Italiens Tag der Republik

June 2: Italy’s Republic Day

Read this article in italian

On June 2 is Italy’s Republic Day. In 2021 the Italian Republic will be 75 years old! But why is it celebrated on June 2? Let’s find out together. Together with the video you will find exercises that are suitable for both classroom use and self-paced learning. Have a good study!

Video: Italy’s Republic Day

June 2: Italy’s Republic Day. Why?

Italy’s Republic Day is celebrated on June 2 and it’s a holiday, so no school or work. Why June 2? Between June 2 and 3, 1946 a referendum was held to decide what form of government to give to the country: monarchy or republic? The Republic won with 54% of the votes, just over half. Italy thus became a Republic!

scheda elettorale - June 2: Italy's Republic Day

1861-1946: The Kingdom of Italy

Before becoming a Republic, Italy was a monarchy. From the Unification of Italy in 1861 until 1946, so for a total of 85 years, Italy was called the Kingdom of Italy and was a constitutional monarchy. There were four Kings of Italy: Victor Emmanuel II (1861-1878), Umberto I (1878-1900), Victor Emmanuel III (1900-1946) and the last one, Umberto II, who ruled just over a month, from May 9 to June 18, 1946, and was therefore nicknamed “King of May”.

And then… the Republic!

And so from 1946 Italy is a Republic. The first Prime Minister (1946-1953) was Alcide De Gasperi, who played a major role in the birth of both the Italian Republic and the European Union.

Alcide de Gasperi 2 - June 2: Italy's Republic Day

The emblem of the Italian Republic

emblema repubblica italiana - June 2: Italy's Republic Day

The emblem of the Italian Republic is composed of several symbolic elements:

  • The Star of Italy, a white five-pointed star with a red border. It is the most ancient symbol used to represent Italy. In fact it is found in many iconographies together with the personification of Italy.
italia turrita - June 2: Italy's Republic Day
  • The cogwheel, symbol of work. This symbol represents Article 1 of the Italian Constitution, according to which Italy is a democratic republic founded on labor:

“Italy is a democratic Republic, founded on labor. Sovereignty belongs to the people, who exercise it in the forms and within the limits of the Constitution.”

  • The olive branch, a symbol of peace and the oak branch, a symbol of strength and dignity. Both branches represent very typical trees in Italy.

Hymn of Italy (Hymn of Mameli)

The hymn has several stanzas, here you can find the parts of the song that are usually sung, namely the first stanza and the refrain.

Inno dItalia.001 - June 2: Italy's Republic Day

Italiano

Fratelli d’Italia,
l’Italia s’è desta,
dell’elmo di Scipio
s’è cinta la testa.
Dov’è la vittoria?!
Le porga la chioma,
ché schiava di Roma
Iddio la creò.
(x2)
Stringiamci a coorte,
siam pronti alla morte,
siam pronti alla morte,
l’Italia chiamò.
Stringiamci a coorte,
siam pronti alla morte,
siam pronti alla morte,
l’Italia chiamò! Sì!

Inglese

Brothers of Italy,
Italy has woken,
bound Scipio’s helmet
Upon her head.
Where is Victory?
Let her tender her hair to Rome,
Because [as a] slave of Rome
God created her.
(x2)
Let us join in a cohort
We are ready to die,
We are ready to die,
Italy has called.
Let us join in a cohort,
We are ready to die.
We are ready to die,
Italy has called! Yes!

Tedesco

Brüder Italiens,
Italien hat sich erhoben,
Und hat mit Scipios Helm
Sich das Haupt geschmückt.
Wo ist die Siegesgöttin Victoria?
Sie möge Italien ihr Haupt zuneigen,
Denn als eine Sklavin Roms
Hat Gott sie erschaffen.
(x2)
Lasst uns die Reihen schließen,
Wir sind bereit zum Tod,
Wir sind bereit zum Tod,
Italien hat gerufen!
Lasst uns die Reihen schließen,
Wir sind bereit zum Tod,
Wir sind bereit zum Tod,
Italien hat gerufen! Ja!

