Where to Spend Christmas in Italy

taly is one picturesque country in the world that astonishes its visitors with its warmth, creativity, passion and history. This country has that magical quality that crystallises in your memory for ever. With a number of things to do and see in Italy, this place has become one of the most coveted tourist destinations in the world. What can be a better time to travel to Italy than Christmas when all the places are brightly lit up and people swing on to the rhythms of Christmas carols. Let us explore the places that can fill up your itinerary of Italy during Christmas:

1. Rome & Vatican City

 


Rome is a mandatory place for sightseeing in Italy. Heading for Rome and Vatican city for Christmas is like getting two cities' worth of holiday in one spot. At the Vatican, the Pope delivers a Christmas Eve midnight mass, there's a huge Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square and a life-sized Nativity scene in front of the basilica. In Rome, the Piazza Navona turns into a Christmas market and Christmas Eve mass is held in historic churches throughout the city.

2. Venice
Christmas is the magical time to visit the city of Venice. No matter your age, you're bound to be charmed by the figure of Father Christmas arriving by gondola to distribute goodies, and Christmas Eve mass held in St. Mark's Basilica is enough to make any trip to Venice worth it.

3. Sicily
Sicily is the place with loads of Italian Christmas traditions and much milder weather. On Christmas Eve, the visitors will enjoy big bonfires, gorgeous beaches, and the entire festive atmosphere.

4. Abruzzo & Molise
Along with the Christmas markets and feasts that go along with the holidays throughout Italy, the Abruzzo and Molise regions are home to an older tradition which is not present in main tourist centers. Nine days before Christmas, the bagpipe-playing zampognari come down from the hills into the towns, symbolizing the shepherds who visited Jesus upon his birth.

5. Trentino-Alto Adige
Spend Christmas in the Trentino-Alto Adige and enjoy snowy winter scenery straight out of a postcard (the nearby Dolomites provide a pretty stunning backdrop) while you sip mulled wine in the market squares. This area is also a good base if you want to take day-trips into Venice or Veronawithout staying in either one the whole time, or if your idea of the perfect Christmas vacation includes access to world-class skiing.

6. Naples
Naples is home to a street that can rightfully be called "Christmas Alley" year-round. This city is the epicenter of Italy's Nativity scene tradition, and the shops along Via San Gregorio Armeno that make both the detailed structures and the myriad figurines that inhabit them work  all year long. The figurines range from the expected (holy family and shepherds) to the regional pizza makers. They come in all different sizes, including some that are more than a foot tall for larger Nativity scenes in shop windows and churches. It's an interesting stop in any season, but kicked into high gear over the Christmas holidays it all makes a little more sense.

 

Christmas in Italy from cristina di marco on Vimeo.


7. Florence
Florence is certainly enchanting during the holidays. Venture inside Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) for mass or enjoy hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts (bruciate) in any of the city’s many magical piazza’s.  And this city that has been celebrated throughout literature certainly becomes more enchanting during Christmas.

8. Milan
This is Italy’s metropolis of parties and fashion, where important events take place and famous artists stop to celebrate Christmas.  Restaurants and disco-pubs organize themed menus and original parties. Piazza del Duomo is the heart of the movida, and offers a magical atmosphere with fun initiatives and fireworks. Piazza del Castello is just as beautiful, and is ideal for those looking for a more romantic evening.

So let us travel to Italy to celebrate our Christmas, an event that would crystallise in your memory for ever.

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