When the classic "bridge" arrives, in Italian schools and work offices we witness scenes of magnificent collective euphoria. Of all the bridges, one is particularly appreciated: the Immaculate Conception, a very pleasant "anticipation" of the Christmas holidays. For us obsessed with travel, the bridge is a succulent opportunity to organize a wonderful lightning holiday. But the question is: where to go? A weekend in a European capital is an idea that fascinates, but considering the limited time available, perhaps it would be better to focus on the pearls of the area, destinations at 0 km or almost ... Here are our suggestions, the most stimulating ideas to spend a weekend of relaxation and fun.
1 - Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige
It is a particularly rich city of art, history and culture. On the occasion of the Immaculate Conception and the approach of the holidays, they are set up delicious Christmas markets. On the stalls you can find a bit of everything, come on typical products to wooden toys, from clothing to gastronomy. Walking through the streets of the center it is possible to give look at the stalls but also to the beautiful monuments, sipping mulled wine.
Finally, around 850 km of ski slopes are available in the surroundings of Trento, with various ski areas served by almost 300 ski lifts, such as Paganella Ski (Get directions) and the Pejo ski area (Get directions).
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2 - Bressanone (BZ), Trentino-Alto Adige
In South Tyrol the tradition of Christmas markets it is active almost everywhere, and Bressanone is among the most famous and chosen by visitors. The typical stalls are set up in the central Piazza Duomo and offer many handicrafts and food and wine delicacies. Not only the market but also many activities such as guided tours of the Cathedral, tour of the city in a carriage, a traditional and characteristic exhibition of nativity scenes at the Bishop's Palace and the typical Krampus parade.
But for a winter weekend with all the trimmings, you cannot avoid go for a nice ski in the Plose area, easily accessible by ski bus. Ideal slopes for families, various snowshoeing itineraries and even an amusement park await you!
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3 - Merano (BZ), Trentino-Alto Adige
Merano is the right destination for a different weekend than usual, especially on the occasion of this holiday close to Christmas. It is one of the most attractive places on the Peninsula, especially when it comes to famous Christmas market which takes place in the splendid historic center. The over 80 exhibitors will make local products, typical handicrafts, Christmas decorations and wooden objects available to visitors.
Merano offers several things to see and do: it also has an excellent ski area (Merano 2000 - Get directions) and above all of one spa establishment (Get directions) cutting edge particularly appreciated; in short, everything you need for a weekend of traditions, sport and relaxation!
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4 - Aosta, Aosta Valley
The tradition of Christmas markets continues also in the Aosta Valley. At the regional capital the Marché Vert Noël is a real Christmas village, set up near the suggestive setting of the Roman Theater. It is considered one of the most beautiful of its kind and consists of about 50 chalets where you can buy local products, handicrafts and gastronomic specialties. Also in Aosta, on the occasion of the Immaculate Conception, every year events, shows, demonstrations by local artisans are organized, as well as evocative performances of Christmas choirs and entertainment for children.
After enjoying the classic Christmas atmosphere, take advantage of the rest of the weekend to visit wonderful places such as the Roman Theater, the Arch of Augusta and Porta Pretoria, but also the Forte di Bard and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. And if there is time left, that the center of Aosta is directly connected to the Pila ski resort, reachable in just 18 minutes by cable car (Get directions)!
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5 - Turin, Piedmont
Turin wins the title of one of the most interesting cities of northern Italy, thanks to the great artistic and cultural heritage, the beautiful squares and the rich availability of museums. With Christmas at the gates, the Savoy city acquires an even more magical light, thanks to the markets, by giant Advent calendar installed in Piazza Castello and in the Santa Claus Village at the Reggia di Venaria Reale.
But above all, in the month of December Turin shines again with its "Artist's Lights", a real open-air contemporary art exhibition that every year illuminates the squares and streets from the center to the suburbs.
In short, the month of December is an excellent time to visit the city that made the history of united Italy. From the Mole Antonelliana to the Egyptian Museum, take advantage of the bridge to admire the most beautiful attractions of Turin.
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6 - Genoa, Liguria
Spending a few days in Genoa can be an excellent starting point for a family to try out different activities: visit the Aquarium, the City of Children, the Millo building, Porta Siberia and the Cotton Warehouses which, for the occasion, they will dress up in full Christmas spirit.
As for the Genoa aquarium, various Christmas activities are planned. On the weekend of the Immaculate Conception, along the guided tour, Santa Claus will be present to collect the letters of the children. Also along the path, there will also be several trees that every child can decorate with a drawing of their favorite fish. Finally, on the occasion of the Immaculate Conception weekend, the "night with sharks", or a nocturnal visit to the Aquarium with the setting up of camp beds overlooking the shark tank for overnight stays in a sleeping bag.
