Nowadays I’m pretty satisfied with Padova, but when I was a teenager I longed to live in Verona instead. First of all I liked very much opera and plus Verona had many interesting shops and delicious restaurants. Padova was more provincial. So I’m always happy to go in Verona and enjoy its atmosphere. This time the occasion was provided by Verona Christmas markets. I had heard many people talking about the beauty of these markets so I wanted to see in person! At my arrival Verona looked more gorgeous than ever. The sun intensifyed the bright colours of the façades in Piazza Bra (the main square, in which you can find the Arena). The only flaw was the “fried smell” in the air, due to the donuts kiosks.
Verona Christmas markets
To find the actual Verona Christmas markets we walked through via Mazzini and reached Piazza delle Erbe. After having gazed open-mouthed the amazing buildings all around the square, you have to go beyond the arch under the Lamberti Tower. And there you are in Piazza dei Signori, suddenly catapulted into the Christmas atmosphere with kiosks selling everything: warm slippers, chocolates in the shape of hearts, tree decorations, mulled wine, soaps, plants, cheese, knick-knacks, Santas of all kinds, scarves, herbal teas, garlands, teddy bears and most of all those funny plush baby hats with bear/dog/cat ears that my husband terms “illegal and outlawed” because they make children look too adorable and cuddly.
The location is stunning, and I appreciated the idea to create some sort of “close market”, actually enclosed within a square (Piazza dei Signori) and the courtyard of the Town Hall. In Padova the Christmas market is not located in one restricted area but there are kiosks here and there along the main streets and squares of the historic centre. So “Christmas is all around us”, and that reminds me of Bill Nighy in Love Actually (ah ah ah). In Verona, on the contrary, there’s this unique space entirely dedicated to Christmas markets where you can also admire beautiful buildings: Palazzo della Ragione, Loggia del Consiglio, Palazzo del Podestà, Arche Scaligere.
But there’s a but. The items are more or less the same you can find in Padova or in other similar festive markets. I even found a stand of Käthe Wohlfahrt, the famous German Christmas shop chain. I visited their huge Rothenburg ob der Tauber shop in August. So, the items are beautiful and sometimes (nearly always actually) expensive but not so original, not unique, and not typically Italian. We found a better market at Cison di Valmarino but I’ll talk about it in another post. Anyway, Verona is so beautiful that the markets are just an “extra” thing to visit during this period. And, as I said previously, the location is stunning and it is worth a visit per se.