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Christmas and New Year in Rimini: 5 reasons you’ll love it!

Now that it’s the end of November, the Christmas season is officially upon us, and there’s no better place (at least in Europe!) to spend December than Rimini. The city famous for its summer tourist season takes on a completely different guise during the winter, and for many – this writer included – becomes infinitely more charming. There are loads of good reasons to take a short break in Rimini during December, but here are our top 5:

The Atmosphere

During the summer months Rimini swells to bursting point, with upwards of a million people, but during the winter the town shrinks back to its more modest size of roughly 146,000 inhabitants. The focus of life shifts away from the seafront, and inland to the charming centro storico. In December, with elegant Christmas lights and markets adoring the two central piazzas (Piazza Cavour and Piazza Tre Martiri), the atmosphere is wonderful.

Christmas in Rimini

The Food

Food is central to Italian culture, and nowhere is that more obvious than in Romagna, and each season brings its own specialties and traditions. Christmas and New Year are no exception, and during December you can eat like a king, for decidedly non-regal prices! Highlights on the menus include: Zuppa di fagioli con salsiccia (A creamy and hearty soup with beans and sausage), maltagliati ai ceci (pasta and chickpeas in broth), and the traditional Christmas dish Cappelletti in Brodo, which according to tradition would be prepared for the big Christmas Eve dinner. There’s also, of course, the reliable staple Piada and Cassone for those looking for snacks.


Behind every plate there’s a wealth of history and tradition, and the starting point for plenty of conversation! If food plays an important part in your travelling, then Emilia-Romagna is without doubt the place to be.

The Events

Patti Smith plays Rimini's Teatro Novelli


While the city becomes smaller in size during the winter, its ambition and energy remains undiminished. During the summer months the city is famous nationally and internationally for the events it puts on, attracting national and international talent for concerts and special shows. The winter is no different, and Rimini in the hearts and minds of many Italians is synonymous with New Year’s Eve (in part because for many years the state broadcaster RAI rang in the new year live from a stage outside Rimini’s Grand Hotel). Nowadays, under the banner ‘the longest new year’s eve party’ (Il capodanno più lungo del mondo), events are lined up throughout December. For example, this year the party kicks off with Patti Smith on the 3rd of December. New Year’s Eve will have a giant stage outside the Grand Hotel, with smaller stages dotted around the city, with live music, dj sets and much more.

Throughout December there’s also ice skating (a special rink will be setup at the historic landmark Arco d’ Augusto, along with a Christmas village on the beachfront and much more.

The floating crib in Cesenatico

Given that the tradition of creating a Crib at Christmas is an Italian one, dating back to St. Francis of Assisi, Rimini has a host of marvelous cribs to visit, ranging from traditional cribs in various churches around the city, through to Cribs made out of sand sculptures, or the impressive floating crib in nearby Cesenatico – where the local fishermen decorate boats moored in the port canal (designed by Leonardo Da Vinci).

The Location

Rimini, with its wide variety of hotels, and intimate city centre provides a comfortable base for visiting a whole host of locations in Northern Italy. You can comfortably visit San Marino, Bologna, Ravenna, Urbino, Florence and even Milan and Venice from here while availing of the renowned hospitality of the city. If you want a more off-the-beaten-track experience you can travel around the amazing countryside and medieval villages that dot the countryside from around Rimini through to the borders with the Marche region. Trips to places like Santarcangelo di Romagna, Verucchio, and Saludecio.

The Markets and Shopping

There are various christmas markets setup around Rimini’s city centre throughout December. For example, in Piazza Tre Martiri from the 15th of December onwards there are stalls selling traditional handcrafts, christmas decorations, and typical fruits and sweets for Christmas. In Piazza Cavour every sunday throughout December there is a christmas market, and in the Vecchia Pescheria for the whole month of December there are Christmas stalls selling hand-crafted traditional goods for Christmas.

Christmas market in Piazza Cavour

If you’re looking for something more modern, and a good bargain (remember, the Romagnoli are famed for their business acumen, and love of a good deal), there are plenty of top class shopping centres, and fashion outlets around Rimini catering to all your christmas needs.

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