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A Taste of Italian and Florentine Christmas Traditions

Christmas celebrations kick off on December 8th which is the day of the Immaculate Conception. This day is usually also the day when Christmas decorations are officially put out in the main piazzas and when Christmas markets start to open.
Then just eight days before the magical holiday, which are also known as the Novena, carolers go around singing traditional songs. And if you’re in southern Italy, you might encounter a bagpipe player or two.
As Italy is a country of beautiful art, nativity scenes are all around town once around Christmas time. These scenes are often times handmade and remain as an artisanal tradition around the country. If you happen to be in Naples around the holiday, check out their world famous handmade nativity scene in town.
As tradition has it, it is customary to not eat any meat on Christmas Eve. This is to cleanse and prepare the body for the actual Christmas day. A lot of Italian families will use Christmas Eve as a day to indulge on fish. Christmas day is the time to indulge on everything.
Lunch, rather than dinner, is the main meal on Christmas day. One highlight dish of the lunch is pasta in brodo, or pasta in broth. Each region decides what the tortellini is stuffed with. But the big thing to look out for is the dessert. Panettone, cavalluci, and pandoro are all popular dessert choices during the holiday.
In Florence, there are two notable Christmas markets. One is the German Christmas market in Santa Croce and the other is the Florence Noel at the Leopolda Center (7 euro entrance fee). The markets are run until Christmas Eve, so take a look at what the wondrous markets have to offer. In addition, other winter activities that are available around Florence is to ice skate. You’ll be able to ice skate at Parterre or even snow tube in Obi- hall.
As for food, it is the same fare as the rest of Italy: Taking it light on Christmas Eve and indulging on Christmas. One thing to watch out for is the day of the Epiphany on January 6. Florence celebrates the day with the “Cavalcade of the Magi,” which is a grand parade in the historical center. The parade represents the journey of the Magi and the delivery of the gifts to baby Jesus.


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