Christmas 'Round the World

Italian Traditions - Buon Natale!

Christmas in Italy

The Italian Christmas is strongly based on the religion of Christianity and the season lasts for three weeks. Beginning December 17 with the Novena, eight days before Christmas and continuing until after the Feast of Epiphany January 6.


European Christmas in Italy

Rick Steves' European Christmas Part 8: Italy

Christmas in Italy

  • A strict fast is observed 24 hours before Christmas after which a meal with many dishes (but no meat) is served. The traditional Christmas dinner, Cenone, is made up of spaghetti and anchovies, an assortment of fish, fresh broccoli, tossed salad, fruits, and sweets.
  • The Urn of Fate, an old Italian tradition, is a large ornamental bowl that holds wrapped gifts for members of the family. When the family gets together, each member takes his turn at drawing a gift from the urn until all the presents are distributed.
  • Children in Italy hang up their stockings on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6. They celebrate the visit of the Three Kings to Bethlehem. Instead of Santa Claus, children are expecting Befana. She is a witch-like character who rides around on a broom.


Traditional Italian Christmas Goodies

Traditional Italian Christmas Carol

Natale - Christmas - Tu scendi dalle stelle