Crazy Christmas traditions in Italy

We have recently wrote a few features on the more normal and formal traditions that go on in Italy, from eating panettone to the presepe (nativity scenes) that are seen across the country. However, this post is focused more on the weird but wonderful traditions that have braced the land; some are hilarious and other just plain crazy, and almost all of these can all be spotted if you are taking a trip to one of our luxury villas in Umbria this Christmas!

wine bottle Christmas tree near our luxury villas in Umbria

Wine tree

Of course the Italians are well known for their fine wines, and what better way to celebrate the festive season than creating an entire Christmas tree out of wine bottles? Piled high and coated in glitter, fairy lights and tinsel, these are some of the most show-stopping trees we have ever seen!

Salami tree

On the topic of trees, another unusual creation of the festive period in Italy is a salami Christmas tree. These are a specialty item that is not available everywhere, however, when wrapped in ribbon it certainly gives the tasty treat a Christmas glow!

Witch season?

During the Christmas period, aside from the mass of nativity scenes you will also see some magnificent witches around. You may be wondering which season it is, Halloween or Christmas? But don’t worry; this is just an unusually interesting tradition. She is called Befana and is almost like an alternative to Santa, ready to fill the children’s stockings with gifts!

Ice cream

It may be a little colder in winter, but the Italians would never give up a chance to celebrate an occasion with ice cream! One of the most common decorative designs found all over the country celebrates the humble gelato, and ice cream cones will be found lighting up many streets!


Chocolate advent calendars aren’t quite as big in Italy as they are in the UK, however, they have a much more extravagant version in some of the big cities! In Piazza Duomo, Milan, each window is given a number, and on that day an incredible performance will be displayed until the grand finale, on the 24th December, when all 24 windows will be light up with an exciting orchestra performance!

Grab yourself a calendar, hot off the press

The ‘hot priests’ calendar is a classic Christmas tradition, sold outside the Vatican are 2017 calendars with ‘the hottest priests’ pictured on each page. Not only do these offer a little eye candy, but are also very informative on the Vatican; it was first created to entice people in and educate them about the wonderful work done in this area.


Having been first created in Italy many, many years ago, Nutella is a festive family favourite in Italy. So festive in fact that the jars are gifted with different Christmas coloured lids to add to the spirit!

So, if you’re heading out to Italy over the Christmas period, look out for some of these fantastic Christmas traditions you can join in with!