Each country has its own unique traditions at Christmas that are passed down from generation to generation, each adding their own elements to the celebration that become traditions creating a kind of family living history. Christmas celebrations in Italy last for weeks and are celebrated with family, church and unique family traditions.

The Italian Christmas Legend of La Befana

On the morning of January 6, children in Italy leap from their beds with excitement and anticipation that La Befana has been there. Each year, the legend of La Befana is celebrated on the anniversary of the day the three Wise Men reached their destination; the manger of Jesus Christ in a stable, and the Christmas season comes to an end. There are a few different versions of the legend of La Befana but the outcome of the celebration is the same.

The gentler version of the legend speaks of La Befana (the gift giver) as an elderly apron clad Italian woman busily using a broom to clean her house when there is a knock at her door. The three Wise Men in search of a new born baby knocked to ask direction. The old woman was not able to help the Wise Men who asked her to join them on their quest. She declined the invitation so she could continue her housework. After the Wise Men left, she began to feel she made the wrong decision and should have joined them. She ran after them still wearing her apron and holding her broom. After hours of searching, she was unable to find the Wise Men in search of the Christ child. Overcome by regret, she stopped each child she saw to give them a special treat in the hope one of the children would be the Christ child.

January 6 is the beginning of the Epiphany season, an important time in the Catholic Church, which lasts until the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Every year on the eve of the Epiphany, she travels in search of the Christ Child how viagra works and stops at every child’s home to leave something in the child’s stocking. Good children receive sweet treats in their stockings but bad children receive a black lump of coal.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes

Tradition declares the Feast of the Seven Fishes originated in southern Italy as a celebration on the eve of Christ’s birth, after a day of restrictive fasting.
Many, but not all, Italian families celebrate La Vigilia (Christmas Eve) with the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Historically, the Feast of the Seven Fishes was a break from the Roman Catholic traditions regarding abstinence marked by removing meat or dairy food from the diet for a specific amount of time.

Why the number of fish is seven is disputed to this day. Some claim it marks the Seven Sins, others claim it represents the seven Catholic sacraments, or the Seven Hills of Rome, or even the seven days of the week.

The meal consists of traditional dishes passed down from generation to generation. Salads made with baccala (salted cod), shrimp, or calamari (squid) are the first course. Served next is a pasta dish made with sauce and a variety of seafood like scallops, lobster, fried smelts, or a variety of fish. Next the baccala stew is served, and then the traditional eel. Midnight is marked by serving spicy sausage which ends the meat and dairy fasting and welcomes Christmas Day.

The beauty of the Feast of Seven Fishes is the individual family traditions that create this celebration. Each generation adds their unique dishes and discards unpopular ones. Throughout the generations of family, this feast is shaped and moulded by family members until each dish served has a story of family to tell and the table becomes surrounded by past and present family members. The Feast of Seven Fishes becomes the living history of each family in celebration.

So if you fancy soaking up some of the amazing Italian traditions, flights to Italy from the UK can take less than two hours making it a

admin on August 15th, 2012

Skiing Holidays in Italy

Italy is famous for more than its quaint city squares and vast array of native wines. People from all corners of the globe flock to this country to ski on its many snowy slopes. Whether you are a beginner, a family or a skilled skier who is looking for a weekend getaway, there are plenty of skiing spots to choose from in Italy!
Beginners
First time skiers? Don’t worry. The Dolomoties in Cortina, Italy are perfect for you. They cater for both skiers and snowboarders. Although both are easy to pick up once you get started, it is ultimately up to you which sport you choose to explore during your stay. It is definitely one of the loveliest places to ski in the world, but it perfect for those who have never skied before.

