Christmas Holidays: 10 good reasons to travel to Italy at Christmas time

Christmas is an important holiday in Italy and is celebrated in style throughout the country. Whether you're in Milan, Sicily or anywhere in between.

11 Dec 2018

1. New and old Christmas celebrations.

Christmas is an important holiday in Italy and is celebrated in style throughout the country. Whether you're in Milan, Sicily or anywhere in between, Christmas trees and decorations are put up on the 8th of December. Christmas carols and bagpipe music can be heard during the eight days before Christmas. Christmas Eve is all about midnight Mass or, alternatively, skiing in the Dolomite Mountains after dark.

2. Stunning Christmas markets.

Christmas markets in Italy look like something straight out of a traditional Christmas card. The beautiful architecture of a town square provides a classic backdrop for the rich red of the Christmas stalls. If you're lucky enough to visit while it's snowing it'll be picture perfect. Markets offer delicious traditional food, sell artwork and handicrafts, plus there are often games and entertainment, too. Perfect for Christmas holidays with the family.

3. Christmas holidays for kids

Thinking about where to go with kids for the Christmas holidays? In Italy, the Christmas period is a time of wonder and excitement for children. On Christmas Eve, Bobbo Natale, the equivalent of Santa, hands out sweets in town squares. There will probably be some mulled wine available for the adults, too.

4. Delicious food for the Christmas holidays

Panettone and pandoro are traditional Italian Christmas sweets. The origins date back to Roman times, when sweetbreads were first made. They have evolved over time but remain a firm favourite. The rich, buttery cakes are flavoured with honey and syrup, and some are filled with raisins and candied fruit.

5. Christmas holidays amidst unforgettable scenery

Italy is beautiful at any time of year, but there is something very powerful about the winter sky that makes it a special time to visit. Christmas holidays for couples are very romantic with the winter scenery as a setting. From the snow-peaked mountains of the north to the vineyards and picturesque villages of the south, Italy is always a treat for the senses. Take UNAHOTELS Capotaormina in Taormina, Sicily for example. A gorgeous hotel enhanced even more by the breathtaking backdrop of Mount Etna.


6. Superb Christmas holiday decorations

Annual winter visitors to the Vatican City will be well aware of the gigantic Christmas tree and life-sized nativity scene to be found in Saint Peter's Square. Town squares throughout the country are beautifully decorated for a wonderful Christmas atmosphere.

7. Living nativity performances

Along with carved nativity scenes on display around the country, there are also performances by up to 500 people depicting the nativity scene. Presepi viventi performances date back to 1223 in Greccio when Saint Francis of Assisi first held one.

8. Christmas holiday activities

In Rome, there is an outdoor ice skating rink near Castel Sant'Angelo. Of course, Christmas is a great time to go skiing in Selva or Livigno for thrills on the slopes during the day and curling up by the fire at night.

9. An Italian feast for the Christmas holiday

Forget the bland turkey, Italians do Christmas lunch in style. The meal usually starts off with a seafood salad, prawn cocktail or salmon. For the main course, a traditional baked pasta dish such as lasagne or pasticcio. To finish off the feast there will be Italian-style Christmas cake pandoro or panettone.

10. See the sights in a new light this Christmas holiday

A visit to Italy is not complete without visiting some of the world-famous sights. Visiting at Christmas gives a new perspective on the exquisite buildings we know so well. Whether they're topped with snow, surrounded by Christmas decorations or just seen in the hazy winter light, it will create a whole new experience. From the Colosseum to the Sistine Chapel, there are so many must-see places. Milan Cathedral, or Duomo di Milano, is reminiscent of a fantastical ice palace, making it the ideal place to visit at Christmas.

When you're deciding where to go for the Christmas holiday in 2018 there are plenty of sights and activities in Italy that will make it a trip to remember. Experience a new side to Christmas and celebrate it with the culture, sights, and tastes of Italy.