Christmas Traditions and Festivities in Italy

Christmas Traditions and Festivities in Italy

Nativity crib scenes, illuminated Christmas trees and decorated houses and streets are the highlight of Christmas festivities and celebrations in Italy. Cribs are considered to be the ultimate way of telling the famous Christmas story and Naples being the crib capital of the world, garners a lot of attention from both Italians as well as international tourists. Tourists arriving in any part of Italy can book reasonably- priced rental cars through and arrive in the city of Naples for participating in the true spirit of Christmas here.

Christmas being one of the major festivals across the globe, is celebrated with huge pomp and zeal in Italy as well. Italian Christmas is a three- week deal which commences 8 days before the occasion of Christmas Eve, which is also known as Novena and it concludes only after the famous Feast of the Epiphany.

Across all prominent destinations in Italy, the arrival of the Holy Season is announced from the Castle of Saint Angelo in Rome by firing cannons. Exactly eight days before the arrival of the Christmas Eve, all churches begin a special prayer which only concludes with the arrival of Christmas.

If you happen to be arriving in Italy during the Holy Season, there are a plethora of activities and Christmas rituals that you can become a part of. Italian Christmas markets and nativity cribs bring the entire country to life across both the metropolitan cities as well as the countryside.


Naples is a great place to visit in Italy during Christmas if you are a fan of Nativity cribs. Some Christmas traditions and rituals are unique to this part of Italy such as the iconic Christmas Eve dinner as well as the decoration of streets, houses and shops with lights, stars and Christmas- specific ornaments. In Naples, flute players and bagpipers are a traditional part of the holiday season who dress up in their festive best in white stockings, sheepskin vests and dark cloaks and they are often seen traveling from the mountainous regions of the Abruzzo to perform in front of the prominent city squares and churches in the city.


Much like the Christmas celebrations and rituals in Naples, Rome also sees bagpipers and flute players performing at large during the holiday season. Nighttime Christmas markets, gigantic Christmas trees and nativity cribs on display mark the beginning of this festival in Rome.


Snow covered streets and dropping temperatures fail to stop people in Milan from decorating the streets with lights, ornaments, ribbons and stars. The entire city wraps itself in a warm ambience with shop windows and houses decorated with lights and stars. The festivities start much before the Christmas Eve and continue till 6th January (Day of the Befana) with several performances and fun activities adding to the zeal of both locals and tourists in Milan. You can also find plenty of Christmas stands located behind the Duomo as well as in the main square.


Florence turns from a modern- day city to a traditional one with the decorations and lights marking the beginning of the festival season here. Florence’s Christmas markets are popular all over Italy, particularly for people who visit these with their families. There are a number of exciting activities, shows as well as concerts arranged for the public across all the streets in Florence with several different kinds of cakes ad eateries available to be tasted for free.


Winters are usually cold and damp in Venice; however, Christmas brings the magic back to this Italian city. Hot- spiced wines and plethora of lip- smacking holiday dishes are sold in the Christmas markets here as well as prepared at homes. Tourists particularly enjoy the sight of the Father Christmas arriving by a gondola for distributing goodies. This is followed by the Christmas Eve mass which is held at the St. Mark’s Basilica, which makes visiting Venice during Christmas a great experience for all visitors.

Vatican City

Probably one of the greatest Christmas Eve celebrations takes place in the Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City where the Pope himself graces the gathered people with the popular midnight mass. Locals and tourists gather in the Saint Peter’s Square here to watch the mass on big screens where the Pope also delivers Christmas message during noon time straight from his apartment overlooking the St. Peter’s Square. You can also see a large Christmas tree as well as the nativity crib scene here which is erected right in the middle of the square.


Torino is located in the Piemonte region towards the north of Italy and this city gets illuminated with lights and stars with the arrival of the Christmas season. More than 20 kilometers of the town square and streets in Torino are decorated with colorful Christmas lights by some of the most celebrated illumination artists in Europe from the beginning of December through January.


Popularly known as the city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona comes to life with the advent of the holiday season here. The Christmas market here is illuminated with decorative lights with a star and illuminated arch pointing towards the night market. With the Roman Arena displaying nativity scenes and some of the highest Christmas trees, Verona is a great place to visit with your families during Christmas.

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