Come and experience the magic of an Umbrian Christmas and New Year with a stay in one of our fabulous luxury rental villas. This enchanting region, known as the Green Heart of Italy, offers a unique blend of rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant local traditions, making it an ideal destination for a memorable holiday celebration.
Umbria is even more charming than usual at Christmas time. Everywhere you look there are twinkling lights, festive decorations, and bustling Christmas markets where you can find perfect presents and indulge in traditional Italian holiday treats. The region's historic churches, such as the world-renowned Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, a huge and breathtakingly beautiful church that dominates the skyline of Assisi itself, hold special Christmas services that offer a profound cultural and spiritual experience unique to Italy.
All the restaurants design special festive menus and, while truffle, mushrooms, wild boar and panettone form celebrated dishes in the more traditional places, the fine-dining restaurants pull out all the stops, matching world-class food made with regional ingredients with the finest Italian wines.
In addition to the fabulous festive atmosphere, Umbria offers a variety of activities to make your holiday season unforgettable. Be moved by beautiful concerts featuring traditional Italian Christmas music inside some of the most glorious buildings on earth, explore the region's renowned art galleries and museums, or simply relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Umbrian countryside from the cosy comfort of your luxury rental.
What to do and where to go
The world's biggest Christmas tree in Gubbio
Gubbio takes Christmas seriously, not least by lighting up the world's largest tree featuring thousands of multi-coloured bulbs that twinkle over the town from Mount Ingrino. Gubbio itself, an ancient medieval town famous for its Roman ruins and historic aqueduct, hosts delightful attractions and events for both young and old. Discover Christmas Land, the fantastic markets, the tree - which was ratified by Guinness World Records as the world's biggest Christmas tree in 1991, 3D images on the façade of the Palazzo dei Consoli, the ferris wheel, the nativity cribs tucked away in the town's pretty streets, and much, much more.
Concerts and the nativity in Assisi
At the start of December every year, Assisi and its surrounding villages come alive with the sights and sounds of Christmas and this year will have particular resonance since it is the 800th anniversary of St Francis' first nativity scene.
A rich programme of events combines history, tradition and spirituality with a message of hope for the future, paying particular attention to environmental sustainability. The Town is decorated with Christmas trees and puts on spectacular light displays, Christmas markets, concerts and nativity scenes that offer a moving immersive experience.
Skating and shopping in Perugia
Perugia’s Christmas celebrations are set to be supercharged this year! The Christmas market, the biggest of its type in Umbria, has outgrown its original location in Rocca Paolina, the university town’s16th century Renaissance fortress, and will occupy the town’s centro storico, spilling down the main street, Corso Vannucci, and into Piazza della Repubblica. Twinkling lights will illuminate the stalls which are the perfect place to hunt for delicious food and drink as well as beautiful artisanal presents. Don’t miss the huge tree in Piazza IV Novembre, nor Italian Father Christmas - Babbo Natale – in Piazza Matteotti. But most impressive of all is the ice rink: the biggest of its kind in Italy, it’s a fabulous figure of eight skate loop around Piazza Italia.
A Christmas tree on Lake Trasimeno
Head to the delightful town of Castiglione del Lago and throughout December and into the start of the new year you'll be able to see another of the world’s biggest Christmas trees. Part of the Luci sul Trasimeno festival, the tree is picked out in lights on Lake Trasimeno. A kilometre in length, the tree is made up of 2,450 bulbs that hover just above the water, held up by 5km of cable. Visitors are able to see the tree from just behind the castle tower and can even sponsor a light. For every light sponsored, an olive tree will be planted as a symbol of peace and hope. Guests will find lots of other things to see and do, from a Christmas market to a huge nativity scene.
Winter Jazz Festival in Orvieto
Umbria's Winter Jazz Festival is now in its 30th year and the 2023 programme has 90 events performed by 30 bands and more than 150 musicians. Spread over five days, from 28 December to 1 January, visitors can soak up soul, jazz, gospel and funk from noon 'til night in the delightful Umbrian town of Orvieto.
There are two moments that have always characterised the Winter Jazz Festival. The first is the New Year’s Eve Dinner and the concerts before and after midnight - an excellent augur for a happy new year. While the second is the gospel concert that follows New Year's Day Mass in the Duomo, performed this year at 5pm by the Virginia State Gospel Choir, with the religious songs of the African American tradition now a firm festival fixture.
New Year's Eve
There is no better place to celebrate the end of one year and the start of another than here in Umbria. The region's towns and cities come alive with fireworks, live music and traditional Italian feasts. Whether you choose to join the local celebrations and have a New Year's Eve dinner in one of the many incredible restaurants, or to host your own party in private luxury at your SpecialUmbria property, you are guaranteed to see in the New Year in style.
The Christmas holiday season in Umbria offers a unique blend of cultural experiences, festive celebrations and a proper switch-off giving you a chance to reflect and reset in this extraordinarily beautiful part of Italy. With one of our luxury rental villas as your base, you can explore all that this stunning region has to offer, creating fabulous memories to last a lifetime.
What can be more welcoming than a beautiful house all dressed up for Christmas? Our unique properties are perfect for gathering family and friends in style and comfort over the festive season. Underfloor heating and real wood fires ensure our guests stay warm and cosy, while our big, comfy sofas are as perfect for an after-lunch snooze as a pre-dinner chat. Talking of which, why not let a private chef work their culinary magic to conjure up an Italian feast made with delicious local ingredients while you head for the twinkly lights of a hilltop town or relax with a book and a glass of wine.
We’ll even decorate the whole house for you, sustainably of course, bringing the outside in with fabulous foliage, a wreath on the door and a beautiful Christmas tree that we’ll plant in the garden after the festivities are over.
If you have yet to make your holiday plans, put Umbria at the top of your wish list! Here are four of our houses that still have availability this Christmas and New Year and do ask about others, all of which we can make party ready. ‘Tis the season!
Discover the magic of Umbria this Christmas and New Year with our selection of luxury rental properties. Each house offers a unique blend of comfort, style as well as lots of space for family and friends. You'll also be within easy reach of the spectacular festive celebrations that light up the pretty hilltop towns. Contact us to book your unforgettable Umbrian holiday.