Travel Tips

Christmas In Italy: Last-Minute Travel Deals

Image Credit: Alessio Nastro Siniscalchi

Locations in this article:  Florence, Italy Rome, Italy
Image Credit: Alessio Nastro Siniscalchi

Image Credit: Alessio Nastro Siniscalchi

Are you dreaming of an Italian Christmas? It’s not too late! There are still some great last-minute holiday hotel packages available for Christmas and New Year’s. Guest blogger Kathy McCabe, editor of the award-winning subscription travel newsletter, and contributor Elaine Murphy, share a selection of affordable, mid-range, and over-the-top hotel packages in Italy.

Luxury Holidays in Rome

The Rome Cavalieri by the Waldorf Astoria Collection, formerly the Cavalieri Hilton, is surrounded by 15 acres of Mediterranean foliage, offering a peaceful retreat close to major attractions and panoramic views of Rome.

Holiday room rates start at €230 (about $304) per night and are valid from December 22 to January 7.

The Rome Cavalieri offers a wide range of special holiday menus and activities, all at an additional cost. Choose from two Christmas Eve dinners, including live music and wine. On Christmas Day, enjoy brunch, tea and dinner at La Pergola (considered one of the world’s best restaurants).

Best of all, you get to hone your cooking skills in a chocolate-themed cooking lesson and watch Santa Claus arrive on his sleigh with gifts for the children.

If you’re looking for a grand event, ring in the new year with the Cavalieri’s New Year’s Eve gala (€1,200, about $1,500), and celebrate with wine, live music, dancing, fireworks, and spectacular views of the Eternal City. The New Year’s Eve dinner (€495, about $655) includes champagne, live music, fireworks and a discoteca at midnight.

The New Year’s Eve lounge party (€170, about $255) includes appetizers, champagne and live music from 10 p.m. until dawn. There is also entertainment and games for kids until 2 a.m.

An Affordable Florentine Christmas

Travelers looking for a welcoming atmosphere in a quiet area of Florence will enjoy this affordable boutique hotel. Hotel Cellai’s Christmas special includes a candlelight breakfast, afternoon tea and free use of hotel bicycles. Rates start at €99 (about $130) and are valid from December 22 to 28.

New Year’s in Tuscany

If you’re looking to splurge this New Year’s Eve, step back in time in the heart of Tuscany as the Terme di Saturina Resort & Spa hosts a 1930s soiree, complete with gangster pinstripe suits, bow ties, Borsalino-hat clad waiters and chefs. The jazz quartet, Sweet & Hot Band, will play the night away, and guests will ring in 2011 with a traditional fireworks display accompanied by the renowned voice of the musician, Karima. Rates start at €456 (about $603) per night and are based on a seven-night minimum stay.

Dream of Italy reviewed this luxurious spa in our very first issue eight years ago. It remains one of our favorite resort destinations in all of Italy.

Located in the heart of the Tuscany’s Maremma area, in the medieval village of Saturnia, the four-star hotel has two restaurants under the supervision of a three-star Michelin chef, a spa with 53 treatment rooms and the 3,000-year-old thermal pool in the center of the resort. The resort also features an 18-hole championship golf course, practice green and private golf villas.

Welcome the New Year on the Amalfi Coast

The town of Vietri Sul Mare, best known for its ceramic industry, is also one of the gems of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Vietri’s Hotel Raito is offering a traditional New Year’s Eve package featuring three nights accommodations, pre-dinner cocktail and dinner for two, a New Year’s Eve dinner and entertainment, spa entrance and daily breakfast. Choose three nights between December 29, 2010 and January 3, 2010, with a required stay on December 31, 2010. Rates start at €155 (about $205) per person, per night.

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By Kathy McCabe and Elaine Murphy for For more information about celebrating the holidays in Italy, download Dream of Italy’s free 35-page Christmas in Italy guide. Still shopping for holiday gifts? Dream of Italy is offering $20 off gift subscriptions that includes 10 issues over the coming year (online or by mail), back-issue online access, exclusive travel discounts and the bonus 640-page book, Tuscany and Umbria: The Collected Traveler.