Explanation

Italians, we are all brothers despite cultural differences. Our nation has woken up and put on its head the helmet of Scipio Africanus, the Roman leader who defeated Carthage, the greatest enemy of ancient Rome. Italy is destined to win because it is heir to ancient Rome, which has always been victorious. The goddess Victory is bound to Rome by God’s design, through its many victories she became its slave and as such, she must give to Rome her hair (slaves used to have their hair cut). So let us unite as an army in battle (the cohort was a military unit of the Roman army), willing even to die for Italy.

Learn more!

LETTERATURA: Dante e la Divina Commedia
CORSO D’ITALIANO: Italian Course A1
STORIE: Read stories in Italian

Main source information and song translations: Wikipedia
The song of the hymn of Italy is taken from kiwanis.it

25 April – Italy’s Liberation Day

Read this article in Italian

April 25 is Italy’s Liberation Day, La Festa della Liberazione. It celebrates the liberation of Italy from Nazi fascists and commemorates the partisans and the Italian resistance. The symbol of this day is the song Bella Ciao. Let’s discover the history of this day together!

You can find the VIDEO in Italian with EXERCISES here

25 April: Italy’s Liberation Day

25 aprile in italia milano - 25 April - Italy's Liberation Day

April 25 is Italy’s Liberation Day. It is celebrated the liberation of Italy, which took place in 1945, from the fascist dictatorship of Mussolini and the German Nazi occupation. We remember in particular the Italian Resistance formed by partisans who helped the Anglo-American forces to liberate Italy. As a symbolic date was taken the liberation of the city of Milan on April 25, 1945.

In Italy, April 25 is a public holiday, so you don’t go to work or school. The cities organize various events and the event in Milan is especially big.

The symbol of this day is the partisan song Bella Ciao, which has become world famous thanks to the Netflix series la casa de papel.

A little history

Let’s start with the fascist regime of Mussolini. Mussolini was the leader of the National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascista) and organized the famous March on Rome in 1922. About 50,000 Blackshirts (Mussolini’s forces) marched to Rome, where the Italian King Vittorio Emanuele III was staying. Mussolini wanted to gain leadership of the Kingdom of Italy and threatened to seize power by force. The king gave in to Mussolini’s pressure and instructed him to form a new government. Thus began the Fascist regime (1922-1945), which developed into a full-fledged dictatorship.

The Second World War (1939-1945)

In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland and thus began the Second World War. Italy entered the war a year later, in 1940, alongside Hitler. Italy and Germany, together with Japan, formed the so-called Axis Powers. On the other side fought the Allies, whose four main powers were the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, the United States and China.

25 aprile

1943: Armistice

In 1943 the war did not go very well for fascist Italy. On July 9, the Allies landed in Sicily and on July 25, the king had Mussolini arrested and his place in the government was taken by General Badoglio. On September 8, Italy signed the armistice with the Allies, so Italy was no longer fighting the Anglo-American forces.

At this point, the German army liberated Mussolini and occupied the territories in northern and central Italy as far as Rome. The king fled Rome and sought refuge further south where the Allies were. On Hitler’s orders, Mussolini established the Italian Social Republic (RSI) in the north, also known as the Republic of Salò. This was not a real state, but a puppet state under the control of the German military. Rebel groups, the partisans, formed in the areas occupied by the Nazi fascists.

Who were the partisans?

The partisans were the Italian resistance against the fascist dictatorship and the Nazi occupation. Their help was crucial for the liberation of Italy by Anglo-American troops. The partisans were common people who armed themselves as best they could. They belonged to different political tendencies (communists, shareholders, monarchists, socialists, democrats, liberals, republicans, anarchists) gathered in the Committee for National Liberation (it. Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale). They hid mainly in the mountains and weakened the enemy with insurrections and sabotage, for example by damaging communication and transportation routes. Women also played an important role and were often the relay women, carrying information and messages.

