Every country has its own Christmas traditions.

Have you ever tried to wonder what do the other countries do?

Let’s see, for example, what we, the Italians do!


In Italy, Christmas starts on the 8th of December.




Italians, on the 8th of December, celebrate The Immacolata, a religious Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

A cannon is fired from the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, to announce the opening of the religious festivities.

Parades and feasts for the Blessed Virgin Mary are also held around the country.

It’s the day when many Italians start putting up their decorations, fairy lights and many Christmas markets are open.


Christmas tree or Nativity scenes ?




The first week of December all the Italian families have to answer

to a question: Christmas tree or Nativity scenes?

Each family, in fact, decorates his house with a tree or a nativity

scene. Of course, there is always a third option.

Doing nothing for example? Are you joking? No, the third option is to make both, of course!

Christmas tree

Italians didn’t invent the Christmas tree, it’s a North-European tradition, we know it, but we brought this idea to our habits.

An example?

In 2015 the Christmas tree in Milan was sponsored and decorated by


Probably this is the most expensive Christmas tree ever done in Europe

Are you interested in a bigger and more traditional tree?




We have one: it’s the biggest fake Christmas tree in the World. The town of GUBBIO transforms the nearby Mount Ingino into the largest tree-light installations in the world every year.

We can’t be basic, sorry.

Nativity scenes : the Presepe

The presepe is one of the most loved parts of the Italian Christmas.

The idea of recreating the birth of Jesus Christ , started in Italy ,in the 13th century , when St Francis of Assisi asked a local villager to reconstruct a manger. Since that moment nativity scenes have become the core of Italian Christmas folk art and handmade presepi can be considered the key artisanal tradition.

Today Naples is the World Capital of Nativity Scene.

During Christmas Time, Saint Gregory Armenian Quarter is very famous for its handmade nativity scenes. They are really impressive and original. In effect during the 18th century, the representation of the Nativity had been enriched with objects and characters of everyday life ( NYT article about Nativity Scene).

And Santa Claus?

He is not Italian, we know it, but we love him, like everybody.

We call him Babbo Natale.


Sometimes we try to tell the children that he’s Italian and that he rides a Ferrari, but English people convinced them that he travels by sleigh with reindeers and comes from the North.

Food and Drink

Panettone o Pandoro?

The essence of Christmas Day in Italy is love and food. The love for food, obviously!


In the Italian Catholic tradition, during Christmas Eve you can’t eat meat,

so … let’s eat fish! We bring to our table sword fish, tuna fish, salmon, 

 octopus, salad and salted cod, of course! (The Italian-American "Feast of the Seven Fishes" descends from this tradition).


Il pranzo di Natale - the Lunch, on Christmas Day - is the most important among

all the Christmas feasts.

But, as the “Huffington Post” affirms:

Each region has its own traditional dish for Christmas dinner: the cuisine reflects the characteristics and flavors of the local environment. The only thing that Italians everywhere have in common is that festivity itself always brings Italian families together to feast around a well-laden table. Otherwise, the list of typical dishes is long, and the regional diversity epitomizes the richness of Italian culture.

“Everyone interprets the ‘rules’ of Christmas dinner in their own way.”

20 recipes by Huffington Post for you.

And… what about the dessert? Panettone or Pandoro?

But be careful, this doesn’t mean only a simple choice. It’s a philosophy of life!

New Year

During next week we will be talking about New Year’s Eve traditions, don’t’ miss it!

La Befana

la befana

Christmas Holidays finish on the 6th of January, the day of “Befana”

Forget about Santa Claus, La Befana rules the day on January 6, the Day of Epiphany.

La Befana is a strange creature… we know it.

She comes to visit all children of Italy in the night between the 5th and 6th of January, to fill their socks with candy and presents if they’ve been good during the past year.

If they’ve been bad she only gives a lump of coal of some dark candies.

We can describe her as a witch with a long nose who flies on a


However she’s a good witch so the Italian families always leave her something to eat.

No, not milk. A glass of wine and food, pasta too. Remember, she is Italian,

she is a bit special!



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