Christmas in Milan

Christmas in Milan

The Advent and Christmas season in Milana city known worldwide for its elegance and style, exudes a very special magic. During these weeks, the fashion metropolis is transformed into a winter wonderland where tradition and modernity merge in a unique way.

Christmas and the Advent season envelops city life in a contemplative atmosphere. The streets and squares shine in festive splendor, sparkling fairy lights and magnificent Christmas decorations make the city's architecture shine in a new light. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the oldest shopping arcades in the world, is particularly eye-catching with its glittering canopy of lights and elaborate decorations.

Christmas in Milan, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Italy

Christmas in Milan: Christmas and New Year decorations at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (1877) - one of the oldest shopping centers in the world. (photo ©

The big Christmas trees in Milan

Extraordinary Christmas trees complete the magical atmosphere: the large tree in Piazza Duomo, for example, shines in all its glory and illuminates everything around it with its decorations and lights. The trees in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Piazza della Scala and Piazza Duca d'Aosta follow suit.

Don't miss the Christmas lights in Milan's luxury shopping street Via Montenapoleone, where the designer stores compete with each other with their exquisite window displays. A stroll through this street is a real feast for the eyes and the perfect opportunity to buy a few top-class Christmas presents.


The Advent market Oh Bej! Oh Bej!

The "Oh Bej! Oh Bej!" is a central part of the Advent season in Milan and is celebrated in honor of Saint Ambrose, the city's patron saint. This traditional event, whose name comes from the Milanese dialect and means "So beautiful!", begins every year on December 7, the eve of the feast of St. Ambroseand lasts several days. Visitors can discover a wide variety of products, including antiques, food, confectionery and handicrafts typical of the countries from which the exhibitors come, at the numerous stalls set up around the Castello Sforzesco and organized by region of origin.

The tradition of "Oh Bej!" dates back to 1510, when Giannetto Castiglioni was sent to Milan by Pope Pius IV to inspire the faithful. O Bej, O Bej" shouted the little Milanese at the sight of the gifts brought to the city, and this joyful greeting has survived to this day in the name of the festival.

Oh Bej!, Castello Sforzesco, Christmas Milan, Milan, Italy

Christmas in Milan: Castello Sforzesco with the Oh Bej! Oh Bej! Market in the foreground. (photo ©

The Christmas markets in Milan

During the Advent season, Milan transforms into a Mecca for Christmas market lovers, and the "Il Mercatino di Natale" is an integral part of the festive atmosphere. The famous market in Piazza Duomo, directly in front of the imposing Milan Cathedral, traditionally opens its doors on December 8. Surrounded by a huge, festively illuminated Christmas tree, visitors can immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere and browse the numerous stalls. From handmade nativity figures and warm woolly hats to artistic, handmade jewelry, everything the heart desires is on offer. Of course, the sweet temptations of Italy such as panettone and torrone, which are among the culinary highlights of the Christmas season, are not to be missed.

These markets, which are open until the end of the Christmas season, are a vibrant part of Milan's cultural life. They are not only places of commerce, but also places of encounter, where past and present meet in the pre-Christmas joy, creating a unique atmosphere that attracts visitors from all over the world. In this sense, the Christmas markets around the Duomo offer a perfect fusion of commercial liveliness and traditional contemplation, making them an unforgettable experience for locals and tourists alike.

Finnish and German Christmas market

At the end of November, the Christmas atmosphere in Via dei Marchi will once again be enriched by stalls selling Finnish handicrafts and culinary specialties as well as the stalls of the German Christmas market. In the afternoon, children can listen to the story of Santa's gnomes and take part in Christmas card-making workshops.

Christmas Milan, Cathedral, Christmas tree, Italy

Christmas in Milan: Milan Cathedral with Christmas tree, Italy (photo ©

The Advent season in Milan is also a special experience for music lovers. The historic La Scala, one of the most famous opera houses in the world, traditionally opens its season on December 7. A ticket for a performance at La Scala is a coveted commodity and a unique experience that will remain in your memory.

Christmas in Milan would not be complete without attending mass in one of the city's many magnificent churches. Milan's Duomo, the city's cathedral, is particularly impressive. Here you can attend a midnight mass, which offers a deeply spiritual experience with its choral singing and solemn ceremonies.

A special experience for children and families is a visit to Castello Sforzesco, where a large ice rink has been set up. Surrounded by the historic walls of the castle, young and old can pirouette and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Culinary delights should not be neglected during the Christmas season in Italy. In addition to panettone, the traditional Milanese Christmas cake, its relative pandoro and the regional specialty ossobuco are also very popular. In the city's numerous cafés and restaurants, visitors can be enchanted by the Christmas cuisine.

At the turn of the year, the big New Year's Eve party takes place in Piazza Duomo, attracting thousands of locals and tourists. With live music, impressive fireworks and an exuberant atmosphere, the old year is bid farewell and the new one welcomed.

The Advent and Christmas season in Milan is a time of joy, light and community. The city so often associated with fashion and design shows a different side: warm, welcoming and full of traditional Christmas wonders. Here you can experience the magic of Christmas in all its facets, from cultural events to culinary delights and festive markets.

The lights are lit in Milan and preparations for the Christmas festivities are underway in many parts of the city. With a special journey through the Christmas spirit in Milan, this magical time of the year, we take you to the most interesting corners of the capital and to the events you should not miss.


Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Italy

Christmas in Milan: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Italy

Christmas in Milan - culinary traditions

We cannot conclude this overview of Milanese traditions without mentioning the most typical dishes: Legend has it that panettone, the most famous Italian Christmas cookie, was invented in Milan by a careless kitchen boy in the service of Ludovico il Moro, whose name has survived over the centuries. The "Pan de Toni" has been made and eaten throughout Italy for centuries, but when tasted and bought in the most famous pastry shops of its native city, it has a completely different taste.

In this context, I recommend a visit to the refined "Cova" pastry shop, a sort of panettone temple from the 1930s, where the delicious dessert is sold in a truly elegant package, or to "Bianco Latte", a warm and welcoming place. Or at the Martesana pastry shop, characterized by a modern style and a pastry shop of the highest quality, where, under the motto "with your hands, with time, with your heart", the traditional dessert is reinterpreted and offered in an infinite number of flavors. Take your time and discover Christmas in Milan in all its facets!

Naviglio Grande, Christmas time in Milan, Italy

Christmas in Milan: The waterway of the Naviglio Grande canal in Milan (Italy) with Christmas lights. This district is famous for its restaurants, cafés, pubs and nightlife. (photo ©


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