25 aprile

The general insurrection

In April 1945, the general insurrection was organized by the partisans and the majority of the Italian cities of northern Italy were liberated before the arrival of the Allied troops. On April 25, the city of Milan, seat of the Partisan Command of Upper Italy, was liberated and this date was taken as a symbolic date for the liberation of all Italy from the Nazi fascists.

The end of the war

On April 28 Mussolini was killed and on May 2 the Surrender of Caserta (it. Resa di Caserta) was signed, sealing the end of the war in Italy. A few months later, on September 2, 1945, the Second World War ended worldwide.

The Resistance played a fundamental role in the liberation of Italy and in it can be seen the origins of the Italian Republic. The Italian Constitution was written by exponents of the political parties that had created the Committee for National Liberation. They based the Constitution on the synthesis of their respective political traditions and inspired it with the principles of democracy and anti-fascism.

25 aprile in italia liberazione - 25 April - Italy's Liberation Day
25 aprile venezia - 25 April - Italy's Liberation Day

Bella Ciao

Bella Ciao

Oh bella ciao! Bella ciao! Bella ciao, ciao, ciao!

Listen to the song in Italian and read the translation.

Impara di più!

LETTERATURA: Dante and the Divine Comedy
CORSO D’ITALIANO: Corso d’italiano A1
STORIE: Read a story in Italian

19 March – Father’s Day in Italy

Did you know that Father’s Day (it. la Festa del Papà) in Italy is on March 19? Why? What do people do on this day? Let’s learn more about Father’s Day in Italy!

Father's Day in Italy

La Festa del Papà

Father’s Day is celebrated in Italy on March 19 because it is San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s Day). Joseph is considered the symbol of the father figure: good, hardworking, understanding and able to raise the Son of God. That is why all fathers are celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day!

On this day in Italy, people wish Tanti auguri to their own father and grandpa, (who is also a father), and in general Tanti auguri a tutti i papà, all the best to all fathers! 

March 19 is not a holiday in Italy, however, and people go to school or work as normal. Children draw pictures and write little poems. 

Le zeppole di San Giuseppe

The zeppole di San Giuseppe are the traditional sweets of this day. They are small doughnuts made of Choux pastry and canned black cherries.
These sweets are attributed to the saint because it is said that during his escape to Egypt, in order to escape from the terrible King Herod, Joseph was forced to sell some kind of doughnuts to support his family.

Una poesia per la Festa del Papà

Lo conoscete il mio papà?
Ve lo presento: eccolo qua!
Ma non è vero che è un tesoro?
Un paparino tutto d’oro.
Se fa il severo, quando s’arrabbia, mi dice: “A letto!”
Io lo abbraccio, gli do un bacetto.
A questo punto subito molla,
diventa dolce, di pastafrolla.

Translate

Do you know my dad?
Meet my dad: Here he is!
He is a sweetheart, isn’t he?
A golden daddy.
When he’s strict, when he gets angry, he says to me, “To bed!”
I hug him, I give him a little kiss.
Then he gives up right away,
he becomes sweet, of shortcrust pastry.

Auguri a tutti i papà!

Fonti: Design immagini: Italiano Bello, Immagine vettoriale papà e bambina: Freepik, Foto Zeppole: GialloZafferano, Poesia: pianeta-bambini.it (autore ignoto).

8 March – Women’s Day in Italy

Did you know that in Italy for Women’s Day women receive mimosa flowers? But why? Learn more about Women’s Day in Italy and Italian traditions!

Women's Day in Italy

La Festa della Donna

Since 1977, Women’s Day has been an international event. On this day, the social and political struggles are remembered, with which women gained the rights that have always been normal for men. However, giving mimosa flowers (it. la mimosa, pl. le mimose) is a purely Italian custom.

Why women receive mimosa in Italy?

