Sunday, December 2, 2012

Verona: The Town of Romeo & Juliet Wears a German Frock for Natale in Piazza

Glass ornaments at Verona's Christmas Market
Yesterday the air turned crisp, and in the distance I could see the Dolomites had been dusted with the season’s first fallen snow. December and winter had arrived in Veneto and, as the saying goes, It began to feel a lot like Christmas. So, we put on our coats, hats and gloves, hopped in the car and drove to Verona where, for the 4th consecutive year and until December 21st, the town known for Juliet’s balcony will wear a more German-style frock.

Christmas Decorations at Christkindlmarket, Verona
In coordination with the community of Nuremburg, Verona’s elegant passageways and piazzas have been lined with typical Alpine wood huts and stands selling artisan Christmas decorations, wood and ceramic gift items, herbal teas, warm and fuzzy winter slippers, scarfs, hats and earmuffs, dried fruit dipped in dark chocolate, jarred gherkin pickles, fruit jams and horseradish. And, as if all that wasn't enough, there are at least a half-a-dozen food stands sending off the titillating scent and sizzle of grilled bratwurst sausages, fried potatoes and sauerkraut. Nearby, beer and vin brulé kiosks abut tiny—standing room only—café tables where even the most disciplined dieter can’t refuse a pause from perusing the gift stands to warm up with a cup of steaming spiced-wine or bite into a hot sausage sandwich chased down with a glass of golden German brew.

The Nutcracker standing guard
I feel safe to say, judging by the languages I heard crowding the poetic surroundings, that the ‘Christkindlmarkt is an international event. I turned more than once to hear fellow Americans—maybe tourists, maybe residents—praising the red, gold, green or white glass tree ornaments. A group of Brits enjoyed smelling the spicy, fruity scents of loose leaf tea before picking their favorite to take home. The Italians seemed intent on checking off a few gifts from their Christmas shopping lists. And the Germans proudly mixed, stirred and turned their gastronomic delicacies over hot, steaming stoves.

It was a delightful winter afternoon spent in beautiful surroundings, and thanks to the Bauli pasticceria group—Italy’s foremost maker of panettone and pandoro—Verona has a Christmas tree or two that easily compete with some of the more famous trees back in the States.

So, if stepping toward the holidays in an international setting entices you, I suggest you put Verona’s Christmas market on your things to do list.  I’m glad I did.         
Christmas Star falling outside the Arena in Piazza Bra, Verona, Italy


  1. How lovely! I wish I were in Italy and could go to Verona too! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful piece.

  2. Julianne,
    I wish you could, too! Perhaps you can make plans; December is on the calendar for next year, too!

  3. Oh, how I wish I was there. Thanks so much for sharing...

    1. It's my pleasure, Maxine. I hope, someday, you're able to visit Verona for the holidays.

  4. Replies
    1. Hi, Lindy Lou.
      Any nice Christmas markets we should know about in your part of Italy?

  5. Nice to see the Christmas star falling from this angle. I regularly view a Verona webcam that shows it from another.

  6. I love it! Thank you for sharing.. i just can't wait to travel. :)

  7. The markets are the one thing that really make me feel like it is Christmas here in Italy! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. Hi, Anna.
      They do make it a bit more special. Enjoy the holidays!