I Love Sightseeing Tours of Italy - Veneto Winter Attractions and Events
Don't expect mild winter weather in Veneto in northeastern Italy. But this is one place where you can still enjoy yourself while you are waiting for spring. The city of Verona hosts The International Horse Show on the second weekend of November. When they say international, they mean it. Try not to miss the costumed parade on opening day. Venice commemorates its deliverance from the plague in 1621 with the Festival della Salute held on November 21 at the Madonna della Salute Church.
For about a month starting in early December Venice hosts the Natale di Vetro, Christmas in glass on Murano Island. The festival starts by honoring San Nicolo the patron saint of glass blowers. There's a glassworks regatta, a glass blowing school including sessions for children, exhibitions, and even a wine tasting by invitation. The seaside town of Bibione holds a Living Nativity Scene at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in December. Treviso's annual Radicchio Festival is also held in December. That would be a good place to answer the burning question: What wine with Radicchio? My offhand answer is an Italian Pinot Grigio. For Christmas markets try Campo Santo Stefano in Venice and Verona. Check the dates carefully; these markets may close earlier than you think.
Venice is a fine place to celebrate New Year's Eve, especially if you're in love. The choices include expensive restaurants and a public celebration on St Mark's Square that includes music, a giant fireworks display, bellini brindisi (toast), and a huge group kiss at midnight. An estimated 60 thousand people participate in this group kiss and the companion one at in Piazza Ferretto in Mestre, Venice.
On New Year's Day you may enjoy a dip in the waters of Venice's Lido Beach. Be warned, it's pretty cold. But it may cure you of your hangover. According to legend a white haired witch known as La Befana arrives by broomstick during the night of January 5 and fills stockings with toys and sweets for the good children and lumps of coal for the bad ones. On January 6 Venice sports the Befana races in which men dressed as La Befana race boats on the Grand Canal.
Verona hosts an international display of nativity scenes in its Arena throughout January. For the first half of January the seaside resort of Jesolo presents sand sculpture nativity scenes in the Piazza Marconi made by top international artists. Charitable donations are requested.