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7 - Milan, Lombardy
Staying in Italy but breathing more Europe, you can opt for Milan, where the party begins as early as 7 December, the day in which Sant'Ambrogio, the patron saint, is remembered. La Scala season opens, the first is attended by many VIPs; in front of the Castello Sforzesco the traditional and ancient fair of Oh Bej Oh Bej takes place, with many typical stalls offering handicrafts, gift items and delicacies. Let's not forget a little shopping for Christmas.
Finally, don't forget to visit the attractions of Milan, and especially its symbol: the Duomo. You can admire the city illuminated by Christmas lights from the top of its terrace by purchasing the special entrance ticket online.
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8 - Asiago (VI), Veneto
In this location, in addition to browsing among the Christmas market stalls and watch the lighting of the Christmas tree with the cascade of fireworks, you can dedicate yourself to winter sports on the slopes of the plateau. Like any self-respecting mountain resort, even here there is no shortage of spas and wellness centers dedicated to those who prefer to relax.
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9 - Terme di Saturnia, Saturnia (GR), Tuscany
We move to Tuscany, this time in the famous Terme di Saturnia, an ideal destination to spend a relaxing holiday on the Immaculate Conception. In the area there are several thermal springs, but the best known are the "Cascate del Mulino", or the natural pools of sulphurous water with a constant temperature of 37,5 ° C gushing from the ground near an old mill, giving away one paradisiacal scenery in the Grossetana Maremma.
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10 - Terme di Stigliano, Canale Monterano (RM), Lazio
A few kilometers from the capital, located in the municipality of Canale Monterano, are the Stigliano thermal baths (Get directions), an ideal retreat for those who intend escape from the city without going too far. Known since ancient times for their precious waters, the thermal baths are surrounded by suggestive vegetation and the tranquility of the countryside. a real escape from the chaos for a couple of days of pure relaxation.
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11 - Isernia, Molise
In the days of the Immaculate Conception in Isernia the National White Truffle Fair. The event is organized by the Province and is known nationally but also internationally, it aims to make the general public known and enhance this excellent product of the Molise area, the Tuber Magnatum Pico. Why not take advantage of a few days of vacation to taste the fragrant and precious product?
Beyond the fair, Isernia has several attractions to admire such as the Fontana Fraterna, the National Museum of the Paleolithic, the Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo and the Museum of Santa Maria delle Monache.
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12 - Naples, Campania
A city of indisputable charm but also known for its strong contrasts, Naples at this time of the year is permeated by a cheerful atmosphere enriched with Christmas lights. At Spaccanapoli, the road that cuts the city in a straight line "splitting" it in two, it is possible to admire historic buildings and ancient churches, breathing his most authentic heart. Do not miss the Via dei Cribs, San Gregorio Armeno, where there are the famous artisan workshops of nativity scenes.
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13 - Salerno, Campania
Every year the city of Salerno lights up thanks at the event called Luci d'Artista, very similar to the one held in Turin. Already in November, these particular light installations take place in the city, giving the Christmas period a unique and magical atmosphere, attracting thousands of visitors.
Ponte dell'Immocolata could be an excellent opportunity to visit the city of Salerno, which boasts interesting attractions such as the Arechi Castle, the Maritime Station and the Duomo. For more information on what to see and what to do in Salerno, we suggest you read this article.
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14 - Trapani and Erice, Sicily
We move to Sicily, where we find Trapani with its surroundings. It is an ideal destination for the Immaculate Conception thanks to the rich program of initiatives cultural and entertainment activities which includes exhibitions of artistic nativity scenes, concerts and characteristic musical parades, not only in the historic center of the city, but also in other nearby locations such as delicious Erice, the "Country of Nativity Scenes", where the annual Ericènatale festival is held.
Also in the surroundings of Trapani is the village of Custonaci famous for the evocative living nativity scene organized inside the Mangiapane Cave, which every year attracts tourists from all over Sicily and the rest of Italy.
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15 - Catania and Etna Park, Sicily
Still in Sicily, but this time on the eastern side, it is located one of the most underrated winter destinations in Italy. We are talking about the Etna Park, in the province of Catania.
On the slopes of the largest active volcano in Europe are the so-called "Etna villages", pretty villages such as Trecastagni and Zafferana Etnea that are certainly worth a visit.
Obviously there is no shortage of ski resorts, like that of Piano Provenzana in Linguaglossa (Get directions) and Nicolosi (Get directions). Finally, it is impossible not to mention the capital Catania, a city of immense Baroque charm and commercial center of Sicily thanks to the presence of the Sicilia Outlet Village (located on the border with the province of Enna, Get directions) a real shopping village perfect for Christmas purchases.
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