Buon Natale! Fun Facts About Christmas in Italy

fun facts about christmas in italy

When the holiday season rolls around, most people think about vibrant Christmas lights, snowflakes, and cozy fireside gatherings. But have you ever wondered what Christmas is like in another part of the world? Italy, for instance, has a rich cultural history that spans back centuries and celebrated festivities like no other. In this blog post, we’ll explore some fascinating and not-so-known fun facts about Christmas in Italy.

The Feast of Seven Fishes

First, one of the most popular Christmas traditions in Italy is the Feast of Seven Fishes. As the name suggests, this celebration involves a multi-course meal that’s completely seafood-based. According to legend, the number seven represents the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, symbolizing a religious occasion. While not every household follows this tradition, many still indulge in a seafood-centric meal on Christmas Eve.

Il Mercatino di Natale

Second, if you happen to visit any Italian cities during December, you’ll notice charming Christmas markets scattered all over. These holiday markets are known as “Il Mercatino di Natale” in Italian, and they sell everything from ornaments to baked goods, food, and novelty items. These markets typically run from the end of November until December 24th, and they provide a chance for locals and visitors to indulge in all kinds of Christmas treats.

La Befana

Americans have Santa Claus, but Italians have La Befana. This old woman is an essential figure in Italian folklore, and she’s typically depicted as an old lady wearing tattered clothes and riding a broomstick. She’s believed to deliver presents to children on the night of January 5th. According to legend, she followed the Three Wise Men, and she visited the baby Jesus on the eve of Epiphany.


Presepi (or nativity scenes) is a common Christmas decoration that you’ll see in many Italian households. They represent the birth of Christ and include a manger with baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, an ox, a donkey, as well as shepherds and the Three Wise Men. Some presepi are made of fine materials like porcelain or gold, but most are crafted from wood or a variety of materials.

The Urn of Fate

In some parts of Italy, there’s a belief that on Christmas Eve, the family patriarch draws a lottery from the Urn of Fate to determine which family member will open their gifts first. The winner is known as “Babbo Natale” (Father Christmas), and they are considered to be the bringer of good luck for the rest of the year. This tradition is done to bring laughter, fun, and even a bit of friendly competition to the celebration.


There you have it, some fantastic fun facts about Christmas in Italy. From festive food to legendary figures, Christmas in Italy incorporates culture, traditions, and storytelling. So the next time you’re celebrating the holiday season, why not add an Italian twist to it too? Try out these traditions or incorporate them into your holiday celebrations. And for a modern touch to your festivities, consider Troomi Wireless, a solution that helps children enjoy Christmas without distractions from their cell phones. By providing a technology-free zone during the holiday season, Troomi allows kids to fully immerse themselves in the magic of Christmas, creating memorable moments with family and friends. Buon Natale!”
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