Worldwide artisans at traditional Milan market

23rd edition of Milan’s traditional Christmas fair.

One of the most popular pre-Christmas activities in Milan, the Artigiano in Fiera handcrafts market opens again in the Rho fairgrounds this weekend with over 3,200 stands from more than 100 countries.

The nine-day event, running from 1 to 9 December and which last year attracted almost 2 million visitors, is an occasion to choose gifts from around the world and to discover exotic specialties in the 41 restaurants and 21 snack points spread among the 10 pavilions.

There will also be many chances to watch the artisans at work in their workshops to see how the products are created.

Crafts people are the true protagonists, say the organisers. Their passion, intelligence and creativity are able to bring to life the tradition of their own country turning it into something better, with new and attractive products which are also innovative, useful or tasty, if we consider the wine and food sector.

This year the accent will be on solidarity, as Artigiani in Fiera hosts craftsmen from Indonesia, Madagascar and the Philippines.  Oxfam will be present for the first time, with two projects: a collective from India producing fashion accessories and fabrics, and another from Vietnam creating dolls and accessories for babies.

There will also be stands from all over Italy, from food to clothing, from design to high tech. Food is the word in pavilion 4, where world-class chefs from the Italian national chefs team NIC will present award-winning dishes from the regions.

And performing artists from Italy and abroad will offer songs, music and traditional dances, including the Saor Patrol bagpipe band from Scotland, playing in support of the project to recover the mediaeval village of Duncarron.

For those who can’t manage to carry all the products they would like to buy, there is a courier service to send parcels home.

There is a detailed guide to the fair and its programme of events on the official website. Entrance is free of charge, and the Rho fairgrounds are open from 10.00 to 22.00 each day. Mini-guides and fairground maps will be available free at the gates.  Free assistance for disabled access can be arranged by email at logistica@fieramilano.it.