Italian Christmas is a mix of old traditions and a few modern touches. However, in
the heart of Italy they celebrate Christmas for the birth of Jesus, with food
and family by their sides.
Unlike the UK and
US their main meal is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve. The meal is called
The Feast of the Seven Fishes, or cenone, meaning big dinner. Traditionally,
Catholics will not eat meat leading up to Christmas Day which is why fish is
often the chosen choice.
Once the dinner
has finished, many Italians head off to midnight mass which is an important
part of Christmas for any Italian family.
When Christmas Day arrives, family and delicious food remains at the heart of the festivities.
However, the menu is very different from food you may be used to. The main
course will typically include tortellini in chicken stock, crostini with liver
pâté along with oysters. The food varies across the regions, for example, many
families in Northern Italy tuck into lo zampone, which is a pigs foot with
However, the menu
isnt set in stone, as many families opt for fish or lamb for their main course
which is usually accompanied by vegetables.
tradition is il presepe. Many churches, public buildings and homes display a
wooden frame with hand-carved figures of Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus in the
stable. If you are staying in one of our luxury villas in Italy, you will
see many different nativity scenes throughout the region. Shelves support the
frame to make a pyramid shape which is several feet high, and it is decorated
with pine cones, candles and coloured paper. On the shelves above the manger
usually have small gifts, fruit and sweets sitting on them.
adopt the European tradition by decorating an evergreen in their home as well
expecting Farther Christmas on Christmas Eve.
celebrations tend to last for around three weeks, it starts on December 17 and
ends January 6. This can be the perfect time to visit the country as there is so
much going on, and everyone is in high spirits and full of festive cheer.
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