In 1946, Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time throughout Italy. It was organized by the Women of UDI (Unione Donne Italiane – Union of Italian Women) and mimosa flowers was chosen as a symbol for this day.

Why mimosa? The mimosa is beautiful, unusual, blooms between February and March and is inexpensive, so anyone can give it as a gift (even though the prices of mimosa bouquets usually rise sharply on Women’s Day!).

The mimosa was also chosen for its properties: It is a flower that, despite its apparent fragility, can grow on difficult terrain. Perfect to represent women!

For over 70 years in Italy it has been a tradition to give beautiful yellow mimosa flowers to women – whether wives, sisters or mothers – on March 8!

Auguri a tutte le donne!

viaggiare

The Carneval in Venice

Venezia, La Serenissima, is not only famous for its countless canals, bridges and palazzi, but also for the Carnevale di Venezia. Have you always wondered what the elaborate masks and costumes are all about? What is typical for the Venetian carnival? Then you will like this article. We have summarized the most important information about the topic. Learn more about the carnival in Venice. Buona lettura!

The Carneval in Venice

carnevale venezia - The Carneval in Venice

The origin of the Venetian carnival dates back to ancient times. For the first time a carnival festival was mentioned in 1094. The first verifiable mask dates back to the 13th century. The carnival became really posant during Casanova’s lifetime in the 18th century. One of the reasons for this was that customs became more and more relaxed. The carnival also provided anonymity, because the masks made it difficult to see who was hiding behind them. Thus, everyone was equal, regardless of whether they were rich or poor in real life.

In the past, the festivities began right after Christmas on December 26 and lasted six weeks until Ash Wednesday. Today, the Venice Carnival lasts eleven days, starting on the Saturday before Giovedì Grasso (Fat Thursday) and ending on Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins.

The most famous masks

The masks and costumes are as diverse as the city of Venice itself. A distinction is made between half and full masks. Here we have for you a small overview of the most popular masks:

venice during carnival - The Carneval in Venice

Bauta

The Bauta is the most typical mask of the Venetian carnival. It is very expressive and colorfully versatile. However, it is often seen in white in combination with a black cape and a tricorn. The mask has a pronounced chin area and it is possible to eat and drink under the mask.

maschere veneziane 3 - The Carneval in Venice

Dottore della Peste

Dottore della Peste mask is probably a bit scary. Also because the masking comes from the 17th century, where it was actually worn by the "plague doctor". Characteristic of this mask is the long beak. This should ensure the distance between patient and doctor. In the past, anyone who saw the "plague doctor" with his mask, long leather robe, hat and gloves would take flight. Thus, this masking probably still has a somewhat threatening effect today.

tradizioni

Volto

The Volto mask is probably the best known and popular. As the name (volto = face) suggests, the entire face is covered. The mask offers an enormous variety in terms of design. They are available: monochrome, colorful, as a neutral, laughing, crying or angry face. The Volto mask is very popular with young and old and is worn with pleasure.

carnevale di venezia 01 39914155 - The Carneval in Venice

Colombina

The Colombina is one of the half-masks. It is wing-shaped and covers only half of the face. The name is derived from the shape and means "little dove". Most often this mask is worn by women, so it is a sign of femininity and at the same time very sensual. The Colombina is available in one color but also in colorful and often decorated with glitter and stones. This mask is also very popular outside the carnival.

zanni - The Carneval in Venice

Zanni

The half mask Zanni is a must at the Venetian Carnival. (Do not confuse with the Medico della Peste mask!) Typical for the Zanni is the long and pointed nose. The mask is available in one color but also elaborately coloured. In black, the Zanni mask is very popular and looks gloomy and dangerous. It is said that Death wore such a mask when he passed through Venice.

Il Volo dell'Angelo

voloangelo12477 carnevale venezia 1 - The Carneval in Venice

The official start of the Carnevale di Venezia is the Volo dell’Angelo (Angel’s Flight), which takes place on Carnival Sunday. The spectacle attracts thousands of people to St. Mark’s Square every year.

