23 thoughts on “The Best Christmas Traditions in Italy

  1. Vita Spano Reply

    We have celebrated Christmas with our family in Sicily. The many traditions mentioned are our traditions. We also receive short visits on Christmas Day from relatives who wish us Buon Natale before they proceed to their own family dinners. Also, near the city of Custonaci, in a cave on the mountainside, a presipio and a town is enacted by the locals. Very realistic and interesting.

    • Beth Reply

      We lived in northern Italy for several years and always looked forward to the neighborhood Pan e Vin celebrations on January 6th. Huge bonfires with an effigy of la befana on her broomstick on top would burn through the night (and smolder for several days after) while neighbors would eat, drink and be merry. It was a wonderful tradition I will never forget. New Year’s Eve was also a huge holiday. Everyone had fireworks and they would go off all night long. Great fun!

  2. Francesca Santoro L'hoir Reply

    My favourite Christmas in Rome was when I went with friends to Ara Coeli for the midnight mass. The buses had stopped. At 9:00 PM, we walked from Monteverde Vecchio down through a chilly Trastevere, crossing the bridge at Ponte Sisto, then across Via Arenula, through the ghetto, to the Capitoline Hill, climbing the 400+ steps to the church. It was slightly foggy, and we could have been alone in the silent city, because we didn’t meet another soul until we arrived at Ara Coeli.
    The service was beautiful. Just before midnight, a heavenly lullaby—a mezzo-soprano voice—floated from behind the altar into the candle-lit church. Then at the stroke of twelve, the priest brought the Bambino Gesù from the altar and we all followed in procession as he placed the life-sized statue into the Presepio—the creche—near the entrance of the church. .
    When we walked out of the church, we looked down upon a city that had come back to life: the buses were running; people were chattering, laughing, and rushing about their business.
    It had been a magical experience, and now the enchantment was complete.

    • Walks of Italy Reply

      What a beautiful description! Thank’s for sharing your experience Francesca.

    • Walks of Italy Reply

      We’re sorry you feel that way Joshua. Is there something specific we can help you find?

    • Walks of Italy Reply

      Hi Robert,
      Visitors most definitely don’t have to partake in Italian Christmas Traditions. They are traditions of Italy and might not be your own! Still, we think that some of the traditions can be a great way to understand and partake in the Italian culture!

  3. Sylvia Reply

    Hello. Is it a bad idea to try and go to Naples and Pompeii by train from Rome on Christmas Eve (does public transportation get really hectic)? Are most of shops/attractions closed on Christmas Eve?

    • Walks of Italy Reply

      Hi Sylvia,
      No it’s not a bad idea, but we do suggest you book well in advance – both for your train and, if possible, for your restaurant! Most restaurants like to know who is coming so they can prepare ahead how many staff to keep on and how much of their specialty food to buy, if not simply because the places fill up!

  4. Steve Frank Reply

    Thank you for the wonderful post. The photos are beautiful, and the accompanying text, along with Francesca’s incredible description makes my heart long for this experience. I love history, and Ancient Rome is a pretty big part of that!! My grand-mother, on my fathers side, was a De Martino, from Naples, and Grandfather was Gianfrancesco, from, his mother and father who were from Abruzzi. The name was difficult to pronounce I guess, and his father became John Frank. (Gian Francesco) When they asked his name, he gave the last name only, hence John Frank. Millions of stories like that in America of all nationalities. Nona was an incredible cook. She stood about 5 feet tall in heels, and was just about as wide, and never ate when the meal was served, usually watching to see reaction to what she had made, and always saying one thing or another didn’t come out exactly right, but it always was!! Most of the women didn’t eat much….they were full from eating while cooking all day!! I was thinking about Constantine I, the Roman Empire, and how important he was to us all coming together for this wonderful and important day.

  5. Trystan Reply

    Thanks to whoever made this website it has really helped me on my main idea assessment

  6. Daniel Reply

    This is helping me in a report i have to do on Christmas in Italy!!! Thanks for the person who made this web site.

  7. Daniel Reply

    I love FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Summar Reply

    Thank you for the informative post. I have a question about Christmas holiday in Italy. What is Italy’s folklore for Christmas?

  9. Angelica Marron Reply

    I really loved all the stories wish I could go and experience it on my own. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Jean Gina Lieb Reply

    Can anyone tell me why my Italian American family kept our tree up till January 15 th? Every year it was the same time. But maybe there was a holy day then that was moved. This was from the 1950’s through the early ’80s.
    Thanks, Gina

    • Walks of Italy Reply

      Hi Gina,
      Italians keep up their Christmas decorations until the Epiphany on January 6th. This is a Catholic holy day, when the three wise men finally made it to see Jesus. Today it’s also celebrated with a visit from the “Befana”, a sort of good witch that fills the stockings or shoes of the kids with candy. It marks the end of the Christmas season here in Italy.

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