On June 7th the unique setting of Venice will provide the backdrop for one of the most spectacular events linked to the history of the Bel Paese: the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics, the origins of which date back to Italy’s glorious maritime tradition during the Middle Ages.

Venice is a fascinating city, mainly because of the mysterious elements of its history, a history which remains mostly to be explored.

It is also possible to discover Venice by recovering its ancient vine varieties: this is what the project set up by the Consorzio Vini Venezia [Venice Wine Consortium] proposed to do in order to unearth the origins, provenance and characteristics of the ancient vines to be found on the Lagoon. The project will study their DNA, take samples and propagate them on order to create vineyards that will constitute a genetic bank of the varietals uncovered by the study.

While waiting for the sets to arrive for the remake of "Ben Hur" and the new 007 movie, scheduled to be filmed in Italy in February, the crew of the NBC TV series "Hannibal", starring Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, considered by American critics to be the “best television horror of all time”, is coming to Florence. Starring alongside Mikkelsen is Gillian Anderson, who plays his psychoanalyst who has become his accomplice in a murder and is now hiding out with him under a false name in the birthplace of the Renaissance.

In the 1200’s, excited after seeing the birthplace of Jesus Christ, St. Francis of Assisi held a reenactment of the Christmas miracle in a cave outside of Greccio, Italy. With the Pope’s blessing, nativity scenes, both static and live, became a cherished part of the Italian – and worldwide – Christmas celebration. Presepe, or Presepi Viventi, are still set up and reenacted all throughout Italy.

Football is a way of life in Italy. Kids grow up playing for the youth divisions of their hometown soccer club, and families spend their weekends cheering on the home team from the stands. Italian soccer is a must to see for any sports fan while on holiday, whether you attend a Serie A match or a tilt between two local clubs.

Just like top-tier leagues around Europe, Serie A matches are full of international superstars and top-quality football. Here are some of the most important matches on the calendar before the end of the year: