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Christmas to New Year's Week

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Brookfield...
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Christmas to New Year's Week

Our family is considering going back to Italy late Christmas Day and returning January 3rd. Our plan is spend two days in Rome, then take the train to Florence, and surrounding areas, for four or five days before going back to Rome for the flight home.

My concerns are with places being closed during that week, large holiday crowds and lines, etc. The weather doesn't really concern us that much.

Any advice from our experts that you could share? Also, my great grandfather came from the village of Pacentro, which I would like to visit eventually. Has anyone been there before?

Pasadena, CA
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1. Re: Christmas to New Year's Week

Probably the only thing you'll need to be concerned about with closings is the Vatican. Normally the Vatican Museums (including the Sistine Chapel) are closed on Christmas and the day after (St. Stephen's Day). Christmas is on a Sunday this year so I don't know if the Italians will be taking the 23rd as a holiday for Christmas, or if they will take Monday and Tuesday off. The same, of course, will hold true for New Year's. I assume things will be closed on January 2nd since the 1st is a Sunday, just like the USA. The vatican website may have the calendar for the museums up on its website already, www.holysee.va. Click on museums and look for the calendar.

St. Peter's will be open to visit even on the days the museums are closed.

Most museums in Italy are normally closed on Mondays, except the Vatican.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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2. Re: Christmas to New Year's Week

In Italy, holidays aren't moved to an adjacent day if they happen to fall on the weekend. Schoolchildren and employees are just out of luck. This year has been particularly bleak. The 25th fell on Easter Monday, so two holidays got folded into one. May 1st is on a Sunday, as is Christmas.

Pacentro is near Sulmona, a very attractive city in Abruzzo. You can get there by bus, and then there's another bus on to Pacentro. I think it would be too much for a day trip, and because of the high elevation, you're very likely to find snow and ice. I know you're from Wisconsin, but the Italians don't handle snow very well. It would be a lovely trip in the summer; I would plan on going there in the summer, renting a car, and seeing a lot more of beautiful Abruzzo. Maybe you could even venture north into beautiful Le Marche! I think these are the two most underrated regions of Italy. Fabulous hill towns, great scenery, great food (especially in Le Marche) and hardly any tourists. Both regions, though, are favorite summer destinations of Italians, many of whom have second homes in these regions. In earlier times, many people from these regions migrated to Rome and Milan to find work, but never sold the old homestead, where they return every summer to get away from the city heat.

rome
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3. Re: Christmas to New Year's Week

Pacentro is lovely! We spent a weekend in that area in November and went back with friends between Christmas and New Years. There is a great restaurant there (Taverna de li Caldora) and the area is just lovely. You can buy torrone till you drop in Sulmona, too. You can rent a car and it is a perfect day trip. The only thing you need to know how to handle is if it snows, can you drive with summer tyres? The car rentals don't have winter/snow tyres around here, but they will have chains if you ask for that (which you have to have on board - but not necessarily put on - on the roads in that area). We had snow storms in November but a perfectly sunny day and no snow at all on the streets on the one day between Xmas and NY.

Brookfield...
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4. Re: Christmas to New Year's Week

Thanks for the info. Pacentro may be something we save for a summer trip in a year or two.

5. Re: Christmas to New Year's Week

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