The slopes here are rolling and easy, not to step and not too sharp. In the Socrapes area there are some super groomed beginner slopes that are gentle enough for even children to learn to ski on. There are also more than enough skiing instructors to go around. The Cortina Inn is a quaint country hotel with basic amenities, equipment hire and other essentials. There are 57 1st class rooms decorated beautifully and the prices are reasonable. Transportation to and from the airport is made easy through rental cars and shuttles.
Family Skiing

Campitello de Fassa is a beautiful ski resort that is located within the Dolomoties. The scenery here is more fantasy than Cialis reality, providing a jaw-dropping backdrop for visiting families. The atmosphere is absolutely stunning and the skiing amazing. It is good for families who perhaps have a little more experience in skiing. The Park Hotel and Club Diamont is located right near the slopes, with the cable cars within walking distance. The rooms have every expected amenity. There is also a pool and spa. Transportation to the airport is on request by a mini-bus. There is also a lot of local dining to enjoy, such as the Wine Corner, Petite Carte and the Buffet Breakfast in case you’re craving unique dining.
Short Trips

La Thuile is the perfect place to spend a weekend with your friends, family or simply if you are traveling alone. You will be able to enjoy a 360 degree view of the most beautiful mountains in the Aosta Valley and enjoy the scent of the pine trees sprinkled throughout the landscape. There are chairlifts and other equipment for skiers to rent while they stay. It is an international ski resort that allows skiers to enjoy its powdery slopes from November to around April every year. Accommodations are basic and comfortable, and the transportation to and from the airport and town is easy using private shuttle, taxi or personal transportation.  This allows you to fit in as much skiing as possible.

There are always plenty of great deals around that will help you find cheap flights to Italy for your trip so make sure you do your research before you book.

admin on July 23rd, 2011

In Rome during the summer, it’s the height of the tourist season and, in addition to Roman ruins, baroque palaces and the Vatican, there’s something new for visitors to see.

After decades of neglect, the banks of the river Tiber — which winds its way through the Eternal City — have been spruced up. Located in west of Italy, about 30 to 40 miles inland from the ocean, Rome lacks its own beach. And although there Ostia Lido (beach) is less than 20 miles from Rome (40 minutes by car or 30 minutes by train), it is often over crowded by tourists and not a popular place with the locals because, compared to the beauty and cleanliness of other roman beaches, this one is a much lower standard.

If you do enjoy being by the water, take a trip to the Tiber River. Measuring an enormous 252miles (406km) long, the river worms through the Tyrrhenian Sea, Lazio and Umbria, making it the third longest river in the country. The renowned king Tiberinus Silvius, or Thebris as some called him, was the ninth in the king-list of Alba Longa, and was thought to have drowned in the Albula River, which was consequently renamed in his honour.

You can find the Tiber River on the eastern average prescription cost for klonopin banks of Rome and thanks to a huge clean up effort; the river has now become a great place to visit. After all the years of neglect, this natural area of beauty became a bit rough around the edges and Rome’s famous watercourse started to lose visitors.

A number of actions took place in a bid to boost the popularity of the area. A manmade beach was produced, and several pieces of artwork were etched into the walls of the river. But by far, the most popular occasion in the area to date has been the summer solstice. This event saw the Tiber River lit up with 2,758 torches. Each torch represented a year since the city was founded. The city lit up the banks of the Tiber on the night of the summer solstice with 2,758 torches, equal to the number of years since the city was founded. People from all over the country and even further away, flocked to the local area to get a glimpse of the spectacular views and find a new appreciation for the beauty of the Tiber River.

Rome has to be one of the best places to visit as a family holiday, and you can find great cheap holiday deals online with Direct Holidays.

admin on February 28th, 2011

There are very few things in life that only happen once and are therefore very special. A wedding is one of these special events. Before a couple vow to spend the rest of their lives together, it is a tradition that the couple celebrate by having one crazy night out with their same sex friends and relatives. It is becoming increasingly popular for the respective parties to head to another country and have a stag or hen weekend (aka Bachelor and bachelorette parties), rather than the traditional one night.

If you are planning a stag weekend away, have you ever considered Venice? A destination like no other, you can be sure your send off into married life will be one to remember. Everyone has different ideas on what makes any type of break a great one so it’s hard to suggest a simple itinerary that will keep everyone entertained so make sure you fill your trip with lots of fun things that will make your stag do a great one. Read the rest of this entry »

admin on February 16th, 2011

With Valentine’s Day prompting them this week, many lovers begin to search for romantic getaways to take their loved one away. Italy is one of the most romantic counties in the world and, with short flight times from the UK, is one of the best, and most convenient places to escape for a minibreak with your significant other. Here are our tips for the most romantic places to take holidays in Italy: Read the rest of this entry »