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Christmas in Italy: Five Things You Need to Know

Christmas 2019 may be just a distant speck on the horizon right now, but it will be here before you know it. That’s precisely why the midsummer is the perfect time to start planning for a fantastic Christmas in Italy.

As you’d expect, Italy really doesn’t mess around when it comes to the festive season. Italians take every excuse for a celebration seriously – Christmas being the predominantly catholic country’s biggest celebration of all.

From the biggest cities to the smallest villages and all of Italy’s wonderful coastal resorts, Italy really is a magical place to enjoy Christmas. For anyone thinking of heading out this year, here are five things you really need to know about Christmas in Italy:

  1. The Christmas Season Starts Late

In other parts of the world, it’s not uncommon to start seeing signs of Christmas as early as October. In Italy, the whole thing has an official start date – the 8th of December. This marks Feast of the Immaculate Conception – aka The Day of the Immaculate Conception – and is the date when all self-respecting homes and businesses deck the halls. It’s also on December 8th that father Christmas – aka Babbo Natale in Italy – can usually be spotted for the first time.

  1. Nativity Scenes Are Everywhere

Wherever you head in Italy, you can expect to be blown away by some of the most extraordinary nativity scenes in the world. Not that this is particularly surprising, given how approximately 70% of Italy’s total population is catholic.  The largest nativity scene is (of course) positioned outside Saint Peter’s in Vatican City, but some of the most creative and elaborate scenes are presented in Naples. There’s a fair amount of friendly competition and one-upmanship involved, resulting in mesmerising displays like nothing you’ve seen before.

  1. The Food…

Italy’s take on festive food is no less than a dream come true. Don’t forget – Christmas Eve is strictly a meat-free affair, so be sure to stick with the traditional customary pasta and fish. Eat your body weight in honey-drizzled fried dough balls (zeppole) and buy enough panettone to bring plenty home for those who weren’t fortunate enough to join you. From Christmas day onwards, anything goes – bring the biggest appetite of your life and your loosest clothing.

  1. Midnight Mass

Irrespective of your religion (or otherwise), heading to midnight mass is a quintessential Christmas experience in Italy. The most extraordinary of all being the Christmas Eve midnight mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica, for which tickets should be purchased as far in advance as possible. A truly magical way to welcome Christmas day.

  1. Check Out Italy’s Most Amazing Christmas Markets

Last but not least, almost every town and city across Italy has its own magical Christmas market. Nevertheless, some of the most enchanting of all can be found around Bolzano, Merano and Bressanone. Stock up on local crafts, taste the finest festive food Italy has to offer and soak up the magic of a truly unforgettable experience.

For more information on Christmas in Italy or to book your luxury excursion, contact a member of the team at Taols today.