Christmas – it’s the most magical time of year – and is even more magical when you spend it in Italy. Christmas – or natale in Italian – still retains a very traditional feel in Italy. It hasn’t been tainted by too much commercialism.
Christmas markets spring up in piazzas. The holiday market in Rome’s Piazza Navona is one of the most noteworthy. Snack on some roasted chestnuts while you see if you can spot a Babbo Natale – that’s Santa Claus or Father Christmas.
Italians are BIG on nativity scenes or presepi. You can find one a manger and figurines in every home and church. There’s a whole street in Naples filled with artisans who craft them. Plus you will find living nativity scenes all over Italy – that’s where people dress up as Joseph, Mary, the three wise men and recreate the story of Christmas.
Christmas Eve is the big night in Italian homes. It’s the feast of the seven fishes. You’ve never seen so much seafood.
The Christmas season extends into the New Year in Italy. It doesn’t end until the Epiphany on January 6 when La Befana – a witch – delivers presents to the kids.