The Volo dell’Angelo has its origins in the 16th century, when a young acrobat balanced on a rope between the Campanile and Doge’s Palace. After a tragic accident in the 18th century, the Volo dell’Angelo was replaced by the Volo della Colombina (Dove Flight), in which a large wooden dove dropped flowers and confetti on the crowd. It was not until 2001 that the Volo dell’Angelo was introduced in its current version, in which the wooden dove was replaced by a real person. In the first years the role was given to a celebrity from the field of sports or entertainment, since 2011 floats over the crowd from the Campanile to the Doge’s Palace the winner of the competition of the Festa delle Marie from the previous year, of course dressed up and secured.

La festa delle Marie

festa marie - The Carneval in Venice

The Festa delle Marie (Feast of Marys) is a typical feast in the city of Venice since the 9th century. On this day in Venice were blessed all the couples who would marry within the year. The Festa delle Marie also included the election of the twelve most beautiful girls among the poor families of the city, who received dresses, jewels and a dowry. However, it often happened that the girls who were about to be married were courted by other men and, in the worst cases, raped. After the real girls were replaced for some years by unattractive wooden statues, in the 14th century the Festa delle Marie was completely abolished.

In recent years, the Festa delle Marie has been revived as part of the Venice Carnival; it is a re-enactment of the original festival, with twelve Venetian young women in medieval and Renaissance dresses parading in St. Mark’s Square. At the end of the parade, the most beautiful among them receives the title of “Mary of the Year” and becomes the main character of the Volo dell’Angelo of the following year.

The tipical frittelle

frittelle veneziane - The Carneval in Venice

What should not be missing at any celebration? The sweets, of course! Typical for Venice are the frittelle.

Frittelle are small fried balls whose main ingredients are flour, sugar and yeast. Classically they come with raisins (incorporated in the dough) or filled with vanilla cream or chocolate. Davvero deliziose!

Who is the Befana

Who is the Befana? Italian traditions

January 6 is the Epiphany, a holiday in Italy. It’s the day when the Three Kings come to Jesus. In this day arrives in Italy also the Befana. But who is the Befana? What does she bring? 

Who is the Befana?

befana immagine - Who is the Befana? Italian traditions

The Befana is an old, ugly woman, usually associated with a witch, who fly across the country on her broom in the night between the 5th and 6th of January and fills the socks by the fireplace, which the children had hung up the day before, with sweets and little presents. But beware: children who were not well-behaved will get coal! Actually, the good children also get coal, because the Befana’s sweet coal is really tasty!

Here is a very famous children rhyme:

La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte
col cappello alla romana
viva viva La Befana. 

(The Befana comes at night – with completely worn-out shoes – with a hat in roman style – long live the Befana)

The Three Kings

Befana in Italy

January 6, Epiphany (it. l’Epifania) is an holiday and the last day of Christmas. People in Italy take part to the Epiphany Mass, where people dressed as the Three Kings bring their present to Jesus.

You can read the story of the three wise men in Italy in our Advent Calendar, on December 20. Read the story

 

For lunch they meet with their family to enjoy the last day of Christmas together. There is no typical dish for this, but there are various traditional desserts, depending on the region. For example, it is typical in Lombardy, especially in the province of Varese, where our Ellie comes from, to eat the Cammello: it is a simple pastry made of puff pastry, shaped like a camel, in memory of the Three Kings who came to Jesus on camels.

Italian Cammello

After having eaten, all the Christmas decorations, the nativity scene and the Christmas tree are taken down. Christmas is over and the next day school starts again. As the saying goes: 

L’Epifania, tutte le feste si porta via!

(The Epiphany takes all holidays away!)

Story in Italian

Story in Italian: Avventura con la Befana

It is a stormy night and Befana loses her sack with the sweets for the children while flying. Cody, Kira and their Mom help her to find the sack again. A story in Italian with the Befana!

