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01 December 2022

Christmas traditions in Tuscany | Castello Banfi Wine Resort

From artistic nativity scenes to culinary traditions, discover the best time of the year with Tuscan Christmas treats and pair them with the right wine.

Tuscan Christmas traditions, between gourmet food, wine and hospitality

December is one of the most evocative times of the year to visit Tuscany due to the magical atmosphere you can witness right from the start of the month, in art cities such as Florence or Siena or in the Medieval hamlets such as Poggio alle Mura and Montalcino, where Tuscan Christmas traditions draw tourists of all ages.

Christmas in Tuscany is something you should experience at least once in your life, with your partner or your family, surrounded by breathtaking views that take on new nuances and suggestions during Christmas. And Christmas in Tuscany also means hospitality, good wine, and food, through the wealth of local cuisine, which expertly combines fine ingredients and farmers’ traditional recipes to make even the most demanding palates happy.

Christmas traditions in Tuscany

Christmas traditions in Tuscany are rooted in ancient times and are passed down from generation to generation to keep the bond with the past and with a land filled with stories, legends, events, and traditions alive.

Hamlets and nativity scenes

The hamlets are the stars of Tuscan Christmas traditions: Barga, Petroio, Pescaglia, and other tiny gems of the Valle del Serchio turn into real-life nativity scenes during the holidays, and you can walk around them marveling at the work of art of figurine craftsmen inspired by Christmas and by popular traditions. The most fascinating of them all is the Presepe Artistico di Petroio with over 100 characters.

Bonfires and torchlight processions

On Christmas Eve, the small hamlet of Gorfigliano, in the Upper Garfagnana region, lights up with magic, with the splendid Natalecci, high bonfires placed in the uppermost spots of the surrounding hills, which are lit up while the bells toll, enveloping the town in an enchanting light. This is one of the oldest Tuscan Christmas traditions. The Nataleccio’s building techniques, with juniper and chestnut wood branches, are a secret passed down through centuries, from generation to generation, and the competition between local families is still very keenly felt.

While the Abbadia San Salvatore torchlight procession, in a charming hamlet in the heart of the Amiata region, dates back to before the year 1000. Legend has it that the residents of the towns along the Via Francigena gathered there for the traditional Christmas Eve Mass and that their journey toward the Abbey was lit up and brightened by large bonfires.

On 7 December, on the day before the Immacolata, the town of Gallicano shines under Fiaccola’s light, which is lit up ritually in the square festively decorated amid Christmas carols and the colorful market stalls.

Christmas food in Tuscany

Tuscan Christmas traditions are also ancient when it comes to culinary traditions. Tuscany is home to the most appreciated Italian culinary delicacies in the Country and worldwide, including the fine Montalcino wines. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many Christmas recipes are also made in other parts of Italy.

So, what do people eat for Christmas in Tuscany? As tradition dictates, it all starts with an appetizer of cold cuts paired with a local white wine and liver crostini, also called ‘black crostini’, the symbol of rustic and humble culinary traditions, yet surprisingly flavorful.

Some of the pasta dishes include tortellini with capon broth, rigorously handmade with fresh egg pasta, and the so-called ribollita di cavolo nero, a soup with beans, collards, and kale, served in terracotta bowls. Tuscan Christmas traditions include a meat-based main dish, another fine local product, with roast Chianina beef, pork liver, guinea fowl, or orange duck as typical holiday dishes.

On a true Tuscan Christmas table, there must be a true Tuscan dessert, such as Castagnaccio, Panforte di Siena, Ricciarelli or Cantuccini, rigorously dipped in Vin Santo, as tradition dictates.

Visit our Winery during the holidays

Tuscany is once again one of the regions with more culture and allure, even when it comes to Christmas traditions, and this is why December is the favorite month of many of our tourists.

If you choose to spend Christmas in Tuscany, among our sweet hills, the hamlet of Poggio alle Mura (where Castello Banfi Wine Resort is located), surrounded by the magical and festive Christmas atmosphere, will look like an enchanted place, a small nativity scene, a romantic Christmas card. Apart from visiting our small hamlet, you will discover Tuscany’s food and wine traditions and visit the Castello Banfi Wine Resort Wine Shop, an actual Tuscan emporium from yesteryear, with exposed rafters and rustic floors. Here, you will enjoy some of the best products the land of Brunello has to offer: cold cuts, cheese, oil, and - of course - a wide wine selection, surrounded by the magical Christmas atmosphere.

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