Italian Christmas Cuisine (A Little History & 4 Great Recipes)

Even today, Christmas continues to be one of the most important holidays of the year in Italy.  In Rome, the playful side of the holiday is displayed through the many decorations to be seen outside and inside of homes and business.  In essence, the streets of the Eternal City are glimmering with the spirit of the Christmas season.

Image from Serious Eats: Click Image for Italian Grilled Octopus Recipe.

Click per la versione italiana.

If Christmas is embodied by the presence of Il Presepe (Nativity Scene), then the Christmas Dinner is its perfect complement, one that is uniquely defined in italy.

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“Christmas is Here” – Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

“Hark how the bells, –        “Ascolta! Come le campane
sweet silver bells, –                 Dolci campane d’argento
all seem to say, –                   Sembrano tutte dire
throw cares away –                 Dimentica i crucci
Christmas is here, –            Natale è qui
bringing good cheer, –          Portando allegria
to young and old, –                       Al giovane e al vecchio
meek and the bold.” –                 Al mite e all’audace.”

Tanti Auguri e Buon Natale!!

  -Post by  Diedré Blake

In Rome on Christmas Day? No Sweat!

Italy is known for its focus on family.  Perhaps no other time shines the brightest spotlight on this aspect of Italian culture than the winter holiday season (with Easter coming in a strong second), and particularly Christmas Day.

As such, travelers to Rome will noticed that most (if not all) monuments, museums, and other attractions will be closed for the 25th, and perhaps have already been closed for the duration of the holiday period, i.e. until after the Epiphany.

xmas

Still, there is no need to despair.

Whether you are a traveler or resident, there are still ways that you can enjoy Christmas Day.  Remember public transportation is still operating, although the schedule and routes may be different for the holiday; and there will be some restaurants open, especially in the Jewish Ghetto. Of course, it is important to plan ahead for both journey and food! Continue reading…

In Rome, Prepare for Christmas with the Tradition of the Nativity

If for many Christmas is symbolized by the fir tree, the tree decorations, and by the miniatures of a jolly but belabored Santa Claus climbing into chimneys with his massive bag of gifts, then for many others the symbol of Christmas is represented by a crib.

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Click per la versione italiana

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MtG's Advent Calendar: 8 Days to Go…8 Facts to Know

With only 8 days to go, preparations of creating an unforgettable Christmas is in full swing in most homes throughout Italy, especially those in Rome.  This past Saturday, Pope Francis held the Vatican’s annual Christmas concert, featuring the likes of American singer-songwriter Patti Smith; and many other events are happening throughout the city over the next several days and beyond that. (Check out our previous post for a listing of some of those events: Winter in Rome).

(Video: He’s Ready for Holidays. Are You?)

Although Christmas is not celebrated by all who visit Rome or live here, the holiday certainly impacts the way in which the Eternal City is experienced during the winter.  To help you countdown to the 8 days to the big day, we’re sharing 8 facts about what it means to celebrate Christmas in Rome and the rest of Italy.  Feel free to share them with your friends!

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Winter in Rome: Markets & Holiday Events

Following up on our previous post, below are some ongoing events during this holiday season:

Christmas Markets (24 Nov. 2014 – 6 Jan. 2015)

La Befana Dolls at Christmas Market in Piazza Navona. Image by Samsonite Australia: http://www.samsoniteaustralia.com/

Piazza Navona is already of great historical and architectural renown, and its massive annual Christmas market adds a hefty dose of magic to this busy attraction.  On an average day, thousands of people make their way easily through the open stadium-shaped piazza.  During its Christmas market, however, the piazza is transformed into a crowded marketplace, filled with stalls selling all sorts of decorations (such as the Epiphany’s Befana dolls, shown above), foods (make sure to try a hot ciambella, shown below), jewelry, books, and a host of other things.

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Xmas is coming…

Christmas and New Year holidays are coming. Profit from car-free Sundays in various parts of the historical center, and discover every beauty of Rome.

Christmas is approaching with long afternoons and streets filled with tourists (and residents), who will walk, shop, and enjoy aperitifs in the heart of Rome’s beauty.

In particular, for the people staying in Rome during all the Christmas holidays, there are great possibilities to create a simple self-planned itinerary; a way that, without renouncing small gastronomic or relaxing pit-stops, enables the Eternal City, dressed up for the festivities, to offer to everybody the best show. Continue reading…