December. And there's so much fog it's as if Milan has taken out a subscription for it. The fog rises from the Darsena area up to the Sforza castle, meaning that without even noticing, we find ourselves shrouded in this white, muffled atmosphere, guiding ourselves by following the scent of the roasted chestnuts on street corners and the calling of the famous Obej Obej market.
December. And right away it's Christmas. Christmas. And right away you’ve got to think about presents. And so, to mix business with pleasure, what better solution is there than to spend the final days before Christmas Eve among the alternative street markets, which offer a mixture of hipster, eco-chic and vintage? Cafébabel Milan has drawn up a list of the city's 5 best Christmas markets. Go and see for yourself.
The 4th Green Christmas market
With the climate change conference in Paris having just ended, there's nothing better for staying in the mood than an eco-market dedicated whole-heartedly to green living. On the 12th and 13th of December, you can look around the eco-fashion and bio-design on offer, as well as enjoying street food with zero air miles. For the 4th Green Christmas market, you can go back to enjoying Christmas shopping which is 100% natural, from the range of fabrics to the technique used to make the clothes and from the furniture to the body care products. It's also worth popping over to the Fonderia Napoleonica Eugenia, the industrial archaeological site in the Isola district, a short walk from the Garibaldi area.
The East Market Milano Christmas version
The most hipster market in Milan is back, with a Christmas version. Inspired by the famous markets of East London (Notting Hill anyone?), the East Market Milano has just turned one and is establishing itself as one of the most anticipated alternative shopping events in the city. After its food versions, this time it is the turn of Christmas gifts. There is a great selection of vintage items, records, books, furniture and toys. And it’s here twice: firstly on the weekend of Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th December, and then again on Sunday 20th December. Save the date!
The Le Pulci Pettinate Christmas version
"What's happened to the traditional Christmas flea markets?" you ask. The ones where you can find an original Chanel outfit from the 50s, which has been worn only once by a Milanese signora of upright character and which fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni would go crazy for. Or the ones where you can find toys from your childhood, such as Meccano and Playmobil. Milan also has an answer for this. At Magazzino76, at 76 via Padova, Le Pulci Pettinate is back, the vintage market organised by the Salumeria del Design. And if this wasn't enough to convince you, they also serve vin brulé – the Italian version of mulled wine!
The Wunder Mrkt Christmas version
Music, food, workshops, performances, drinks and hair styling. That's what the Christmas version of Wunder Mrkt has to offer. It's a kaleidoscope of emotions, but I must confess that I also was a little puzzled by the "hair styling" element. Anyway, if on the 20th December you are passing through North Milan, between Garibaldi and Machiachini, pop into via Valtellina. It's worth it.
Botteghe sotto i grattacieli (Shops beneath the skyscrapers)
Still vintage. Still in Milan. Still in the Isola district. However this time the market is not confined to inside the factory. Instead it is spread out through the streets of the neighbourhood, where there are more than 100 exhibitors of vintage, artisan and hand-made goods. Botteghe sotto i grattacieli also offers the possibility for people to discover the neighbourhood, with guided tours and free entry to the sixteenth-century cloisters of Santa Maria della Fontana. All of this whilst you wander around the stalls, with samples of live music and street food, always with strictly zero food miles. Hats off!