Christmas 2018 in Milan

Christmas 2018 in Milan


During the Christmas season, Milan — one of the favourite shopping destinations in Italy — has what it takes to amaze: the refined care for decorations in the city centre; the window displays staged by major fashion and luxury brands clustered in the Fashion District, located between Via Montenapoleone and Via della Spiga, home to the big names in prêt-à-porter fashion; Milan’s Botteghe Storiche — where handicraft and quality are handed down from one generation to the next — to be rediscovered by strolling the streets around the city centre.

A short distance from the skyscrapers lining Piazza Gae Aulenti, the Corso Garibaldi area, which borders the romantic alleyways of the Brera District, is a procession of shop windows where Milan’s storied brands alternate with new boutiques: at closing time, the entire spot is filled with the sounds of night life emerging from the crowded bars and restaurants that line Corso Como and the Isola District. The most popular names in international fashion are on Corso Buenos Aires, a real ‘city mall’ spread over one of the longest outdoor shopping streets in all Europe.

In Milan, alternative design, second-hand and street wear make their home at Porta 

Christmas 2018 in Milan

Ticinese, an area to be discovered while strolling among the Columns of San Lorenzo and the Naviglio Grande canal, lit for Christmas holidays.


On December 7th, the city draws on its ancient soul to celebrate its patron, Saint Ambrose. During this period, lovers of traditional craft markets can visit the Oh Bej Oh Bej market stretching along the walls of Castello Sforzesco, which has been offering visitors special products, sweets, handicrafts and glasses of vin brulé (a hot cup of mulled wine) for centuries. The name “Oh Bej Oh Bej” evokes the joyous exclamations of the children when seeing the products on sale. At around the same time, from December 1st to December 9th, the Rho Fiera Milano Exhibition Centrewill host the fair dedicated to Italian and international craft called L’Artigiano in Fiera, where you cannot miss buying a special present among the many stands or tasting food and wine produced from all over Italy. New markets will be opening the following week throughout the city, including the one in Piazza del Duomo next to the Cathedral.


Milan has a special way to celebrate the arrival of Christmas: the Musical Advent Calendar. From December 1st to December 24th, as the sun sets, the windows of the buildings that line Piazza del Duomo will become an evocative setting for exciting musical performances and shows. An unprecedented version of the Musical Calendar has many real and virtual surprises for the public this year.

On December 7th, on the occasion of the holiday in honour of Milan’s patron, St. Ambrose, the La Scala Theatre will open its new season with a great opera event. The opera chosen by conductor Riccardo Chailly for 2018 is Giuseppe Verdi’s Attila, with stage direction by Davide Livermore, a director and light-designer renowned for his originality.

Thanks to the Prima Diffusa initiative, the theatre’s premiere performance may be enjoyed in various theatres and public places, including Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where the opera will be screened live and for free. Throughout the week, the notes of Attila will ring out in the city’s various districts — from the city centre to the outskirts, which are home to modern innovation and culture hubs — and there will be events, concerts and exhibitions inspired by the Verdi’s opera.

Christmas 2018 in MilanDuring the days leading up to the Prima Diffusa, Guides to Listening from the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala will accompany the public into the atmospheres of the show, narrating the vibrant tale put to music by Giuseppe Verdi.

The La Scala Theatre will continue its holiday celebrations in the company of Vivaldi, Mozart and Verdi: two Christmas concerts of religious music are planned on December 22nd and 23rd, whereas on December 31st Verdi’s arias will ring out, sung by four opera singers: M

aria José Siri, Jorge de Leòn, Simone Piazzola and Riccardo Zanellato.

Major events will include the traditional Christmas Concert in Piazza del Duomo open to the the public of locals and tourists, featuring classical musical ensembles and prestigious choirs, and the New Year’s Eve Celebration in Piazza del Duomo, which over the years has welcomed to the stage various artists of Italian and international fame such as Mario Biondi, Vinicio Capossela and the bluesman Bombino.

From December 29th to January 1st, the Milan Auditorium will be hosting four renowned performers for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which with its Ode to Joy has been played for the last 20 years on New Year’s Day by the LaVerdi Orchestra: Karina Gauvin, Sonia Prina, Moritz Kallenberg and Jochen Kupfer will perform with the renowned Milan orchestra, under the baton of Conductor Claus Peter Flor and Choirmaster Erina Gambarini.



For the eleventh year, throughout the Christmas season Palazzo Marino (the City Hall) will be hosting an artistic masterpiece that can be viewed free of charge, on loan from an Italian museum: in recent editions, thousands of visitors thus became acquainted with works by Tiziano, Rubens, Canova, Caravaggio, De La Tour and Leonardo. On loan from the National Gallery in Umbria, the work selected for Christmas 2018 is the Adoration of the Magi by Pietro Vannucci, alias “Il Perugino”, a major artist from the Italian Renaissance. Umbria will also lend to Milan the Nativity Scene, that for the third consecutive year will be on display at Palazzo Marino.

The large temporary exhibitions at the Palazzo Reale will also continue: “Picasso: Metamorphosis”, in which Picasso’s works are juxtaposed with ancient works of art on loan from collections around the world, and the monographic exhibition devoted to Carlo Carrà, one of Italy’s 20th-century masters, focusing on his works from Futurism to metaphysics, and beyond.


It would not be Christmas in Milan without the traditional Panettone Christmas cake, a local speciality appreciated all over the world. According to the legend, this cake, filled with raisins and candied fruit, was invented in the 15th century by an apprentice cook at the court of the Duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro, whipped up in a hurry to make up for a dessert that went wrong.

The traditional local cake, in all its various forms and versions, will be available for tasting throughout the Christmas period in various restaurants, hotels, bakeries, traditional eateries and Christmas markets.

The tasting experience will come to a climax on December 16th, when Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II will offer the public an artisanal chocolate-covered Panettone baked by the renowned maître chocolatier Davide Comaschi. The 2018 Panettone is planned to be the largest ever, following its predecessor from 2017, which weighed at approximately 140 kg and was enough for over 1,000 people.

Christmas 2018 in MilanCHRISTMAS LIGHTS SHOW

Over the years, Christmas lights have come to be one of the areas where artistic and creative tradition and innovation are most successfully combined. The lighting of the big Christmas tree in Piazza del Duomo will mark the official beginning of the calendar of initiatives and will give the start to other lighting installations all over the city.

Spectacular lighting installations will be set up throughout Milan, from Piazza della Scala to the vault of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, all the way to the city’s furthest edge, wending their way to the sites involved in the “Luci a Milano” project that will be transforming a number of squares into a sprawling artistic Christmas Lights Show.


Christmas 2018 in MilanCHRISTMAS VILLAGES

Finally, all around the city, from the Darsena to Porta Venezia, there will be several Christmas Villages, that will welcome all families with many attractions, shows and surprises for any age.

Ice-skating rinks for adults and children, exciting moments of entertainment including elven rides and Santa’s sleighs, workshops, dancing, face painting, and… the Santa Claus House, where children will be given the opportunity to meet their most beloved character and to hand him their letters.


Teresa Munaò – bcw | burson cohn & wolfe

+39 02 7214 3527 –