A 'White Christmas' in Milan

Fun, games and musicfor the festive season

As Milan prepares for Christmas and the festivity of Capodanno, city hall has arranged a packed programme of events for young and old throughout the city, many of them free of charge.

Four ice-skating rinks have opened in Milan: in the Indro Montanelli Gardens (M1 stations Porta Venezia and Palestro), in Piazza Gae Aulenti (M2 Garibaldi), at the Fabbrica del Vapore in Via Procaccini 4 (tram 7, 12, 14; bus 37) and in Piazza Lombardia (M2 Gioia).

Free kids’ events include workshops at the Castello Sforza and at the Mulino di Chiaravalle, shows and performances at the Pime and the Teatro del Buratto puppet theatre and cartoons at the Anteo and Apollo SpazioCinema.

On a more traditional note, a giant Advent calendar will open on Piazza del Duomo every day until Christmas from 18.00 to 18.30. Each day another window will open in the municipal building on the right when facing the Duomo. In the run-up to Expo 2015, the advent calendar has taken on an international flavour, with season’s greetings in a different language each day, accompanied by the national flag and anthem of another nation, and followed by a concert by musicians of the Orchestra dell’Opera Italiana and students from Milan Conservatory.

On Saturday and Sunday, 21 and 22 December, Father Christmas will receive wish-lists at the Torre Branca in the Sempione park from 10.30 to 14.00 and from 14.30 (even Father Christmas needs a lunch-break!) to 19.00. He will pose with his little guests for a photo, and there will be a present for every child.

At the foot of the 30-m illuminated Christmas tree in Piazza del Duomo, a market with 100 gazebos dedicated to the magical world of fairies and dwarves will stretch as far as Piazza Fontana, and remain open until 6 January. Once the festive season is over on 11 January, the wood of the 11-ton tree will be made into benches for the city parks.

Many of the events in the “Bianco inverno” will continue through until 6 January, the feast of the Epiphany, better known in Italy as the festa della Befana, the ugly but kindly old woman who brings gifts to good children, but coal to naughty ones – even if the coal is more often found to be made of sugar.

The city administration website carries a full programme of all the events on offer, arranged by date, by city zone, or by category: exhibitions, music, theatre and dance, sport, kids and families, libraries, and more. You can even select your zone and the date, and see what is on close at hand on any day of the festivities.

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