Traditions for New Year’s Eve in Italy

Did you know that in Italy they eat lentils on New Year’s Eve? But why? Let’s discover together the traditions of New Year’s Eve in Italy!

Traditions for New Year 's Eve in Italy​

capodanno 1 - Traditions for New Year's Eve in Italy

Eating lentils brings money

lenticchie capodanno - Traditions for New Year's Eve in Italy

Dal blog di GialloZafferano

Eating lentils (it. le lenticchie) at midnight on New Year’s Eve is really a must in Italy. But why eat lentils?

Because lentils mean… money! The best thing to do is to eat a lot of lentils so that you get a lot of money in the new year. Well, whether that actually happens, no one knows…. But to be on the safe side, eat lentils. You never know.

Besides, lentils are naturally resistant legumes and that’s why they are a symbol of long life for some: Being highly nutritious, they protect the body even in unfortunate times.

As we said, eat lentils! In any case, it does not hurt.

Cotechino e lenticchie

What is the best way to eat lentils? Traditionally, lentils are eaten in Italy on New Year’s Eve with cotechino, a pork sausage. But you can also serve lentils in different ways, as a soup, as a lentil salad, with pasta or fish.

Wear red underwear

intimo rosso - Traditions for New Year's Eve in Italy

Another must in Italy is to wear red underwear (it. l’intimo rosso) on New Year’s Eve. Men too, of course!

But why? According to some, the origin of this custom could go back to the time of the Roman Empire, when both men and women wore something red for the Roman New Year, as a good omen of health, power and fertility.

According to others, the custom of wearing red on New Year’s Eve comes instead from China, from Chinese symbolism that identifies red as the color of good luck: it is often used for decorations and also for weddings.

But no matter where this custom comes from, on New Year’s Eve you should wear red underwear!

Watch fireworks

fuochi roma - Traditions for New Year's Eve in Italy

As in many countries of the world, on New Year’s Eve in Italy at midnight you can admire the fireworks (it. i fuochi d’artificio) in the cities and towns.

In addition, many people like to explode firecrackers (it. i petardi / i botti) or sparklers (it. le stelline). By the way, in Italy adults are allowed to buy firecrackers all year round.

More traditions for New Year's Eve in Italy

Breaking old porcelain is especially common in Naples. On New Year’s Eve, plates, glasses and porcelain objects are thrown on the ground or out of the windows onto the street (be careful!). This symbolic gesture is used to chase away the physical and moral evils that have accumulated during the year that is ending.

Kissing under the mistletoe is also part of New Year’s Eve, of course. It is a good luck charm and means eternal love.

Do you know the legend of the goddess Freya? You can read the legend in our Advent Calendar for December 16.

Italian Christmas meal: What do Italians eat at Christmas?

Italy is known for its good cuisine. Therefore, a richly laid table cannot be missing at Christmas. Traditionally in Italy, Christmas is celebrated with the family either with a big Christmas Eve dinner (it. il cenone della Vigilia) on December 24, especially in the south, or with a Christmas lunch (it. il pranzo di Natale) on December 25, especially in the north. What is eaten at a typical Christmas feast?

Index

Der Cenone della Vigilia: Sample menu

Christmas Eve dinner traditionally should not contain meat, so fish is very common. But which fish? Here is a sample menu for an Italian Christmas Eve dinner from the cooking blog Chicco di mais. Of course, there are several suggestions made for each course, which you can choose and combine according to your preferences. Each dish has a direct link to the original recipe.

l'antipasto

As an appetizer you can serve golden fried anchovies, a “false” fish made of tuna and potatoes or mussel sauté with croutons.

il primo

As a first course you can prepare quite a few recipes with pasta, such as spaghetti with anchovies or linguine with mussels. An alternative suggestion is risotto with salmon, but it is suitable for few guests, because risotto requires a lot of attention during cooking.

il secondo e il contorno

As a second course, stockfish is very typical. Other suggestions are orata fillets with citrus or gratinated squid rings. As a side dish to the fish you could serve potato or fennel (marinated or gratinated), which is quite suitable as a side dish to the fish.

