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Italy in November for Festivals, Events, Christmas Markets

Italy in November is cold, and the wind is biting. However, there is still plenty going on as you will see from the festivals, markets and events taking place around the country.

November is also the time when Italy has its Christmas Fairs and Markets. An ideal time to stock up on those Christmas presents and score a bargain or two while you are out and about.

On the 1st November it is All Saint's Day, a public holiday throughout the whole of the Italy. This means that if you are staying in a small town or village most of the shops will be closed. However, it also means that you will be compensated for street processions and local celebrations to mark the event.

If you are in Puglia in November, head for Orsara and see their celebrations for Halloween that they have been celebrating for more than 1000 years. Details below.

However, due to the cold most resorts now close down until April, except for a few year-round resorts, such as Taormina and some towns along the Italian Riviera.

Although hotel accommodation in cities like Florence, Rome and Milan have no off-season, from November through to March you will be able to get good travel deals off hotel rooms in places like Venice, Sorrento and Capri. We managed to book a hotel room in Venice with a canal view for a third of the summer published price just because it was at the end of November, beginning of December. So there are definitely good deals to be had during this month.

Events for Italy in November

Lucca Comics and Games, Tuscany (1-4 November 2012)
Lucca Comic and Games Convention

One of the major events in Italy in November is the Lucca Comics and Games. This is when the historic center of Lucca comes alive with people thronging to the town to see the gaming convention.

You will see people walking around in their favorite comic costume and we were surprised at the age group - it is not for the kids, this is an adults-only meet for big kids!

Come and test your gaming skills with the multi-player tournaments, including board games.

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 13:00  and  15:30-19:30
Sat: 9:00 - 13:00 and 15:30-19:30

For further information on the event:

Rome International Film Festival, Lazio (9-17 November 2012)

Rome International Film Festival This year at the Rome International Film Festival there are going to be 59 world premieres and 5 international premieres which promises to be a spectacular event.

The films are being showed in various cinemas throughout Rome, and tickets can be purchased from € 3-25 depending on the film and the venue. However, if you are wanting to buy passes to the event these will set you back a couple of hundred euros.

If you want to do some star spotting then head down to the major red carpet event and see who you can spot. James Franco, Sylvester Stallone, Bill Murray, Jude Law, and Adrien Brody are on the cards to be attending this prestigious event.
See the official Rome International Film Festival website for more details.

Bologna Jazz Festival, Emilia Romagna (15-25 November 2012)

Bologna Jazz Festival 2012The Bolagna Jazz Festival is an important musical event for Bologna that has been taking place every year for more than 80 years now. You can buy tickets for the performances that take place at the Teatro delle Celebrazioni. Neighboring towns and villages also get in on the act and host other events and celebrations too, so making it an interesting place to base yourself during this time in November if you are in Emilia Romagna.

Highlights this year include Brad Mehldau, Chick Corea, Jim Hall Trio and John McLauglin.

See for more details.

Tornino Film Festival, Turin Piedmont (23 November - 1st December 2012)

Torino Film Festival 2012This year the Torino Film Festival focuses on the lifetime work of accomplished filmmaker Joseph Losey. Although 37 of his best films will be featured, there will also be works of other accomplished filmmakers whose work will be showcased, including Dustin Hoffman's first film as director; Quartet.

If you enjoy the cinema, and like films that are not always mainstream, then you will thoroughly enjoy this annual event.

See for details.

Florence Marathon, Tuscany (25 November 2012)

Florence MarathonCross the River Arno and head up to Piazzale Michelangelo for the start of the Florence Marathon. Follow the race as it courses throughout the beautiful city of Florence before it finally ends at the Piazza Santa Croce.

If you would like to compete there is an entrance fare of € 70 and you can still apply online to enter this 29th Florence Marathon. After the race, if you have the energy, there is the After Marathon Party where you can enjoy typical Tuscan food, along with music and dancing.

See for details.

Traditional Festivals for Italy in November

Orsara di Puglia Halloween, Puglia (1 November, 2012)

Orsara Puglia Halloween on All Saint's Day In Orsara, Puglia Halloween is not celebrated on the 31st October, like the rest of the world. Instead they celebrate Halloween on the first day of November. This celebration has been taking place in Orsara for more than 1000 years.

Here, the celebration is more focused on the dead for All Saints' Day, although there are pumpkins involved, including a competition for the best pumpkin. Jugglers and fire eaters take part in street processions. From 7:00 p.m. the lights of the town are switched off and bells are rung to signal that it is time to light the fires to guide the dead souls.  

People gather around the bonfires and cook sausages, steaks and chestnuts and offered to anyone who wants to share. Food and wine is also left on street corners for the dead who will also need to eat.

See the Orsara Website for more details.

Bonfire Festival, Scanno, Abruzzo (10 November 2012)

Bonfires at Scanno, ItalyThe Bonfire Festival is quite spectacular. 3 neighborhoods compete with each other to see who can build the best and biggest bonfire. Bonfires are built, some reaching 60 feet high, and the aim is for all 3 groups to get their bonfires to be lit at the same time so that judging can begin.

