Christmas lights in Rimini, waiting for Epiphany: a journey through nativity scenes, Christmas markets and amusement parks

Published on: 3 December 2021

From 4 December to the Epiphany's wek-end, Rimini's Christmas lights come on: a month of decorative lighting, arches of light, ceilings of stars and fifteen kilometres of Christmas lights from the villages to the seafront, will kick off the holiday season.

Rimini is ready for Christmas by warming the atmosphere with festive lights. From Piazza Cavour, five large arches of light, decorated with angels and roses inspired by the Malatesta symbols, surrounded by Christmas markets, lead to the large Christmas tree under a ceiling of lights that will brighten the whole square, shining along the Corso (High Street) decorated with angels and Malatesta roses, to Piazza Tre Martiri with its large glowing tree, Via Poletti with its big centuries-old plane tree filled with light, Piazzetta Francesca da Rimini, the French Carousel, the Boroughs and the promenade from Torre Pedrera to Miramare. We mustn’t forget the Christmas markets and nativity scenes, from the sand ones to the floating ones, with their charm and poetry that never wanes over time. Meanwhile, for the first time this year, you can do some ice skating a stone's throw from the Grand Hotel: in fact, the ice rink is set up in the Piazzale Fellini area, near the Fountain of the Four Horses.

>The city lights
From 4 December, a whole city lights up, brightly lit from Torre Pedrera to Miramare, passing through the city centre and the boroughs. It starts in Piazza Cavour, where five 6-metre-high arches of light will be warmed by a sky of lights aspiring to embrace a large Christmas tree in the centre of the square. Moving along Via Poletti, with its large centuries-old plane tree, lit up at the beginning of the new 'Bosco dei Nomi’ (Forest of Names) inspired by Tonino Guerra, the brightly lit trees in Piazzetta Francesca da Rimini, all the way up to the French Carousel in Piazza dei Sogni, surrounded by trees glowing with light. The journey through the Christmas lights carries on along Corso d'Augusto where, under curtain lights mixed with Malatesta symbols, you will reach Piazza Tre Martiri, where the protagonist is a large octagonal Christmas tree, more than 15 metres high, with a pedestrian walkway, surrounded by hundreds of warm little Christmas lights. A large Christmas tree will be placed in front of the Station with a tribute to the seasonal tradition. Then there is the Arch of Augustus with a perimeter of lights all along the hedges, Via d'Azeglio with a large glowing ailanthus on the edge of the historical walls and Piazzale Kennedy and all the city boroughs lit up by kilometres and kilometres of lights, as far as the waterfront, from north to south.

>A journey through nativity scenes
Not only the atmosphere of Christmas, but also the tradition of nativity scenes. In Rimini, you can admire a great many Nativity scenes, including artistic, multi-ethnic and marine versions, but the most spectacular are undoubtedly those made by the sand artists, paying homage to Christmas in the typical spirit of the seaside city.

Christmas tradition lives again on Rimini’s beach, mostly enhanced this year by the new Parco del Mare, where the giant sand nativity scenes return, from the Immaculate Conception holiday on 8 December to 9 January, in Marina Centro, on the Piazzale Boscovich free beach, and Beach 65 in Torre Pedrera, with life-size sculptural groups along an unprecedented itinerary created by the sand artists.

In Marina Centro, the visit to the Nativity scene is a guided tour. Visitors are accompanied on a journey through history, culture and art, with explanations of construction techniques, times they were created and the various Nativity scene themes proposed every year with new scenic designs. The cost of admission to the Nativity scene is €3 (€2 discount price up to 16 years of age and free of charge for children no taller than 120 cm and disabled people). Visitors are required to wear a mask and show their Covid Green Pass (immunity certificate). Booking is recommended for groups and/or agencies. The Nativity Village stretches over an area of about 900 m2, all indoors. A crafts market is also located in the area, with handmade Christmas products and a bar area (free admission). Opening hours: from Monday to Friday 2:30 pm - 6:30 pm; holidays and days before holidays 9:30 am - 7 pm; open during Christmas holidays from 23 December to 9 January: 9:30 am - 7 pm, groups and school groups: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm every day by booking only. Info: +39 331 5224196 - +39 338 6616407

On the Torre Pedrera beach, at Beach 65, the sand sculptors, along with the staff of the local tourist committee, have created a new scenic design that will amaze adults and children: in fact, in addition to the classic Nativity, Christmas characters and many other scenes from the classic nativity will appear out of the sand. The marquee with the Christmas products market is located next to the structure containing the nativity scene. Opening hours: from 9 am to 12:30 pm and from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Info: WhatsApp +39 3488702312 Facebook/Instagram: presepedisabbiatorrepedrera

The inauguration of the sand nativity scenes is scheduled to take place on 7 and 8 December respectively, but the sculptures can already be visited by appointment from the previous weekend (Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December) allowing you to admire the sculptors at work.

From 8 December to 6 January, the shop windows in the historical town centre will also be adorned with nativity scenes from all over the world, thanks to the initiative of the Diocesan Caritas of Rimini, together with the Pastoral Care of Migrants: 'Nativity scenes from the itinerant world', a call for hope and an opportunity for reflection, knowledge and religious and cultural exchange.

A 30 m2 nativity scene will also be set up in the covered market. It was created by the Gualtieri family, who have been making nativity scenes since 1956, and it can be visited until January. The inauguration will take place on Saturday 4 December at 10 am.

