Christmas and New Year in Italy

Christmas and New Year in Italy

Christmas and New Year in Italy are special as there are lots of traditional events taking place over this time of year.


While there are lots of nativity scenes, seasonal recipes, theatre performances and concerts that you can enjoy, we share a treasure trove of events you could attend in Sardinia, Sicily, Puglia and the Neapolitan Riviera regions.



Event for Christmas


Sicilian Christmas cribs

Christmas cribs in Sicily

If you’re staying at the Verdura resort in Sicily you can easily visit the islands famous Christmas cribs.


This ancient Sicilian tradition is still hugely popular and you can see these nativity scenes that are centuries old and feature all across Sicily. The cribs are still open to visitors today and are often made from materials like bone, wood, terracotta, wax, silver and gold.


Most cribs can be seen inside churches or in squares, but there are also living nativity scenes, which have actors and actresses recreating famous scenes.


Some of the most iconic cribs can be seen in:


  • Caltagirone in Catania
  • Palazzolo Acreide, near Syracuse
  • Modica
  • The San Bartolomeo church in Scicli

Event for the New Year


Fireworks and concerts in Catania


If you are looking to start 2018 in Sicily you should head to Catania as the city will give you a warm welcome into the New Year.


There will be fireworks and the concert at the Teatro Lirico Vincenzo Bellini is set to take place on 1st January. There are also other concerts that usually take place throughout the city and many of the restaurants will be putting on special gala dinners.



Event for Christmas


Cagliari and Alghero

Christmas events in Sardinia

Cagliari and Alghero are great places to celebrate Christmas as there are lots of Christmas trees and lights on display.


In the main squares of Cagliari and other larger towns in Sardinia you can often try chestnuts, hot chocolate and Panettone, an Italian type of sweet bread loaf that is usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year. You could also try panforte in some of the squares, which is a traditional chewy Italian dessert that is made of fruits and nuts.


In other parts of Sardinia, especially in small inland villages, local shopkeepers and local people will open up their houses over the Christmas period to show off their home-made goods. These can vary from furniture and gifts to foods such as pastries.


Event for the New Year


Annu Nou Fest


At Teatro Massimo in Via De Magistris in Cagliari the Annu Nou Fest will be taking place.


This event will be attended by famous Italian directors Antonio Rezza and Flavia Mastrella and visitors can also listen to a performance from famous Cagliari band La Contrabbanda.


During the event you will also be able to taste rural food dishes from Chef Alberto Sanna and listen to a DJ set. The New Year event is perfect for families as there will be a dedicated children’s area.




Event for Christmas


Christmas markets in Puglia


To really get in the festive period, there are lots of enchanting Christmas markets across Puglia.


Lots of towns in the region have street markets that sell handmade crafts, antiques, traditional delicacies, artwork and other gifts.


One of the most famous Christmas markets in Puglia is located in the central square of Bari, Piazza dell’Economia. This market boasts live music, street theatre and lots of stalls.


There are lots of other popular Christmas markets in Puglia and they can be found in Ostuni, Lecce, Otranto and Martina Franca.


Event for the New Year


New Year on the square in Bari

New Year on the square in Bari

The main square in Bari is normally one of the most popular places for people to see in the New Year as there will be a stage which will host music and dancing from the best local talent. Even just visiting the main square and mingling with the large crowds is a great experience.


If you love fireworks, then you are in luck as there are lots of local firework displays across the streets of Bari.


Neapolitan Riviera


Event for Christmas

Neapolitan Riviera at Christmas

Piazza Lauro, Piazza Tasso and Piazza Sant’Antonino in Sorrento


Sorrento is a great place to visit over the Christmas period as the town centre is especially beautiful during this time of year with its streets lit with fairy lights and other decorations.


Piazza Lauro is decorated like a snow village and is a great place to start your Christmas tour of Sorrento. You should then head to Piazza Tasso as you can admire the amazing Christmas decorations and the huge Christmas tree.


Sorrento also has a Walt Disney Village and at Piazza Sant’Antonino you will be able to see all the famous characters in lights.


Event for the New Year


New Year’s Eve in Piazza Tasso


This New Year there will be an open air party at Piazza Tasso and the traditional Ciuccio di fuoco, a firework event, on the evening of December 31.


A popular activity to do for many Italians is to visit a traditional Neapoiltan restaurant and TavernAllegra is one great eatery you should consider eating at this New Year’s Eve. The restaurant is located in the central part of Sorrento and is just a short walk away from Piazza Tasso.


The restaurant’s special New Year’s Eve menu includes:


  • Raw ham and melon with a selection of canapes
  • Fresh noodles with tiny cuts of swordfish, eggplants and fresh tomatoes
  • Ravioli with creamed lemon sauce garnished with rocket and flakes of parmesan cheese
  • Fillet of fresh sea-bass in potatoes crust
  • Mixed salad
  • Basket of fresh fruits and Christmas sweets
  • Zampone with lentils