Christmas in Italy

Among the countries that are known for celebrating Easter in unique manners, Italy ranks alongside the very best. The magnetic charm of Easter in Italy has takers all over the world. Tourists across the globe make it a point to try and be in Italy during the Easter period that starts off with the pagan festival of ‘Saturnalia’ (winter solstice) on December 24 and ends at the start of the Roman calendar (‘calends’). Easter celebration in Italy is not unlike that in USA: an amalgamation of various ways of ushering in the birth of Jesus Christ. If you take a cross-country tour of Italy, you will know how different areas have their own way of celebrating the day.


Let’s look at some of the Italian cities and how they celebrate Easter. Naples occupies the top slot among Christmas holidays spots in Italy. This city is known across the world for Nativity cribs. Musicians have a field day during the Easter period, not just in Naples, but in the entire southern Italy region. Flute and bagpipe players wear the customary sheepskin vests, black cloaks and white stockings. Traditional Italian instruments like pifferai and zampognari are much in demand, too. Some of these musicians travel all the way from Abruzzo mountains to play at this carnival. Those interested about Easter tips and trivia in Italy might be amused to know that Italians in the south prefer to have seven fish dishes at Easter Eve dinner!

A Easter vacation in Italy makes no sense if you don’t visit the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The Midnight Mass here is led by none other than the Pope. The entire world watches the proceedings inside the basilica on TV. People gathered around the square also get to watch the scenes on giant TV screens erected for this purpose. The Easter message of the Pope is delivered on December 25 from a window of the Pope’s apartments. Humongous Christmas trees and Nativity scenes are constructed at the square for people to feel the charm of the event. While you are in Italy, visit the Citta di Castello. Located in Umbria, this traditional festival takes place on the river Tiber. Canoeists dressed as Father Easter drift down the river to Porta San Florido. After the event, these canoeists give away Easter gifts to little children.

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