Learn About Italian Christmas with Side Piece Pizza

Learn About Italian Christmas with Side Piece Pizza

Buon Natale From Side Piece Pizza!

In the United States, there’s a long-held argument about when the Christmas season officially begins. Stores would have you believe that it’s right before Halloween when they bust out the Christmas displays next to the costumes and pumpkins, while some people insist Christmas decorating and festivities need to wait until after Thanksgiving is over. In Italy, there’s actually a semi-official day: December 8th, the Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, since Italy is predominately Catholic. Come explore more of the traditions and customs of an Italian Christmas with Side Piece Pizza! 

Deck The Piazzas 

Italian Christmas decorations blend together religious and commercial themes. There are Christmas trees, lights, and wreaths in public spaces from small-town piazzas to huge attractions like the Duomo in Florance. There are a lot of presepi, which are nativity scenes, that are featured along with the other decorations, and of course, in front of churches. Presepi are considered works of art, and many are crafted by hand by professionals. One unusual Italian Christmas custom blends together decorations and gifts. Where you live in Italy determines when you actually open gifts–and also who brings them to you–but most Italians actually display their gifts on a ceppo, which is a pyramid-shaped holder adorned with candles. 

The…Eight…Days of Christmas?

In Italy, there are eight days before the actual Christmas Day called the Novena. That’s when you’re likely to see carolers, or if you’re south of Rome, there will also be bagpipers called zampgnari. Christmas Eve, or la Vigilia, sees smaller parties and lighter meals, where usually there is no meat served because you are preparing for the large feast the next day. Babbo Natale (literally “Daddy Christmas”) is Italy’s version of Santa Claus, with most of the same characteristics as the US version, except in Italy it’s completely fine to leave Babbo Natale a piece of pizza! That’s one custom that Side Piece Pizza–and plenty of parents–fully support! 

A Merry Big Christmas 

Christmas Day is when Italians present their license to eat. Celebrations start and lunch and go on for most of the day, with multiple courses of food and pasta. Some Italians open their gifts on this day from one another and from Babbo Natale, while some believe that Jesus actually brought the presents, and others still think that La Befana brings them on January 6th–more on that witch later. The day after Christmas is a national holiday called Santo Stefano, which is basically a Christmas extension to make sure all the food and merriment are consumed. Like the start of the Christmas season, the end of it isn’t official until another religious occasion: The Day of the Epiphany, on January 6. There are small celebrations on that day, and then the next day is when Christmas is officially over and all of the decorations come down. 


To order some delicious pizza for the holidays, check out Side Piece Pizza’s website. You can also view specials and hot takes on their Instagram!