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fabulous celebrations in Italy this December

6 December 2023
Written by The Italy Insider


From Lake Como to Puglia, here are four fabulous celebrations for Christmas and New Years in Italy. We all love this country during spring and summer, but truth is, during winter it’s just as fascinating. From Christmas markets rimming the cobblestone tuscan streets to a greenhouse-turned-chocolate room up on Lake Como, Jazz nights in Umbria and long lasting dinners filled with endless culinary delicacies – only the best, to kickstart the new year. Read on to discover all the ins and outs.

1

villa d’este, Lake Como, Lombardia

As you stroll through an illuminated tree-lined avenue, the fairy tale truly begins within the opulent salons, marble columns, and grand staircases adorned with fir trees, golden ivy leaves, and vegetal coils wrapped in luminous threads, resembling a secret garden. In one wing lies the chocolate room—a Viennese-style lounge framed by red curtains—offering indulgent snacks of hot chocolate, pralines, cakes (including the iconic Sacher), chocolate fountains, panettoni, and other homemade delights. On the opposite wing, the greenhouse is transformed into a wooden chalet with sofas and tables around the bar crafting seasonal cocktails infused with citrus and other seasonal ingredients. In this fabulous setting conceived by Vincenzo Dascanio, Christmas and New Year’s lunches and dinners unfold, featuring a traditional menu with occasional flashes of creativity, such as goose with chestnuts and cabbage reminiscent of Lombard cassoeula, and recipes from Italians abroad, like orange and fennel salad. Come New Year’s Eve, two bands take the stage, and the arrival of the new year is celebrated with a spectacle of fireworks and music over the lake. The magic of Villa d’Este continues, where each moment is a chapter in the story of timeless elegance and indulgence. Read more here. WEBSITE SARA MAGRO

Celebrations at Villa d’Este
Christmas spirit at Castelfalfi

2

Castelfalfi, Toscana

You know Italy is beautiful from spring on but the true surprise is to catch the charm of its villages in winter. And guess what? Many resorts will stay open to throw down some fun Christmas and New Year’s activities and parties until January 7. New Year’s has two solid dates too. On December 31, for New Year’s Eve (called “Cenone” in Italy, meaning big dinner), it’s going down at the Country Clubhouse or the bistro with a James Bond-themed night. Dress sharp in a tuxedo or a fancy gown. Just like in Casino Royale, there’s roulette, live swing music, the whole deal. The day after, sleep in, hit up a late brunch at Olivina’s food stations, then take a lazy afternoon stroll on the estate to soak in the stunning views of hills, vineyards, and cypresses in this corner of Tuscany, one hour away both from Florence and Pisa. Read more here. WEBSITE SM

3

castello di Reschio, Umbria

Nestled in the meeting point between Tuscany and Umbria, where the magic of the Christmas season blends with the timeless elegance of jazz to create a harmonious gathering. The landscapes of Reschio resemble paintings by Perugino, whereas the Castle itself, an ancient Etruscan fortress, has been transformed into an exclusive, elegant hotel. The anticipation of 2024 is celebrated with the New Year’s Jazz Festival featuring the artistry of Veronica Swift and Steven Fiefke, accomplished musicians from New York, in three days of festivities. It all begins on Saturday, December 30th, with live jazz in the Ancient Stables, where you can witness the dressage of Spanish horses, explore xmas markets, seek fashion advice from experts or have your future predicted by fortune tellers. The evening continues with an intimate concert showcasing the talent of Veronica Swift, a prolific songwriter for renowned artists like John Legend, Ellie Goulding, Khalid, David Guetta, Diplo, and Beyoncé. She is accompanied by pianist Steven Fiefke, a young and prestigious Grammy winner. Following the concert, the night unfolds at the Casino in the Tobacco Drying Room with street food, drinks, music, and a raffle where ten lucky winners receive fantastic prizes. On Sunday, December 31st, celebrate with a sumptuous Gala Dinner and Dance, featuring Veronica Swift and Steven Fiefke, accompanied by the grand Daisy’s Big Band, promising an unforgettable evening of melody and dance—a return to the charm of bygone eras! Dance until dawn with the famous Parisian DJ’s set. Dress code: Old Hollywood Glamour and Black Tie. On Monday, January 1st, start by admiring vintage cars parading through the estate, followed by the New Year’s Jazz Brunch at the Stables Restaurant with Daisy’s Band performing Italian classics. A sweet beginning to 2024 to the rhythm of jazz notes and taste temptations. WEBSITE TERESA CREMONA

Counts Benedikt and Nencia Bolza, courtesy Reschio

4

Borgo Egnazia, Puglia

The celebration revolves around the square of Borgo, reconstructed like those of a traditional village, where people gather to chat. Even at Christmas, the intention is to create an epicentre with stalls, illuminations, Apuglian sweets, and music. It all begins on December 23 and continues until January 7, with lunches and dinners, cooking classes (including for children) and mixology lessons, vintage car tours to Monopoli, Alberobello, and other characteristic villages, or bike rides around. The festivities include an Apuglian menu on December 24, 25, and a panzerottata on Santo Stefano. On December 29, dinner is served at a table set in the “Lama del Trappeto” among the participants of the Living Nativity Scene. On December 31, the celebration starts with games for children and continues with a family aperitif with folk dances. The New Year’s Eve dinner takes place in the Arena, set up like a blooming garden. The dress code is classic with a floral touch. WEBSITE SM

Christmas atmosphere at Borgo Egnazia


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