The Christmas season in Wooster Square used to begin with the decorations that were placed in downtown New Haven. You see, we were all just a few blocks away from the splendor that was created in the store windows, the lighted arches across Chapel Street with a small tree on either side, Santa and the reindeer sailing through the air on the corner...

In the province of Cosenza and still upheld in inland villages, there is the Christmas Eve tradition of the strina. In the past, the musicians used to go from house to house to bring the “good news” of Christ’s birth, getting paid and thanked with eggs, cheese, olive oil, wine and salami. In more recent times, groups of relatives, friends, acquaint...

Dressed in traditional sheepskin and woollen cloaks with peaked hats, the pipers come into the city from their mountain homes, performing traditional music and hymns including the much-loved Italian carol Tu scendi dalle stelle. The zampognari are important figures in the folklore of Italian regions such as Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania,...

It’s well known that every Italian region has its own culinary traditions, and it’s no exception when it comes to Christmas sweets. We picked one dolce di Natale for each region (some regions have more than one). What’s your favorite? Aosta Valley: Mecoulin. Hailing from the Cogne valley, Mecoulin is similar to panettone and to pandolce from Liguri...

The second biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily, Sardinia is a tourist destination during the summer months for its breath-taking beaches, however, the winter months shouldn’t be overlooked: warm weather thanks to the Mediterranean climate, the tourists are gone, and delicious season cuisine you can only taste during winter. A Coral...

Let’s preface by saying that dishes and traditions, especially at Christmastime, are very different throughout Italy. Starting with when you eat. In the Center and in the South, Italians favor “il cenone della vigilia.” This is a big culinary feast served on the Eve. While in the North, a huge lunch on the actual day is a must.  Below you will find...

Even the most diehard self-professing Scrooges out there probably succumb to at least a few of the joyful traditions of the Christmas season. Whether it’s scrumptious baked goods or carols sung loudly or the odd family tradition that no one else would understand, traditions lovingly color and fortify our memories of Christmas.  Coming together with...

In a New York where traditional holiday performances are cancelled, Rockefeller Center tree viewings are timed and travel is ill-advised, it's beginning to feel a lot like the Covid Grinch stole Christmas. But in Brooklyn's illuminated Dyker Heights neighborhood, not even a pandemic can keep the festive spirit down. The quasi-suburban residential d...

On December 25, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ as it’s described in the Gospels. Over the course of centuries, artists experimented with different ways to retell the humble yet extraordinary story of the Virgin Mary’s delivery of a savior in the form of an infant.  For Italian Renaissance artists, the subject of the Nativ...

Marche is a hilly region in central Italy. The name of the region derives from the plural name of “marca”, originally referring to the medieval March of Ancona where the region at that time was a border or buffer zone between the Church and the Empire around 1100. Urbino, one of Marche’s major cities, was the birthplace of Raphael, as well as a maj...