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The most beautiful Christmas illuminations in some of the most beautiful villages in Italy

Monday 21 november 2022

Between big cities and small villages there are places that show off their glittering festive dress, some of them truly spectacular

The most beautiful Christmas illuminations in some of the most beautiful villages in Italy

As Christmas approaches, there is a desire to experience the traditions of the season. Some people like to stay in their decorated homes and watch a Christmas film with the family while others prefer to organise trips to visit markets or enjoy the typical Christmas lights. 

From Candelara to Comacchio

Right at the beginning of the Advent season, there is a village that shows its most romantic and evocative side: Candelara, located about 180 metres above sea level in the province of Pesaro. The view from this village in the Marche region is truly beautiful, offering panoramas of the Adriatic Sea and the peaks of the Apennines. At Christmas, however, it is the event "Candles at Candelara" that enchants all visitors. On this occasion, in fact, in the late afternoon, all the lights are switched off in the village, which will be illuminated only by the flickering light of hundreds of candles. After this moment of intimacy and strong religiousness ends, the bell tower of the Church of Santa Lucia is lit up and dozens of luminous balloons are released into the air.
Not to be missed are the workshops inside the market where visitors can see at first hand the birth of a beeswax candle, using ancient techniques handed down from the Middle Ages.

Candele a Candelara, foto di Silvano Spadoni
Photo by Silvano Spadoni

Comacchio, a small lagoon town in the province of Ferrara, is no different, with its lights decorating every corner and reflecting on the canals that criss-cross the town. The lights particularly embellish all the nativity scenes along the canals, in the shadow of the Clock Tower or Palazzo Bellini, on the ancient Comacina boat near Canal Maggiore and under the bridges of Comacchio.
The spectacular lighting of the Trepponti, the symbolic bridge of Comacchio built in 1638 and linking five pedestrian streets and four canals, is astonishing: for the occasion it is decorated with thousands of small lights along the perimeter, the steps and the two towers.

Luminarie a Comacchio

In Liguria and Apulia

Tellaro is a wonderful hamlet of Lerici, in the province of La Spezia, and at Christmas time it is the scene of the spectacular "Underwater Christmas": on the evening of Christmas Eve, a number of divers brave the icy waters to bring out, on a shell, the Holy Child donated to the village by John Paul II.
He is given to the parish priest, who then starts a procession through the streets of the village, to the 16th-century Church of San Giorgio where the liturgical celebration takes place. The procession takes place in an enchanting atmosphere: Tellaro is completely dark and is only lit by candles placed everywhere in the village, in the alleyways and even on the rocks overlooking the bay, where all the lights are romantically reflected.

Natale a Tellaro
Photo by

Also Polignano a Mare waits for Christmas, covering the entire village with lights, colours and music: in addition to the tree set up in the heart of the historic centre, the lights take the shape of words in Via Roma, recalling the verses of the famous song "Nel blu dipinto di blu", by the native singer Domenico Modugno. The symbol of Polignano, however, is also Lama Monachile, the enchanting rocky inlet overlooked by the village and dominated by the tall 19th-century Bourbon Bridge. Well, the beach of Lama Monachile, as well as the surrounding rocky walls, are decorated with Christmas-themed installations, including trees, comets and figures of the Nativity: to complete the whole are the reflections of lights projected on the cliffs themselves, making Polignano a real fairy-tale village.

Luminarie a Lama Monachile, Polignano a Mare
Photo by

Not far from Polignano, in the heart of the Valle d'Itria, is Locorotondo, a town that rises concentrically 410 metres above sea level: at Christmas this town, one of the most beautiful in Italy and also awarded the Orange Flag, becomes the capital of Christmas illuminations and decorations. There are no spectacular installations in Locorotondo, just thousands of lights illuminating the alleys overlooked by the typical "cummerse" houses, lighting up all kinds of Christmas decorations. You walk among pine garlands, little trees, balls and poinsettias hanging from the arches: the sensation is that you are not in the historic centre of a village but inside a labyrinthine castle, where everything is artfully arranged, never at random, with the aim of transmitting the true Christmas spirit to everyone.

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