On Christmas Eve, a Nativity Scene for the City will also be returning. This is the traditional nativity scene created by the youngsters of the Sergio Zavatta Onlus Association, which will be on display in the splendid setting of the Arch of Augustus until Epiphany. This year’s theme is summarised in the title: ‘Excluding no one’.

The Nativity Scene at the Dock is returning on 18 December, the day of the inauguration, and is a real floating nativity scene set up on the historical boats of Vele al Terzo Rimini. This is an initiative in memory of Tete Venturini, a great protagonist in the city’s economic life.

The Bridge of the Resistance, where it is said that St Anthony preached to the fish, is also going to be decorated for the entire Christmas period by the Ponte dei Miracoli Association. Here, a glowing Nativity Scene with stylised figures made by Salvatore Federici will be set up, as well as a multicoloured wooden Nativity Scene modelled by the Carlini Shipyard. 

>The Christmas markets
There will also be the traditional Christmas markets in the historic town centre of Rimini, which will take place throughout the month of December and until Epiphany. In the streets of the festively decorated historic town centre you can find typical handicrafts, decorations, sweet foods and gift ideas.

Starting with the products made by hand by the designers of Matrioska, this is the event in Romagna for those who make unique pieces with their own hands, a space for research and a show in which they can display their products and exchange ideas and, once again this year, it will be held in the new wing of the Luigi Tonini Museum during the weekend of 10 - 12 December. (Info:

The Market of Christmas Dreams will start on 1 December in Piazza Cavour, in the heart of the historic town centre, with Christmas trees, Fellini-style and circus graphics and a French carousel. The traditional wooden cabins will accommodate master copper and silver, clay and terracotta, pottery and wax working artisans, glass workers and expert leather, wool and wooden object artisans, all exhibiting their products (organised by the CNA - National Confederation of artisans and small and medium businesses.). Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9 am - 1 pm / 3 pm - 8 pm; Saturday 9 am - 9.30 pm; Sundays and holidays 10 am - 9 pm.

The historic town centre will also come to life thanks to the markets that, as always, start in December, beginning with the December Sunday Fair, on the two Sundays before Christmas, followed by the Christmas Tree Fair: from 11 to 24 December at the Tiberius Bridge. There is also the Christmas Fair in Piazza Tre Martiri, which takes place from 15 December to 6 January and where typical handicraft products, decorations and sweet foods are sold, along with gift ideas. To conclude, there is the Christmas Fair in Corso d'Augusto and Via IV Novembre from Sunday 19 to Friday 24 December (with the exception of Wednesday and Saturday when the weekly market is held).

On Sunday 19 December, the market fair of handmade crafts, little antique objects and collectors’ items “Borgo Natale” will fill Viale Tiberio in Borgo San Giuliano with colours, a stone’s throw from the Tiberius bridge (opening time: 10 am - 8 pm).

Festive activities in Viserba with the typical Christmas products market and the Santa Claus and the Elves Village (info: and the Christmas Village in Viserbella while in Rivabella, the life-size Marine Nativity Scene with clothes sewn by local ladies has been set up since 8 December in Piazzale Adamello next to the traditional House of Santa Claus. In Miramare, the Christmas village in via Oliveti is adorned with lights, decorations, nativity scenes and the House of Santa Claus surrounded by a typical Christmas forest. The village will close on 6 January with the coming of the Befana. Info:
The festivities will close on Sunday 9th January with Befana Borgo Run, the traditional non competitive walk in search of the Befane hidden in the maze of the narrow streets of the old fishermen's village (Borgo san Giuliano) and on the square on the water next to Tiberious bridge.

Not to forget the Ice skating rink in Marina Centro, just in front of the Grand Hotel, where you can spend some time skating on ice a few metres from the sea.

>C'entro facile - free shuttle for the Christmas holidays
Centro Facile, the free transport lines with small trains from Settebello and Marzabotto car parks to the historic center, available starting from from 3 December. Also this year for the Christmas period, free transport lines will be activated from the Settebello Parking to Arco d'Augusto, Piazza Tre Martiri and Gramsci in the time slots 9.00am - 12.55pm / 3.00pm - 7.55pm every 20 minutes and from via Marzabotto car park to Arco d'Augusto, piazza Malatesta and Tre Martiri in the time slots 9.00am - 12.53pm / 3.00pm - 7.53pm every 30 minutes, and from Palacongressi to historic center (Arco d'Augusto) in the time slots 9.00am - 12.55pm / 3.00pm - 7.55pm, every 30 minutes. The days of the service will be as follows: from 3 to 12 December, from 17 to 24 December, from 26 December to 2 January and on 6 January.

>Christmas holidays in the amusement parks
Appointments at Italia in Miniatura, Oltremare, Cattolica Aquarium. 
During the Christmas holidays the amusement parks of Rimini and its province are open.
'Italy in miniature', with 273 miniatures from Italy and Europe, is open on the occasion of the feast of the Immaculate Conception and on Sundays in December (5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 19 December). Furthermore, from December 26th to January 9th it turns into a real Christmas village, with the big tree in Piazza Italia.
Even the 'Cattolica Aquarium', the largest aquarium in the Adriatic, with hundreds of marine and terrestrial species, observes the same opening periods during the Christmas holidays.
'Oltremare di Riccione', opens from 26 December until Epiphany, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the Christmas atmosphere. The park is home to Blitzen, Santa's first reindeer, the wisest and most protective. In addition, here, during the holidays, children will also be able to learn about all the Santa Claus reindeer, their history, their names, how they fly and many other secrets.
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