Living in Italy or planning trips, it is always a good idea to look at a calendar and see if there are any holidays. Being a Catholic country, we seem to always have some festa or religious holiday as well as the national holidays. If these happen near or on a weekend, it is called a ponte and the holiday is stretched out. In Milano, December 7th is their Patron Saint’s day, San Ambrose, so they create their own long holiday.
A long holiday is also a good reason for people to sciopero, strike. Italians are creative, often they will only strike enough to screw things up. Trains are famous for this.
Today, December 8 is the Immaculate Conception, celebrating the miracle, not the day, that Mary conceived.
It has always been the day the official celebrations for Christmas begin.
It is a lovely time to come on vacation. It can be cold and windy, but smaller crowds and the lovely towns all lit up for the holidays are really spectacular.
There are also wonderful Christmas markets all over Italy and most towns bring in some special events for children.
Let the holidays begin!