It’s finally December! Can you feel that warm fuzzy Christmas spirit all around? This time of year always gets my serotonin running high. I love the smell of hot food and cinnamon sticks, pine trees and a fireplace.
Although the presents that show up at the bottom of the tree Christmas morning are a very exciting moment; there is so much more to the month of December. Decorated in the holiday spirit and shining lights all around it’s difficult not to become giddy with the festivities that this time of year brings.
Europe is the best place to visit this special time of year. When the holiday is in full swing you can visit some of the most amazing places with all the feels of happiness.
I recently when to my first Christmas Market in the lovely medieval town of Montepulciano, Italy. Montepulciano is a small Italian town perched atop one of the many rolling hills in Tuscany. It is a surprisingly large town well maintained and with plenty of parking. Montepulciano is full of elegant Renaissance palaces, ancient churches, a castle, charming squares. It is the ideal place for visitors looking to experience true Italian Christmas.
Upon your visit be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes. The street spirals on a slight uphill slant to the top where the main square holds the center’s most important buildings. As the town is so very high on the hillside the vast panoramas overlook the wonderful Val d’Orcia and Val di Chiana valleys that surround it.
Montepulciano is most well-known for its pork, cheese, pici pasta and delicious selection of wine. In addition to its high-quality culinary selection, Montepulciano has grown in popularity since the filming of Twilight: New Moon, released in 2009.
While the outdoor market is free you can also visit Santa Claus’ castle for a small entrance fee. The medieval castle is decorated with garlands, lights and the songs of the season. Some of the other attractions you can find for families are an ice skating rink, pony rides, and a small Merry-go-round.
Stands with typical as well as not so typical Christmas-y foods, gifts, handmade goodies and locally farmed meats, cheeses and wine. Be sure to try the hot wine beverage as it is a specialty of this part of Tuscany.
Along with foods stands where you can grab a panino, ragu pasta, BBQ there are artisanal Christmas goods being sold at the cabin styled stands there are several. The quality and the originality of the products sold in the Market were carefully selected by involving the artisan associations. This is a great day trip for anyone looking to spend a day in a beautiful medieval town as you experience the Italian Christmas festivities.
http://www.nataleamontepulciano.it/ENG/assets/mappa-villaggio-natale-2017.pdf – Click here to check out the Map of festivities.