Christmas Market Magic in Bressanone

If you're looking for gift ideas, decorations, local handicrafts, festive food and wine and a cheerful holiday spirit, head to one of South Tyrol's five original Christmas markets (mercatini originali dell'Alto Adige). Recently opened on November 27, the five markets are held in the lovely towns of Bressanone, Vipiteno, Merano, Brunico and Bolzano until January 6. 

Last week, I headed to the Christmas market in Bressanone-Brixen, a town I love. Located 40 kilometers north of Bolzano and 45 kilometers south of the Brenner Pass, which marks the border with Austria, Bressanone is the cultural and artistic capital of the Isarco valley and the oldest town in the province, dating to at least 901. 

The Christmas market, which features 37 stalls, is held in the beautiful Cathedral Square, which is dominated by the two towers of the Cathedral, built in 980 AD. The current Baroque style was created in the 18th century after a fire had destroyed the Gothic-Romanesque building. It is South Tyrol's highest-ranking church. Stroll along the joyfully decorated stands displaying cribs, wood sculptures, hand-made ceramics, candles, glass balls, angels, Tyrolean Christmas items, food specialties of the Isarco valley, and more.

When you visit the Christmas market in Bressanone, don't miss the spectacular Soliman's Dream, a unique light and music show in the courtyard of the Hofburg Palace (every day at 5p, 6p, 7p until January 6). 

[Photos by Silvia Donati.]

Travel Tips
Bressanone - Brixen