Christmas Tree at the Santa Maria della Salute, Venice Italy
Christmas lights over a Canal. Venice Italy

Venice is a special place to visit at any time of year, but in December the city is imbued with a particularly magical atmosphere thanks to the spectacular Christmas lights that adorn many of its squares and streets.  Here’s where to find some of the prettiest illuminations in Venice this year:

Piazza San Marco: Viewed by many as the most beautiful square in the world, Piazza San Marco is arguably at its most picturesque at the moment, while its lofty arcades are strung with thousands of twinkling bulbs that echo the shimmering golden mosaics of the Basilica.

Madonna della Salute: Head along the glittering canals of Dorsoduro to the Punta della Dogana and you’ll find a soaring illuminated Christmas tree glowing brightly in the shadows of the mighty Salute church.  It’s especially striking on dark nights, when the lights reflect in the nearby waters of the Grand Canal.

Campo Santo Stefano: The second larges square (campo) in Venice is a truly festive experience, be sure to visit Campo Santo Stefano; festooned with endless strings of shining lights, it’s also hosting a lively Christmas market this year, with wooden chalets offering all sorts of culinary treats, regional specialities and local products that would make ideal stocking-fillers.

Calle Larga XXII Marzo: Venice’s principal high-end fashion street is an especially lovely place to come for a winter evening passegiata; enjoy window-shopping for the latest couture from Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Bottega Veneta under the swirling ceiling of fairy lights that hang from above.