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Meanwhile, check out what Italian Notebook has to say about the tradition of the Christkindlmarkt.

Bolzano/Bozen, Alto-Adige - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Bolzano/Bozen as tourists arrive from all over Italy for our traditional Christmas market, the Christkindlmarkt, a German-style Christmas market that isn’t typical elsewhere in Italy.

Towering above the market stalls is a giant Christmas tree with plenty of twinkling lights. There's a diverse selection of holiday ornaments to buy, including stars, gnomes and even some skiing reindeer as a little reminder that we’re in the Alps.

And then there are the sweets. There’s plenty to munch: cookies, lebkuchen (chocolate-covered gingerbread), Christmas stollen, and the local Bozner cake, dark and moist with nuts and candied fruit. Additional flavors of the local strudel make an appearance, too — try some tasty apricot along with the always-reliable apple.

To keep warm when the snow starts falling, sample the glühwein (mulled wine) or the Tyrolean hot orange punch (a personal favorite!), with or without added rum. The festivities run until December 23rd.

Buon Natale and Fröhliche Weihnachten from Bolzano/Bozen!

-- Contributed by Lee McIntyre (see bio), Freelance writer and photographer. Author of the book A Year of One a Days.


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