Der Pranzo di Natale: sample menu with regional map

For Christmas lunch, traditionally the menu must be very rich: a good appetizer, a delicious first course of pasta and then meat as a second course.
For the Pranzo di Natale there are very many typical dishes depending on the region. We have collected for some of them that you can combine and prepare according to your preferences. Each dish has a direct link to the original recipe.

l'antipasto

As an appetizer you can serve something simple like cold cuts, cheese and olives, or Russian salad, colorful canapés or something very creative like bruschette of panettone with gorgonzola and currants.

il primo

In most northern regions, the first course consists of stuffed pasta such as ravioli, tortellini or agnolotti (typical in the Piedmont region, first picture). Often these are served as a soup, such as tortellini in brodo di cappone, that means tortellini with capon soup (the capon is a castrated rooster), typical in Emilia Romagna. From this region are also traditional at Christmas the passatelli in brodo, that is, a passatelli soup (passatelli are pasta made with Parmesan cheese, second picture).

In the south, pasta casserole (it. pasta al forno), lasagna or the delicious cannelloni (third picture) are typical.

This map from Italian Food Experience shows typical Italian first courses for Christmas:

il secondo e il contorno

As a second course, meat is typical, such as stuffed capon (with it you can prepare the soup for the tortellini, see above), roast veal or duck à l’orange. These can be wonderfully served with potatoes.

Vegetarian and vegan Christmas menu

If you want to prepare a delicious vegetarian or vegan Christmas menu, we have prepared for you a menu inspired by the cooking blogs chicco di mais and ricettevegolose. Each dish has a direct link to the original recipe.

l'antipasto

For starters, you can serve delicious Parmesan flans, olive grissini or a spinach quiche.

il primo

For the first course is quite simple, since many pasta recipes are vegetarian or even vegan, such as cannelloni with spinach and ricotta mentioned above or pasta stuffed with vegetables such as agnolotti, tortelli or ravioli. Here we have three more suggestions: Crepe spirals with spinach and ricotta, tagliolini with lemon and vegan lasagna.

il secondo e il contorno

As a second course we have three delicious recipes for different polpettoni (meatloaf): cauliflower roast, lentil roast or chickpea and potato roast, which you can enjoy with a delicious sauce or vegetables.

The Dessert

Desserts are important elements of the Christmas menu, both for Christmas Eve dinner and for Christmas lunch throughout Italy.

The classics: Panettone, Pandoro and Torrone

The Milanese Panettone is the typical Christmas dessert that can be found in every household throughout Italy. The counterpart of Panettone is the delicious Pandoro from Verona. Both have now become a symbol of Christmas throughout Italy. Typical desserts at Christmas are also nuts and the torrone, a confection made of almonds, honey, sugar and egg white. These are products that are usually bought rather than prepared at home because they are very difficult.

Creative recipes with Panettone and Pandoro

Panettone and Pandoro can be enjoyed plain, with a simple mascarpone or chocolate cream, or in more creative versions, such as a fabulous Woodland Panettone Cake, a Pandoro Christmas Tree with cream and wild berries, or a Pandoro Tiramisù with wild berries.

More desserts

In addition to the traditional pandoro, panettone and torrone, you can offer other delicious desserts, for example, a delicious yogurt mousse, a white Yule log typical of France or an apple strudel typical of Alto Adige.

Quiz: How much do you know about Christmas in Italy?

How much do you know about Christmas in Italy? Try the quiz in Italian with 10 questions and discover it! How many questions did you answer correctly?

Quiz about Christmas in Italy in Italian:

Quanto sai sul Natale in Italia?

menu tavola natale 800x400 1 - Quiz: How much do you know about Christmas in Italy?