The bonfires are built to the memory of St. Martin and can be seen from the center of Scanno, as well as across to the surrounding hills.

Gioco dell'Oca, Mirano Veneto (10-11 November 2012)

Mirano human snakes and ladders.10If you travel to Italy in November there is the Gioco dell'Oca which is rather a fun festival to watch. It is a life size game similar to snakes and ladders  but played in a square that takes place in the town of Mirano to honor St. Martin.

Contestants from the 6 neighborhoods compete to see who will win the games. Participants climb ladders, and instead of snakes, climb over live geese as well as overcoming other obstacles. It is most amusing to watch their antcis and we recommend this for people traveling with kids.

There is lots of fun to be had as there are also street processions, jugglers and music.


Festa della Salute, Venice Italy (21 November 2012)

Lighting candles for the Festa Madonna della Salute, Venice Italy10 The Festa Madonna della Salute is a feast held in honor of the Virgin Mary in memory of the end of the plague of 1630.

A votive bridge, spanning 264ft from the side of the Gritti Place Hotel over the Grand Canal to a narrow lane beside the medieval church of San Gregorio allows thousands to cross the water on the day, to give thanks at the church and to light a candle.

Venetians prepare a customary dish of castradina, from a traditional mutton-based recipe for this feast.

You will also be able to browse through the wares on offer at the fair that takes place after the event.

Food Festivals Italy in November 2012

Nougat Toronne Fair, Cremona (16, 17, 18 November 2012)

Pieces of nougat from the Toronne Fair, Cremona Italy.The Nougat Fair in Cremona, known locally as the Festa del Torrone is for all those with a sweet tooth. I don't know about you, but I am rather partial to nougat, especially that made in Cremona.

Come to Italy in November and sample and buy this delicious sweet made traditionally from egg whites, honey, sugar and nuts.
With this 3 day event you will also be entertained by street processions with the locals in medieval costume and where you can also watch flag throwing displays. See for more details.

Merano Wine Festival, South Tyrol (10-12 November 2012)

Wine bottles from the Merano Wine Festival.Merano, South Tyrol hosts a very popular wine festival that aims to showcase only the best of Italian and International wines. This is also the place where you can see and taste organic and biodynamic wines.

Last year there were 5,000 registered participants, over 400 Italian wine makers, over 120 International wine makers, 100 artisans of taste and 300 accredited journalists. So if you are a wine lover, this is the place to be.

See for more details.

San Miniato Truffle Fair, Tuscany (10-11, 17-18, 24-25 November 2012)

San Miniato Truffle Fair
The San Miniato Truffle Fair, La Sagra del Tartufo Bianco, in Tuscany is held on the second, third and fourth weekends in November. This is a food festival that celebrates the white truffle.  San Miniato produces 25 % of Italy's truffles, so this is an important event for this little Tuscan town.

Not only can you try and buy this delicious delicacy, but you can also take a guided trip into the local forests to learn more about truffles. Learn where to look for them, as well as seeing how the truffle dogs are trained to do their job.

See for more details.

Olive Festival, Brisighella, Ravenna (25 November 2012)

Brisighella in Ravenna, Italy showing the tower on the hill.Brisighella is a medieval town near Ravenna that pulls out all the stops for their annual Olive Festival.

If you come to Italy in November you will be able to taste and buy some excellent olive oil that will be displayed by the growers of the area. The festival takes place in town center.

There are other activities as well including a farmers market where you can buy fresh produce, much of it organic.

Main Christmas Markets in Italy in November 

I love markets, but especially the Christmas markets. Italy has many Christmas markets all over the country, but there are two in particular that we feel we should mention as these are the largest of the markets and draw lots of people from far and wide for the event in Italy in November and December.

Trento Christmas Market, Trento-Alto Adige - (20 November  -  23 December 2012)

Trento Christmas MarketThe Trento Christmas Market is one of the largest in Italy, and frequented by many who come in their droves to pick up a bargain. They literally come by the bus load as over 100 buses come into the town each weekend bringing the bargain hunters.

Head for the Piazza Fiera where is all happens at the 68 wooden huts, including 16 of them offering typical food of the area . Have a mulled wine or a hot toddy to warm you up. Also, while you are there, pop into Piazza del Duomo where you will find a large nativity scene on display.

The market is open daily from 10:00 - 19:30 and on Friday and Saturday nights the opening times are extended to 20:30.

During the same time there are other towns in Trentino-Alto Adige that hold their Christmas Markets; Bressanone, Brunico, Merano, Vitipeno and Bolzana.

Rome Christmas Market, Rome Lazio (26 November 2012 - 6 January 2013)

Rome Christmas Market, Piazza Navona.The Rome Christmas Market takes place in the Piazza Navona and considered to be the biggest and most beautiful Christmas market in the whole of Italy. Stalls buzz with people buying Christmas gifts, decorations and food.

Father Christmas is there, well, the Italian version in Babbo Natale, and even more special for the children is at the end of the fair on Epiphany Day when Befana the witch hands out candy to good children.

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