What to do in December in Bologna, Modena and Parma

December is a month filled with festive activities. Many cities get lighten up, Christmas trees start to populate squares and markets or other types of events are organized. If you find your self in Italy and more specifically in the region of Emilia-Romagna, there are some events and activities you really shouldn’t miss out in December. This article is specifically about what to do in December in BolognaModena, and Parma. Let’s dig in!

Visit Bologna’s Fiera Di Santa Lucia

Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia, Bologna“Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia, Bologna” by sdhaddow is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In Bologna, many events are organized during December. Starting from the first days of the month, the whole atmosphere in the city gets festive every day more. From Christmas markets, choir singing and open-air concerts, Bologna offers events and activities for different tastes and preferences.

One of the most traditional things to do in the city is to visit the popular Fiera di Santa Lucia. From late November until Christmas, the portico of The Servi’s Church (Chiesa Dei Servi) is filled with small stalls, displaying sweets, gifts, Christmas decorations, and Crib items. The atmosphere of the market is very “Christmassy” and joyous but it is worth to see Bologna under a different light during December. The Fiera di Santa Lucia is one of the most loved Christmas Markets in Bologna. For this reason, you should not miss the chance to visit it and maybe try some of the local sweets.

Eat The Traditional Zampone in Modena’s Famous Restaurant “Oreste”

Christmas is synonymous with rich dinners and family meals in many parts of the world. Christmas is commonly associated with the feeling of getting together, sharing time and yummy food. That couldn’t be truer in Italy, where Christmas family dinners are traditionally known for being very delicious (and quite heavy too, but hey, it’s Christmas). A popular dish that is commonly eaten in the Emilia-Romagna region during this period is “zampone”. Zampone is pig’s trotter stuffed with ground pork which is usually dried and cured and traditionally served with lentils. It is typical of the city of Modena and eaten for Christmas or New Year’s Eve by many Italian Families.

If you want to try a good, well made and loved zampone, you should pay a visit to the famous restaurant “Oreste”. The restaurant has been hugely popular among the Modenese and it is famously known as Luciano Pavarotti’s favorite restaurant and offers not only great service in the perfect location, close to Modena’s Duomo but also yummy traditional food. It is not a restaurant for fancy surroundings or a quick meal. Rather, it is the perfect place to visit if you want to experience real, classic Italian food. The place was recently renovated, but it has still kept the magnificent familiar and warm atmosphere that has always characterized the place.

Participate at Parma’s New Year’s Eve Gala

Sometimes knowing what to do for New Year’s Eve and how to celebrate the welcoming of the new year might be a bit stressful. If you are in doubt, think about the opportunity of spending such night in Parma!

If you like good food and fancy locations, there is no better way to conclude the year with the famous New Year’s Eve Gala Of Teatro Regio di Parma (or Gala Di Capodanno in Italian). The evening includes a wonderful concert and complete dinner with drinks and amazing entertainment, to properly welcome 2020 in the beautiful location the Regio Theater.

As previously mentioned, these are just some of the many activities you can enjoy and take part in during December in the major cities of Emilia-Romagna. Smaller cities also organize events that are worth checking out. Not many consider visiting the northern part of Italy during December, but in reality, it is a great way to have a different taste of Italian traditions. Go, explore and have fun, you might be surprised at how different some cities might look like during Christmas time!