Buon Natale!

Christmas traditions (from the Madonna to the Befana)

Italian Christmas songs

Christmas stories in Italian

Christmas vocabulary in Italian

Picture source: mangiamondo.com

December 13: Saint Lucia’s Day in Italy

On December 13, Italy and other countries such as Sweden and Norway celebrate Saint Lucia’s Day (Italian: Santa Lucia). Lucia is a Sicilian martyr from Syracuse. What is her story? What happens in Italy on this day? What is the typical food? In this post we will tell you more about Saint Lucia’s Day.

The story of Santa Lucia

statua di santa lucia siracusa - December 13: Saint Lucia's Day in Italy

December 13 is the day of Saint Lucia (Italian: Santa Lucia). Lucia is a Sicilian martyr, from Syracuse, and was killed during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian in 304. Lucia means “the shining one,” from the Latin lux (light), and she is considered the saint of eyes, sight and light

Lucia was the daughter of a wealthy Roman citizen of Syracuse. When her mother became seriously ill, Lucia went with her to the tomb of St. Agatha in Catania and there her mother was healed. Lucia decided to dedicate her life to God and spend it as a virgin. She also donated the entire family fortune to the needy. After she refused to marry a pagan, he denounced her to the Roman authorities and accused her of professing the Christian faith. 

According to legend, they threatened to take her to a brothel if she did not recant, but when she refused, not even fifty oxen to which she was tied could move her. Then they piled up wood for a pyre to burn her. On the pyre she said that her death would not frighten the other Christians but would grieve the unbelievers. One of the soldiers thrust a spear into her throat to stop these incantations, but to no avail. Another legend says that her eyes were gouged out, so she is considered the saint of the eyes.

"Santa Lucia, il giorno più corto che ci sia"

That Santa Lucia falls on December 13 is no coincidence: before the Gregorian calendar, December 13 was the shortest day of the year.

“Santa Lucia, il giorno più corto che ci sia” (Saint Lucia, the shortest day there is) is still said today, even though according to today’s calendar December 21 is the shortest day of the year. And so Saint Lucia is the light-bringer who heralds the days that are getting longer again. 

Santa Lucia in Sicily

santa lucia 730x438 1 - December 13: Saint Lucia's Day in Italy

Saint Lucia is celebrated especially in Sicily. The biggest celebrations take place in Syracuse, her hometown. On the morning of December 13, the feast opens with the firing of 13 volley shots.

In the afternoon, the believers take part in the procession that follows the statue of the saint, carried on the shoulders of 48 men wearing green caps, and the relics. The procession, which starts from the Cathedral in Piazza Duomo, crosses Ortigia, the historical heart of the city, and arrives at the Basilica of Santa Lucia, exactly on the spot where she suffered martyrdom. The statue returns to the cathedral with a second procession after 7 days.

In many places, after the evening mass, people gather in front of the church square to watch the “Vampata di Santa Lucia“, a big fire.

Santa Lucia in Northern Italy

Santa Lucia asino - December 13: Saint Lucia's Day in Italy

The night of Santa Lucia is also a magical night in some northern Italian towns. The children write a letter to the woman a week before December 13, listing the gifts they would like to receive at Santa Lucia. Another tradition is that on the evening of December 12, the children prepare a snack for the saint, who rides on her donkey, followed by her companion named Castaldo. The children prepare gifts for all three: a cup of milk and coffee with some cookies for Santa Lucia, carrots for the donkey and a piece of bread for Castaldo.

Typical food for Santa Lucia

piatti santa lucia cuccìa - December 13: Saint Lucia's Day in Italy

There are several dishes and sweets typical of December 13. A specialty typical of Palermo and Syracuse is the cuccìa: a sweet made with boiled wheat and sheep ricotta or chocolate milk cream. Inside there are candied pumpkin, orange peel, chocolate pieces and cinnamon.