Il Natale in Italia



To say 'Merry Christmas' in Italian, you say 'Buon Natale'.  It actually means 'Good Christmas.'
Very often, you will see and hear 'Buone Feste.'   This means 'Have good festivities.'

Father Christmas is Babbo Natale.   

In Italy, some children write their Christmas letters to Babbo Natale and others write to the Baby Jesus - Gesù Bambino.

If you are writing to Father Christmas, your letter should begin:  Caro Babbo Natale,.......
If you write to the Baby Jesus your letter should begin:  Caro Gesù Bambino,.......


Baby Jesus.jpg

This means that on Christmas Day, some Italian children find presents left by Babbo Natale and others find gifts that have been left by Gesù Bambino

It all depends upon who they wrote to!

When an Italian baby is born around Christmas-time, often the child will be named Natale, meaning Christmas, or a name linked to Christmas:  Natalia,  Natalina.

The word Natale is about 'being born.'  The English words 'nativity' and 'natal' come from Natale.  The Nativity - la Natività - refers to the birth of the Baby Jesus.

The largest Christmas tree in the world can be seen every year in the Italian town of Gubbio
It is the illuminated shape of a Christmas tree, arranged on a mountain slope.  It is 650 metres long and 350 metres wide.  Eight and a half kilometres of electric cable are used to light up the shape.  It can be seen from very far away.  A team of workers called 'Gli Alberaioli' set up the famous tree on the slopes of Mount Ignacio every Christmas.   

the Christmas tree = l'albero di Natale


The Christmas tree of Gubbio is lit up on 7 December, just in time for the important Italian celebration of
la Festa dell' Immacolata on 8 December.  This date is a celebration in honour of the the Virgin Mary. 

The 8 December is the date when most Italian families begin to put up their Christmas trees and decorations and is considered to be the start of the festivities.

The Christmas tree has become the symbol of the town of Gubbio. 

The 13 December is the feast day of Saint Lucy - Santa Lucia.  In many parts of northern Italy, she brings gifts to children, rather like Father Christmas.  Children write a letter beginning Cara Santa Lucia,....   They write about how well-behaved they have been and the gifts they would like to receive.   Before going to bed on the night of 12 / 13 December, they leave their letter together with refreshments for the saint and her donkey.   In the morning they will awaken to find goodies and gifts!

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Saint Lucy trav