If there is a time when you can stop running and stay connected for a few hours and wander around amongst the colours and small works of everyday art without feeling guilty, it is the Christmas season.
A trip to 'browse' the Christmas markets is now a ritual, whether they are in traditional little wooden houses, in elegant villas, in restful gardens, in illuminated city squares and streets.
In Lucca, we propose an itinerary through 8 markets, including traditional monthly Christmas markets and special Christmas markets where you can find delicacies and local and non-local handicraft products. And a few shops.
We start from Lucca's largest square to "go up" Via Fillungo, from market to market, as far as the Borgo gate.
1) WINTER VILLAGE
The traditional Christmas fair in Piazza Napoleone this year becomes Winter Village, a space in the city where you can go with the whole family. In addition to the markets where you can find gifts and goodies for friends and relatives, it hosts a merry-go-round with horses for the little ones, an ice-skating rink for teenagers, a doughnut kiosk (no fair in Lucca without the doughnut kiosk) and a selfie corner for photos with the whole family!
The Winter Village is open until 8 January. The skating rink remains open until 5 February.
Just a stone's throw away, picturesque stalls can be glimpsed on the neighbouring square where the Giglio theatre opens.
2) THE ANTIQUES MARKET
The second oldest antiques market in Italy, in its Christmas edition on the weekend of 17 and 18 December. Here you can indulge in the search for the most original gifts: a magnifying glass that has sailed on cruise ships of bygone days, a set of anchovy forks (yes you can't imagine how many variations of cutlery there are in etiquette and here you will find almost all of them) clothes from times gone by to be revamped with small eco touches hair with feathers, precious little jewellery and large, pompous-looking costume jewellery brooches, peasant ceramic vases and refined tea cups with the Bonaparte effigy, and then coffee tables, coffee grinders, jugs and embroidered linen just like in the old days.
In short, if you don't have an idea, but are looking for it, you will surely find it here. If you don't find it, you can change the date. On Piazza San Giusto, on the following days, you will find
3) ARTS AND CRAFTS AT CHRISTMAS
Craft market at the end of the month, with quality products between tradition and originality. Small artisans with creative proposals for the home, for unexpected gifts and to complete your outfit in an original way. This monthly market is one of Lucca's historical craft markets that you can find here every fourth Sunday of the month and,
during the Christmas holidays, in an 'extended' version for almost a whole week, from 17 to 24 December.
Following the lights that decorate the streets of Lucca's historic centre, we reach Via Fillungo, the promenade of elegant shops.
At the panoramic view of Torre Guinigi, turning into Via Sant'Andrea, we reach Piazza Guidiccioni. The 'Lucense ad Astra' tree by designer Francesco Zavattari acts as our guide. Two paths intertwine here, that of taste and that of Christmas decorations, but we continue on our way
4) PURE CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL
In winter, all chocolate is allowed! From traditional Sunday pecan cakes to refined Sachertorte, from ice cream (yes, even in winter...) to hot chocolate in a mug with a nice cloud of cream. From bars to share with friends to filled 'solitaires' to give as gifts together with strictly handwritten cards. A tasty market for all gourmands and fans of handmade chocolate
Puro cioccolato festival is open from 8 to 11 December, in Piazza Guidiccioni.
Continue along Via Sant'Andrea to enjoy the view of the Guinigi Tower and, not far from here, in the direction of the Amphitheatre, turn to find yourself in Piazza del Carmine, where Lucca's old market is located.
An environment, the Mercato del Carmine, with a long history that today hosts the most innovative craft market.
5) MERAKI MARKET
Lucca's historic Carmine Market comes alive with artistic design, photo exhibitions and art. the tradition of craftsmanship and the innovation of contemporary decorations and techniques meet here. If you are looking for a unique object to complete your home decor or a surprising gift, you are in the right place. Here you will find rustic woollen jumpers worked with traditional techniques and very up-to-date designs; coloured ceramics of all sizes, decorated with elegant and extremely up-to-date strokes and a careful eye on the recovery of materials; large, inspired and crazy paintings by Lucchese and adopted authors; dolls and puppets that are refined and cheerful stories to be told as well as excellent room companions; costume jewellery made from scraps of precious materials, woven with skill and taste... and many other things to discover.
The Meraki Market is open on 10 and 11 December and from 17 to 23 December, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
And back on our route along the elegant Via Fillungo to Piazza San Frediano. Under the great Byzantine mosaic of the church façade you will be amazed by the
6) LUCCA STAR VILLAGE
A new but traditional Christmas market, with typical small wooden houses and many festive products, including the unrepeatable Bagni di Lucca nativity scenes. The traditional plaster cribs of local tradition and history. The figurine-maker and the seller of 'plaster figurines' are part of the history of the people of Lucca in recent centuries. If you feel like it, you can go and see an exhibition on the subject, set up in the chapel of the Rotunda of the Ducal Palace where cribs from the 19th century and later centuries are on display.
But first a tour of the market where you can find centrepieces for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas lunch, lots of small gifts for everyone, sweets and sumptuous garlands to decorate the front door.
Star Village is open from 4 to 24 December .
Yes, the basilica of San Frediano is beautiful with its simple façade, large mosaic and powerful bell tower but... let's not get distracted. Let's walk around the bell tower and find
7) THE DESCO
The gourmet market par excellence. At the 17th edition of the exhibition market dedicated to local flavours and knowledge, and not only, you can find artisanal delicacies from the mountains of the Garfagnana in Lucca, from where fragrant cheeses and tasty cured meats and mushrooms come; from the hills from which spicy and delicate EVO oils come, with a thousand nuances of flavour, just like the landscapes where they are produced, and wines to accompany everything. From the freshest to the reserves, to the fragrant vinsanto. From the plain of Lucca where vegetables and pulses are grown for sumptuous seasonal soups and bread still baked in the traditional way.
the Desco is open on the weekends of 3 / 4 - 10 / 11 December. If you have a little time and curiosity, you can take advantage of the programme of meetings to learn more about the subject.
We return to Via Fillungo among the beautiful shops illuminated and decorated for the holidays. After the Borgo gate, the
8) THE BOROUGH MARKET
Last but not least. Where the medieval town ends, under the Borgo gate, the Borghi market begins. A market in the heart of Lucca, with unique and quality craft products.
The Borghi market is held every third Sunday of the month, in December on the 18