Traditionally, the main focus of Christmas decorations in Italy is the presepe, Nativity scene or creche. Nearly every church will have a presepe and they are often found outdoors in a square or other public area as well. The nativity scenes are usually set up for about a month, starting around December 8, the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.

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The Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated January 6, is a big part of the Christmas holidays in Italy. Epiphany commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus. Traditional Christmas holidays run from Christmas Eve through Epiphany although many Christmas events start on December 8, the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.

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Although Babo Natale (“Father Christmas” aka Santa Claus) and giving presents on Christmas are becoming more common, the main day for gift giving is Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men gave Baby Jesus their gifts. In Italy, presents are brought by La Befana,a which who arrives in the night to fill children's stockings.

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ROME —  FromGeorge Clooney’s estate on Lake Como to Mussolini's former residence on Garda Lake, media speculation on where in Italy Hollywood's most high-profile betrothed couple will tie the knot has only one consistent element: A lake.

The likely site of the wedding of Tom Cruise to Katie Holmes, who are set to marry in an undisclosed Italian location on Nov. 18, now appears to have been narrowed down to the Odescalchi Castle on Lake Bracciano, near Rome.

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