Celebrating Christmas in Italy. Today is La Festa di San Nicola – the festival held in honour of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children and famously the inspiration behind Father Christmas or “Babbo Natale” as he is known in Italy!
Saint Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra in the 4th century AD, an area of the Roman Empire (now in Turkey). He became well known throughout the region for his generosity and acts of kindness, particularly towards children.
On 5th December, children in many northern regions of Italy such as Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia write letters to San Nicola, asking for gifts and promising to be good in the coming year in the hope that during the night, San Nicola will leave chocolates and sweets!