It's never too early to look forward to the festive season - Christmas is a magical time to enjoy a break in the snow and catch some Christmas holiday sun, the perfect opportunity to escape and indulge. It's also the beginning of the ski season and a great time of year to head to the slopes; rental prices prior to New Year are generally very low, you will get a guaranteed white Christmas and beautiful scenery to match!
Visiting Italy during the Christmas season ensures you will get to see the country decked out in all its holiday finery and you'll find a festive atmosphere in every corner of the country. Italian ski resorts with old centres such as Sauze D’Oulx, Cortina and Courmayeur sparkle with an unparalleled elegance, and the exuberant, generous Italian spirit is apparent everywhere. Christmas is by far the most important holiday of the year in Italy with the festivities lasting from December 24th through to January 6th.
Most piazzas will be adorned with huge Christmas trees and expect elaborate Nativities everywhere; crib displays and nativity scenes are a pride of Italy and you will see most shops heralding detailed structures and a myriad of figurines.
On the slopes
Strangely enough, Christmas week is a joy in most resorts with uncrowded slopes and great early season conditions – most Italians are preoccupied with the festivities at home and escape to the ski resorts mostly for elaborate meals and the atmosphere. Only the days leading up to New Year tend to be busier. In addition to skiing, there are lots of winter activities like dog-sledding and snowmobiling, in a truly unrivalled destination for a Christmas holiday.
Across the country, in the northern Alps of Italy, an amazing site is unfolding. At midnight to announce the Birth of Christ, many instructors ski down the mountainside carrying flaming torches. As they crisscross over the slopes, they cause the mountain, itself to appear decorated with Christmas lights. This spectacular event is called Fiaccolate delgi Sciatori. Expect to see something similar on New Year’s Eve.
Off the slopes
Spend Christmas in Italy and you'll have snowy winter scenery straight out of a postcard; in Trentino, the nearby Dolomites provide a pretty stunning backdrop as does Gressoney in the Monterosa ski area, while you sip mulled wine in the market squares.
Christmas Markets in Italy are popular both with the locals and visitors from abroad. A visit to an Italian Christmas Market is one to remember, especially the smaller Italian Christmas Markets in the Italian Alps, for example the Trentino region. The stallholders will have mouth-watering displays of local food and drink plus of course the usual array of locally manufactured seasonal gift items.
The food and drink
Natale is one of the few occasions of the year in which ancestral traditions are revered above all else. You may have more simplistic food on the slopes but back in the resort, expect very elaborate banquets and fabulous dishes. You won’t be able to escape the abundance of panettone, Vin brule (mulled wine) and Bombardino , the Italian version of eggnog.
Finding availability during Christmas week will be easier than you think – Sat 21 – Sat 28 is the main rental period for apartments and hotels will provide some further flexibility on dates. Expect apartment prices to be reasonable for this time of year. Here are a few suggestions to make your Christmas in Italy special:
Bormio Baita del Sole apt – 1 bed apt in Bormio £627.00 21-28/12 (28/12-04/01 £1,682)
Casa Sestriere – 1 bed apt in Sestriere £945 21-28/12 (28/12-04/01 £1,551)
Santa Cristina – 2 bed apt in Selva Val Gardena £810.00 21-28/12 (28/12-04/01 £2,274)
Sauze Apartment 2 – 2 bed apartment in Sauze £730.00 21-28/12 (28/12-04/01 £1,395)
Aosta Residence 1 – 1 bed apartment in Sauze £909.00 21-28/12 (28/12-04/01 £1,272)
Chalet Campiglio 5 – 1 bed apartment in Madonna di Campiglio £875.00 21-28/12 (28/12-04/01 £2,330)
Chalet Courmayeur – studio in Courmayeur £936.00 21-28/12 (28/12-04/01 £1,315)
For some further ideas on where to stay, please send us an enquiry.
Let someone else worry about cooking the turkey this year and escape to a Christmas ski holiday in Italy!