with renewable energy: When booking your hotel in Verona, consider properties that use renewable energy sources.
Reduce food waste: While trying out various culinary delights at the Christmas market, be mindful of portion sizes to prevent waste. If you find a portion too large, consider sharing it with a travel companion.
Ethical shopping: While shopping for souvenirs and gifts, give preference to locally made and fair-trade items. For example, purchasing local wines or ceramics from the Christmas market supports local businesses and reduces the carbon footprint associated with long-distance shipping.
Sustainable diets: Incorporate local and seasonal ingredients into your diet during your visit. Verona is rich in local produce, from its wines to its cheeses, and these will have a lower environmental impact compared to imported goods.
Sustainable transport: While in Verona, opt for public transport or cycling over car hire. The city’s bike-sharing system, Verona Bike, is an eco-friendly and fun way to explore, and Verona’s compact city centre is also very walkable.
The Verona Christmas Market dates are 24th November to 26th December 2023.
The Verona Christmas Market is held in Piazza dei Signori and Mercato Vecchio, in the heart of the city’s historic centre.
Verona Christmas Market opening times are Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 9.30pm. Friday and Saturday: 10am to 11pm. Christmas Eve: 10am to 5pm. Christmas Day: Closed.
Yes, Verona tends to be busy during Christmas, with locals and tourists flocking to the Christmas market and other festive events.
Yes, most restaurants and shops in Verona remain open during Christmas, although some may have reduced hours or be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
If you want to leave a Verona Xmas Market review, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Verona, Italy. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.