Christmas might be a time for gathering around the tree and exchanging gifts.
11 Dec 2018
It's easy to get to, full of irresistible destinations, and there's no better place to consume Christmas feasts.
Well, that's what we think, anyway. At Gruppo UNA, we operate luxury hotels all across Italy, from Milan to Sicily. And when you look through our hotels, we're sure you'll find a seasonal vacation destination to excite your imagination.
But if you need a helping hand, we've put together a quick guide to some of the best places in Italy for Christmas travels. There should be something here for everyone: couples, singles, families, and groups of friends. So give yourself the gift of travel this year, and spend the holidays with us.
Experience the magic of Venice during your Christmas travels.
First on the list is Venice - one of the most unusual and beautiful cities in the world. December is a wonderful time to visit the city of canals, as the summer crowds aren't a factor, and the local community embraces the festive season in style.
Seasonal highlights this year include performances of Swan Lake by the Moscow State Ballet at the Teatro Goldoni, as well as the annual Christmas concert at St Mark's Cathedral, where musicians of the Cappella Marciana conjure up a festival of sounds in beautiful surroundings.
Watch master musicians recreate the style of the 18th century at the Scuola Grande di San Teodoro, or just book yourself onto a canal and lagoon tour, with complementary food and drinks - and sublime urban scenery.
Whatever you choose to do, staff at our local properties like the Maison Venezia | UNA Esperienze will make the right ticket bookings and suggest eateries - helping to make your stay as special as possible.
Discover the Eternal City at Christmas time
Alternatively, you could pay a Christmas visit to Rome. Italy's capital is one of Europe's great tourist destinations, thanks to its wealth of ancient remains, the presence of the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica, as well as endless artistic masterpieces at the Villa Borghese.
But there are special reasons to visit the capital when Christmas is just around the corner. Firstly, there are wonderful markets dotted around town. Head to places like the Piazza Navona to pick up finely crafted gifts, Italian sweets, and handmade toys.
In the centre of town, streets like the Via del Corso are brilliantly illuminated throughout December, while the city's churches house lovingly created nativity scenes. These models are often incredibly detailed, showing the spiritual side of the season - and they make these gorgeous churches even more spectacular.
So if you want to brush up on your Roman history, see the Colosseum, and descend the Spanish Steps without hordes of tourists, make a booking at the UNAHOTELS Decò Roma - our leading site in the capital.
Witness the beautiful cribs of Napoli
Further south, Napoli (Naples) offers just as much interest and romance during the Christmas season. Here, the star of the show is the city's tradition of creating Christmas cribs (or 'presepes'). Head to the unique Via San Gregorio Armeno to see countless stores selling these nativity toys, as well as colourful figurines to take home.
After that, be sure to visit the Museo Nazionale di San Martino, which houses what is thought to be the largest nativity scene in the world, with more than 150 separate characters. It may not be realistic, but it's a wonderful representation of the Christmas story.
Napoli is also an intoxicating city. Its street markets, alleys and stunning location create an atmosphere like no other Italian city. But just like other destinations, there are plenty of Christmas events. Head to the Piazza del Plebiscito in the historic centre for concerts throughout the festive period.
Enjoy Italy's Christmas traditions
Wherever you go, expect to have the chance to pass the festive season in typically Italian ways. For example, in Italy, we don't tend to eat turkey and roast potatoes for Christmas dinner.
A classic Italian "natale" Natale dinner varies. On Christmas Eve, expect plenty of seafood dishes on restaurant menus, as Italians do away with meat and fast in preparation for the feasts to come.
And when Christmas Day arrives, relax and prepare for a banquet like no other. Charcuterie platters heaped with salumi and other cured meats combine with regionally specific baked pasta dishes, before the centrepiece arrives, in the form of braised beef or veal. And it's all rounded off in style by characteristic desserts like pandoro or pannettone.
If you're not sure where to find a typical festive meal, ask at the desk of your Gruppo UNA hotel. If our on-site restaurants aren't available, we can point you towards the ideal dining destination.
So pick your Italian city, book your flights and choose a premium hotel from our portfolio. Wherever you choose, we will strive to ensure that your Christmas travels in Italy result in the merriest festive experience ever. That's our gift to everyone who stays, and we'll be delighted to share December with you.