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11/9/2015

Little Christmas – South Tyrol's alternative 'Christkindl'

Christmas markets are part of Christmas in South Tyrol like the biscuits in the tin, the snowflakes falling from the sky, the Christmas tree in the hall and the spices in mulled wine. You could be mistaken for thinking that all Christmas markets are the same. And you could be right up to a point. Yet there are definite differences between the busy, big ones and the smaller and lesser known ones.

Now, there are things that a genuine Christmas market cannot be without. Such as steaming mugs with warming contents, for example. Or catchy songs. Or the scent of 'Lebkuchen' and festive lights. But it makes a difference whether the contents of the mugs are just steaming, or taste good too, whether the catchy songs are all American productions or genuine accordion numbers, whether the sweet scent emanates from mass-produced goods or home-baked fare, and whether the lights are neon fairy lights or real candles.

Tinselly glitz or woody scents?

A real Christmas should be a quiet affair. A real Christmas is a feeling. A real Christmas is cosy, modest and still something special. Just like South Tyrol's little Christmas markets. Alpine horn players and village market squares, home-made biscuits and genuine handcrafts are what go towards the real South Tyrolean Christmas. Anyone seeking the spirit of Christmas in the simple things far away from the well known and showy South Tyrolean markets would do well to visit the following Christmas markets.

A genuine choice

Near the upper terminal of the tidy little Ritten cable car (for details ask at the tourist information) in Oberbozen, guests may look forward to local specialities, home-made items, a children's programme and a real life crib, as well as Advent concerts given by choirs and village music bands.

Visitors to St. Martin in Passeier (for details ask at the tourist information) can expect friendly handshakes, handwork and hand-made art. Sweet anticipation of Christmas is felt at the ice-skating rink; the petting zoo, cribs and window pictures will make Advent stories tangible.

At Alpen-Advent in Sarnthein you can let yourself be seduced by the enchanted world of time-honoured, nearly forgotten hand crafts, customs passed down through generations, and earthy Sarntal valley cordiality amidst a magical winter landscape. Over 20 stands offer traditional, handcrafted and home-made products.

The Advent market in Glurns takes place every winter before the impressive backdrop of the medieval town in the upper Vinschgau valley. With the motto 'Light, scents and sounds', 40 traders and associations take part in the market, which is set up on the town square and beneath the picturesque arcades.

The list of rustic, low-key and totally authentic Christmas markets goes on. Now you are spoilt for choice and can carry on browsing here. Those looking for the right Advent accommodation will find what they're looking for with South Tyrol's private landlords and ladies. Lots of them do not just take in guests at Christmas, but invite you to celebrate the festivities with them.

Foto: Helmuth Rier
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