If you’ll be in Italy over the Christmas holidays, you’ll probably want to check out some of Italy’s most beautiful Christmas trees.
You’ll find Christmas trees displayed both privately (in Italian homes), and publicly (in piazzas of city centers and small villages).
Read on for our favorite places to see Christmas trees in Italy, from the mountains in the north to the beaches in the south.
And, if you’ll be in Italy for the holidays and want to have your own tree, check out our post, Where to Buy a Christmas Tree in Italy!
Good To Know: I’ve found that Italian cities and public spaces really get into decorating, more than private homes. So, instead of driving around neighborhoods to look at lights, it’s best to head into cities and towns to check out the lights and decorations hanging above streets and on buildings.
When To See Christmas Trees in Italy
Most Italians begin putting up and decorating their trees on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (La Festa dell’Immacolata Concezione).
City trees are also usually lit on the evening of December 8th. Heading to an Italian city center to see a tree lighting is a fun thing to do if you’re visiting with kids.
Read more about Italian Christmas traditions.
The 10 Best Places to See Christmas Trees in Italy
Below are some of the most popular places to see Christmas Trees on display in Italy plus. I also want to encourage you to check out the trees in smaller towns and villages. They’re often decorated beautifully, and the setting in a tiny square is magical.
1. Piazza Walther in Bolzano
This isn’t Italy’s most visited Christmas tree, but it’s our family’s favorite. Set in Piazza Walther and surrounded by the stalls of Italy’s oldest Christmas market, the tree is magical during the day (with the mountains in the background) and during the night (with the twinkling lights and festive atmosphere). If you want to feel Christmas magic in Italy, this is the place!
Good To Know: This part of Italy (the Dolomites) has Italy’s best Christmas markets, and each one has a beautiful Christmas tree. If you have time, check out a few of them!
2. St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City
The Vatican Christmas tree sits in the center of St. Peter’s Square, along with the presepe. Each year, a special tree is donated by a European country or city, town, or village in Italy.
Fun Fact: The St. Peter’s Square Christmas tree tradition is relatively new. Pope John Paul II started putting up a tree in the square in 1982.
3. The Side of Monte Ingino, above Gubbio
Made entirely of Christmas lights, this mountainside ‘tree’ lights up the Umbrian village of Gubbio and the surrounding countryside.
4. Colosseum in Rome
It’s a simple Christmas tree, but the tree in front of the Colosseum is one of our family’s favorites – at nighttime, it’s gorgeous to see the Colosseum and the tree lit up together.
5. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan
Milan’s most famous shopping center hosts a sparkling and extravagant Christmas tree for the holidays. Swarovski designs and decorates the tree, which is probably Italy’s most-instagrammed!
6. Piazza del Duomo in Florence
Florence’s Duomo reminds me a little bit of a huge present waiting to be unwrapped, so it looks perfect next to the large Christmas tree that gets set up between the baptistry and the Duomo.
7. Piazza del Duomo in Milan
A classic, simple tree perfectly complements the intricate design of Milan’s Duomo. It doesn’t try to compete, but simply adds a little bit of sparkle to the grand piazza (which we always visit when we’re in Milan with kids)
8. Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence
The tree in Piazza Santa Maria Novella is part of the Firenze Light Festival (aka F-light), which has holiday light displays and shows at famous monuments in the city (our favorite is at the Ponte Vecchio). The Christmas tree in front of the Santa Maria Novella church isn’t actually a tree – it’s a display of lights that reminds me a little bit of the ‘It’s a Small World’ building at Disneyland.
9. Piazza Fontana in Trivento
Trivento, in the least-visited Italian region of Molise, is known as the ‘Crochet Capital of the World,’ so fittingly, the enormous town Christmas tree is made up of crocheted squares (all’uncinetto) that are lit up from inside.
Fun Fact: The 2022 Christmas tree on display in St. Peter’s Square in Rome is from Rosello, a small village about 10 miles (as the crow flies) from Trivento.
Good To Know: If you love Trivento’s tree, you’ll also want to visit the tree in Ostuni’s Piazza Italia. Not to be outdone, the nonne of Ostuni (in Puglia) have crocheted their own Christmas tree. Set against the white walls of the city, it’s a site to be seen!
10. Piazza Sant’Oronzo in Lecce
Lecce, the ‘Florence of the South,’ has a towering tree of lights. The luminarie lights are traditional in Puglia and the town also hangs luminarie lights across the top of the piazza, creating a magical atmosphere.
I hope you enjoy Italy’s trees as much as our family does! Buon Natale! (Read more about how to say Merry Christmas in Italian!)
You may also want to read about
Traditional Italian Christmas Foods
Traditional Italian Christmas Lunch
Authentic Italian Christmas Eve Dinner
Pandoro vs Panettone
Babbo Natale – Italy’s Santa Claus
La Befana – Italy’s Christmas Witch