As the temperature plummets and the first flakes begin to fall grab a glass of vin brulé and get yourself to these Milan events to keep yourself warm and entertained.
Italia Inside Out at Palazzo della Ragione
Florence 1933 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris/Magnum Photos
This beautiful exhibition celebrates the beauty of Italy with a collection of stunning photos from some of the world’s most important photographers.
Labelled ‘Out’ this is the second part of this exhibition series. The first part, that was shown earlier this year, focused on Italian photographers. This second part focuses on international photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Herbert List, Robert Capa and David Seymour.
10 November 2015 – 7 February 2016, Palazzo della Ragione, Piazza dei Mercanti, palazzodellaragionefotografia.it
Recto Verson at Fondazione Prada
style="text-align: right;">Roy Lichtenstein, Stretcher Frame with Vertical Bar, 1968 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein / SIAE 2015
Since its opening in May the Fondazione Prada has continued to attract top class artists to its stunning premises, located on the south eastern edge of the city.
The next upcoming exhibition Recto Verso presents pieces that bring to the fore those normally hidden, concealed or forgotten aspects that lie on the back of the canvas. Conceived by the Fondazione Prada Thought Council, whose current members are Shumon Basar, Elvira Dyagani Ose, Cédric Libert and Dieter Roelstraete, the show combines notable works from the Prada Collection as well as others on loan from around the world.
The Foundation is also currently home to its third “Trittico” which consisting of three carefully selected works from the Collezione Prada. The current selection explores the animal world and includes "Lost Love" by Damien Hirst.
Recto Verso: 3 December 2015 – 7 February 2016, Largo Isarco, 2, 20135, www.fondazioneprada.org
With Christmas fast approaching there’s no better place to buy your Christmas panettone than in Milan, the home of this festive sweet treat. In late November pastry chefs from all over the country come to compete in the 8th edition of ‘Re Panettone’ (King Panettone). Visitors are able to sample the competitors leavened creations along with specially selected glasses of sparkling wine.
28 & 29 November , Fabbrica del Vapore, via Procaccini, 4, www.repanettone.it
Festival of Sant’Ambrogio
Oh Bej! Oh Bej!
On 7 December Milan celebrates the feast day of its city’s patron saint, Saint Ambrose (Sant’Ambrogio in Italian) with a number of events around the city. The Oh Bej! Oh Bej! street market, that takes place during the long weekend, is the centre of these festivities where crowds gather to sample traditional food including pancakes, roast meat, chestnuts and mulled wine.
6-8 December, Castello Sforzesco
Artigiano in Fiera
Pig shaped salami at the Artigiano in Fiera
Looking for some high quality Italian Christmas gifts for friends or loved ones? Look no further than the annual Artigiano in Fiera which takes place at the beginning of December.
This fair brings together artisans from all over Italy and abroad in the massive Fiera exhibition centre in Rho just outside the city. With 3,250 exhibitor stalls displaying 150,000 products from DOP and DOG foods to hand crafted goods it might take a while to get around everything.
Note: The fair is extremely popular with Italians, so to avoid the crowds it’s best to visit on a weekday during working hours. And make sure you go on an empty stomach as with the food there’s ample opportunity to try before you buy. If you do have an extra space there are also 61 restaurants to satisfy your every whim.
5-13 December, Fiera Milano, Rho www.artigianoinfiera.it
Bolzano Christmas market
The Christmas market in this quaint town to the north west of Milan in the Dolomites is a little bit magical. The cheerful crowds mix with the area's historic and cultural past in a festive celebration that is one of the best in Italy.
Make sure to pick up a glass of vin brulé as you peruse the 80 plus stalls and enjoy street performers, artists and music surrounded by the jaw-droppingly beautiful limestone mountains.
26 November to 6 January (closed on 25 December), Piazza Walther, Bolzano, www.bolzano-bozen.it
Befana dolls on display in Milan, source: www.milanoweekend.it
Epiphany, the religious festival that closes the twelve days of Christmas, is celebrated in a rather unique way in Italy.
According to Italian folklore on the eve of Epiphany a broomstick riding witch called Befana delivers gifts to children whilst they are sleeping. If the children have been good they will receive sweets and treats, but if they have been bad they will only receive coal.
Epiphany itself is a public holiday across the country and is celebrated in Milan with a boat riding Befana delivering sweets to children in Navigli, a procession of the Three Wise Men from Piazza Duomo to the Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio and a motorcycle rally through the city.
Rigoletto, © @ Marco Brescia & Rudy Amisano, source: www.teatroallascala.org
And last but not least the iconic opera house is kicking off its 2015/16 season in December with Giuseppe Verdi’s interpretation of Joan of Arc (Giovanna d’Arco). It’s a very special occasion as the opera was last performed there exactly 150 years ago.
In January La Scala will play host to Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto conducted by Mikko Franck and staged by Gilbert Deflo. This production will see the La Scala debut of the young American talent Nadine Sierra in the role of Gilda.
Giovanna d’Arco: 4 December (only for under 30s), 7, 10, 13, 15, 18, 21, 23 December and 2 January 2016. Rigoletto: 13, 17, 20, 22, 24, 29 January and 6 February 2016. www.teatroallascala.org