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Celebrate Christmas in Genoa: markets and traditions

Genoa, an ancient and fascinating city with a thousand faces, transforms during the holiday season into a magical place full of centuries-old traditions. Its squares come alive with striking illuminations, colorful stalls and enveloping scents, offering residents and visitors an unforgettable experience. So here is a rundown of Genoa's main Christmas traditions and must-see markets to fully immerse yourself in the enchantment of the Christmas season.


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Scopri le tradizioni natalizie genovesi
Discover Genoese Christmas traditions

Genoese Christmas traditions


In Genoa, Christmas is steeped in deep tradition, most notably the ancient practice of nativity scenes. Dating back to the 17th century, this custom has made Genoa one of the most active centers in the production of nativity figures. One of the most striking nativity scenes is found in the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora Assunta di Carbonara, known as "La Madonnetta." Here, in addition to hundreds of wooden and period costume sculptures, a scenic representation of ancient Genoa can be admired.


But Genoese Christmas is not just about nativity scenes; a singular tradition is the Confeugo, a ceremony in which the people pay homage to the highest authorities of the Republic with a decorated laurel trunk. This gesture, laden with auspicious meaning, represents the unity of the community in the Christmas celebration. To this day, the log is burned for good luck, and those most faithful to the tradition are preparing to keep a log as an amulet.


Traditional Christmas recipes


The Genoese table during the holiday season is a riot of traditional flavors. Among the must-try dishes is cappon magro, an ancient specialty made with fish and vegetables. Equally delicious is cima, a meat sack filled with a tasty filling. But Christmas in Genoa is not complete without pandolce, a dessert that originated in the 16th century from a competition held by Doge Andrea Doria to find a dessert representative of the city.



Markets not to be missed


At Christmas, Genoa dresses up with traditional markets that delight the senses and satisfy every taste. One of the most famous is the St. Nicholas Market, set up in Piccapietra Square. This market, the oldest in the city, boasts displays of handicrafts and offers the chance to sample gastronomic delicacies while watching engaging performances.

The Brignole Markets, located in the gardens in front of the train station, offer a wide selection of Christmas decorations, ornaments, and delicious pancakes. Not far away, in Matteotti Square, the Christmas Market organized by Terliguria Confesercenti offers wooden cottages with a wide selection of handicrafts and gastronomic products typical of Liguria.

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