Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sparkling Milano!

The feast day of Sant Ambrogio, the patron saint of Milan, falls on the seventh of December and signals the traditional start of the festive season.  Just like magic, Milan morphs into a more glamorous, sparkling, Christmassy city.
Dome of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Christmas market beside the Duomo.
On this magical date the opera season at La Scala kicks off.  Even if you can't get a ticket to the opening night, everyone can join in the fun by watching the performance live on the huge screens hanging from the sparkling ceiling of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Only the very rich and very famous go through the archway into La Scala on opening night.
It's not just the shops that put up their decorations in time for the feast of Sant Ambrogio. This tradition also applies to families who often spend the feast day decorating their trees before heading off to the city centre to marvel at the giant Christmas tree in the Piazza del Duomo.
Christmas lights along via Manzoni
Window displays in Milan are spectacular. Along the streets of the Quadrilatero d'Oro the shop windows are breathtakingly beautiful. It's expected that during December the Milanese will make their evening passeggiata past the shops to soak up the festive atmosphere, but there's no expectation that anyone will actually enter to buy.
Incredibly lavish window display by Dolce and Gabbana.
Miniature displays of those sweet blue boxes in the window at Tiffanys.
The place to buy all things Christmassy are the markets. In the days leading up to the feast of Sant Ambrogio  three Christmas markets  attract huge crowds: L'Artigiano in Fiera, the Christmas food markets around the Duomo and the traditional O Bej! O Bej! market which circles the Castello Sforzesco.
O Bej! O Bej! market at the castle.
And to really make sure that everyone's feeling the Christmas spirit there's a festival for Milan's signature Christmas cake, panettone. The panettone festival is the place to taste a huge variety of this delicious type of fruit bread / cake before purchasing one, or many, to share with friends.

There's even a very tempting gelati-filled panettone. Possibly a little too large for Stefano and I to demolish?
They do Christmas well in Milano.
Buon Natale!


  1. What an exciting time to be in Milano Jen and Stephano. I love the photo of the two of you in front of the Duomo with the tree. Actually, it is all spectacular!

    1. Grazie Fi. Yes it is a lovely time to be here. Much warmer this year than last. Snow is unlikely in Milan but we are crossing our fingers and toes for a white Christmas in Bormio.

  2. Ciao, Jenny. Gazie mille per i fotografie. Sara in Firenze in sette giorni et sono molto felice.

    1. Grazie mille Robyn. Buon viaggio e buon Natale nella Firenze.