Christmas is a time for families in Italy. For many the festivities start on Christmas Eve - La Vigilia -, and many shops and businesses close in the afternoon on the 24th. A Midnight Mass is held in every church on Christmas Eve, usually well attended as people celebrate the beginning of the Christmas period.

Christmas day centres around a big family lunch, after which people may venture out for an afternoon stroll, or play games at home.

The 26th is Santo Stefano (St Stephen) and is also a national holiday. While many go back to work on the 27th, some are on holiday until Jan 2nd, or even Jan 7th (after Epiphany), like the schools.