Come to Milano for Christmas! Every year the Christmas spirit lights up the whole city for a month of events for everybody, from the major squares to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, from La Scala Theatre to the historical fashion and shopping stops.
On December 7th, when the City celebrates its holy patron, St. Ambrose, La Scala Theatre inaugurates its new season with a performance-event much to be talked about in the media of Giuseppe Verdi’s Attila, conducted by Riccardo Chailly and directed by Davide Livermore, a director and a light-designer guaranteeing originality. It will be possible to follow La Scala’s Opening Night in various theatres and public locations, including Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, where it will be shown live free, thanks to the Prima Diffusa project. Furthermore, for the whole week, many spots all over the city will resonate with the music of Attila, while there will be a choice of meetings, concerts and exhibitions on the subject of Verdi’s opera.
Milano has a special way to celebrate the coming of Christmas and that is the Advent’s Musical Calendar. Every December evening a surprise will meet the onlookers’ gaze on a palace in Piazza Duomo, a new surprise with each passing day until Christmas. This is of course not the only musical event at a time of the year that has its own exclusive soundtrack: among the many offers the traditional Christmas concert in the Cathedral, offered for free to citizens and visitors a few days before Christmas itself, featuring famous classical ensembles and choirs every year, and New Year’s Eve Celebration in Piazza Duomo, which has seen onstage, waiting for midnight, famous artists.
La Scala Theatre is open for the holidays and celebrates in the illustrious company of Vivaldi, Mozart and Verdi: two Christmas concerts on December 22 and 23 will be reserved for sacred music, while on December 31 Verdi arias will be performed by four great operatic singers .
Your shopping for Christmas
Milano is Italy’s privileged destination for shopping and in these days the choice gets even richer and caters to every taste: one can range between the luxury of fashion shopping in the Quadrilatero della Moda or Fashion District, between via Montenapoleone and via della Spiga, where the pret-à-porter brands are concentrated, to Milano’s Botteghe Storiche, where craftsmanship and quality are handed down generation after generation, and can be discovered walking through areas quite close to the city centre.
For those who love traditional Christmas markets, the Oh Bej, Oh Bej is back: for centuries it has offered visitors delicatessen, sweets, handicrafts and a hot cup of mulled wine – it is now held by the ramparts of the Castello Sforzesco.
Almost at the same time, on December 9th the Milano Rho Trade Fair exhibition grounds hosts L’Artigiano in Fiera (The Artisan at the Fair), the market – exhibition dedicated to Italian and international craft. Once there, it is impossible not to get lost among the various stands, looking for that last Christmas present or tasting food from all parts of Italy and most of the world. After the weekend the stalls will not disappear: that’s the moment in which new markets open across the whole city, starting with the one in Piazza del Duomo, around the cathedral.
Taste the Milanese Christmas
Christmas in Italy means panettone, the not-to-be-missed typical cake well-liked all over the world. It has been reserved a special celebration, and in 2017 the largest handmade panettone ever (2 meters high and 140 kilos) was portioned out to 1200 persons in the Galleria. Rumors say that we'll have an even bigger one in 2018... Come and see (and taste, of course!) for yourself!
Your Christmas in art
For the eleventh year in a row, Palazzo Marino (the City Hall) hosts for the whole Christmas period an artistic masterpiece on loan from an Italian museum – it can be visited free of charge. This year it will be Perugino’s Adoration of the Three Wise Men, a Renaissance masterpiece from Umbria’s National Gallery. Umbria will also lend to Milano a beautiful traditional crib scene on display at Palazzo Marino.
There’s no shortage of great temporary exhibitions at Palazzo Reale either: Picasso, Metamorphosis, in which Picasso’s works converse with classics of ancient art on loan from collections across the world and Carlo Carrà, one of the Italian 20th-century masters, on his journey from Futurism to Metaphysical Art and beyond.