Christmas in Verona

The giant iron Christmas comet on the Arena amphitheater

In addition to the famous exhibition of nativity scenes, there are many things to do in Verona for Christmas. It is a period full of initiatives and events that make the city an important tourist destination for visits and trips all throughout the month of December.

Streets and squares are decorated with charming illuminations and large Christmas trees that create a magical atmosphere.
For organized groups, families with children, individual travelers visiting Verona for the Christmas markets or for the exhibition of nativity scenes, a guided tour with Verona tour guides can become a perfect part of a beautiful day in company.

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International Christmas Cribs Exhibition

Since 1984, Verona has been the location of the International Christmas Crib Exhibition, which displays hundreds of works of every kind, size and origin. The exhibition is set up inside the arches and galleries of the Arena, a scenario that evokes the atmosphere of the Nativity, according to tradition occurred in a cave or a stable. The skilful play of lights and music creates an evocative atmosphere in which to immerse oneself in the Christmas period.

A Christmas crib in the exhibition of Verona

The exhibition of nativity scenes in Verona is held every year from early December to late January. Dates may vary from year to year. The exhibition venue is the Arena of Verona, but there have been occasions when, due to restoration or unavailability, the exhibition has been transferred to the palazzo della Gran Guardia).

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Arena Comet

The symbol of Verona's nativity scene exhibition is the famous Arena Comet: an immense steel structure painted white. The tail rests on the Roman amphitheater and extends in an arc over Piazza Bra where the star is set.

The Star of Verona was conceived to indicate the entrance to the exhibition of nativity scenes just as the comet indicated the place of Christ's birth to the Three Wise Men.
It should have been mounted only for the first edition of the exhibition, and even if it initially aroused a lot of criticism for its modern and unusual shape, the people of Verona soon became fond of its presence and it was decided to mount it every year. Today it is the most important symbol of Christmas in Verona.
Verona's comet was designed by architect Rinaldo Olivieri. The material for its realization was donated by the Veronese iron and steel company Manni.

The Construction of The Comet

It is about 40 meters high, with a weight of about 80 tons. One of the most powerful cranes in Europe is used to assemble it. Miniature copies have been given to Pope John Paul II, Gorbachev and Reagan, who used it as a symbol of peace and brotherhood in the world during an end-of-year message to the nation.

The Nativity Exhibtion

Every year, the exhibition displays around 400 nativity scenes. There are numerous examples from the Italian regional tradition, first and foremost the Neapolitan one. They are installations rich in characters, settings, surrounding scenes and mechanical movements, in which to lose oneself in imagination and wonder.

One of the nativity scene in the exhibition of Verona

Then there are the more modern and artistic realizations, the result of imagination and creativity. The shapes and materials used are the most varied.
. A large section is devoted to international nativity scenes from every continent. The faces, the clothing of the characters and the settings have a distinctly exotic flavor. A large section is devoted to dioramas, real three-dimensional tableaux with refined perspective effects that illustrate the journey to the birth of Jesus, from the Annunciation to the journey to Bethlehem.

The exhibition is different every year. The selection of works and the layout is constantly changing. All the more reason to spend at least one day in Verona every year at Christmas time.

Nuremberg Christmas Market

Since 2007, thanks to an agreement with the city of Nuremberg, from the beginning of December until Boxing Day, Verona hosts a real German Christmas market.

German style doll at the Nuremberg market in Verona

In the enchanting Piazza dei Signori, adorned with Christmas lights and decorations, you will find Nordic handicrafts: felt and woolen accessories, decorated candles, wooden toys, decorations made of natural materials, and you can refresh yourself with wurstel, sauerkraut, pretzels, hot wine.

In recent years, beside the Nuremberg markets in Piazza dei Signori additional stalls with decorations, delicacies and gift ideas of local production in the neighboring squares increased the Chrismas offer. You will find them in cortile Mercato Vecchio, cortile del Tribunale, piazza Indipendenza. The Christmas markets in Piazza dei Signori are in addition to the ever-present stalls in the nearby Piazza Erbe.

Saint Lucia Markets

St. Lucia market in Bra square, Verona

According to tradition, the children of Verona, rather than Santa Claus or Baby Jesus, receive gifts from Santa Lucia.
Once upon a time, near Piazza Bra (the Arena square), there was a church dedicated to Santa Lucia, protector of the eyes. On December 13, the day of Santa Lucia, mothers would bring their young children early in the morning to have their eyes blessed in the church. As a vow to the saint, despite the cold winter weather, the children had to be barefoot. In order to convince their children, who certainly did not go willingly, the mothers promised them sweets and a gifts once they had fulfilled their duty.
The merchants and street vendors did not miss the opportunity, and early on the day of Santa Lucia, they set up stalls in Piazza Bra, right on the way to the church.

The Santa Lucia market in Piazza Bra was in the past a moment of great excitement for the children of Verona, who could see and dream of getting toys and sweets. Berto Barbarani, the great Veronese dialectal poet, celebrated its atmosphere and emotions in one of his famous poems.
Today, almost a century later, the goods on display at the Santa Lucia market in Verona have changed a lot, but the atmosphere in Piazza Bra is still the same. The Santa Lucia stalls are set up in the days between 10 and 13 December, around the time of Santa Lucia
. To the children of Verona, Santa Lucia still brings games and sweets. It is a tradition, on the evening of December 12, to leave on the kitchen table something to eat for Santa Lucia and some straw for the donkey on which the saint arrives.


You can't talk about Christmas in Verona without mentioning Pandoro. By now it is universally considered a typically Italian Christmas cake, but in reality its origins are in Verona.

The brith of a legend: from Nadalin to Pandoro

Nadalin cake with the typical star shape in a pastry shop in Verona

In the past, Verona's main Christmas dessert was the Nadalin, a sort of star-shaped sweet bread covered in icing and almonds.
In recent years, in the wake of tradition, many pastry shops in Verona have begun to offer Nadalin again as a Christmas dessert.

The legend has it that the bakers of a confectionery laboratory in Verona forgot some Nadalins in the leavening room. When they realized this mistake, the dough had already risen excessively. They did not want to throw everything away and they baked it anyway without bothering to add icing and almonds. The result was extraordinary. The Nadalin had retained its characteristic star shape, but had grown in height and was much softer and more fragrant. The pastry shop decided to repeat "the mistake" every year. The Pandoro was born.


The pastry shop was obviously Melegatti. We do not know how much truth there is in the legend, but Mr. Domenico Melegatti, the owner of the company, in 1894 obtained the patent to produce exclusively the Pandoro.
. The shape was given by characteristic moulds designed by the Veronese painter Angelo Dall'Oca Bianca, one of the most important artists of Verona at the turn of the century.
The historical headquarters of Melegatti was in Corso Porta Borsari, in the heart of the city. The success of Pandoro was such that stone sculptures in the shape of Pandoro were placed on top of the building as decoration.

The Pastry Industrial District of Verona

Melegatti with time has become a great industrial company. Its TV commercials of the '80s became famous and its products can be found all over Italy and abroad. The historic confectionery company was then joined by others and today Verona is the international capital of cakes and pastry for celebrations, with a real industrial district that produces most of the Pandoro, Panettone, Colombe Pasquali (Easter cakes), etc. that you find on supermarket shelves.
The ability to manage peaks in the supply of raw materials, production and distribution in the space of a few months, are the subject of study at international management universities.

Info & Bookings:

+39 333 2199 645 P.I. 03616420232 C.F. CPPMHL74L13L781C

+39 333 2199 645