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** NEW: Christmas on the Amalfi Coast: Holiday Hotel Packages (Free Italy Travel Advice) **

Are you thinking of visiting Italy's Amalfi Coast for an Italian Christmas escape? These two Amalfi Coast hotels marry luxury with holiday explorations of traditional Italian crafts:

Raito Hotel

Via Nuova Raito, 9

Vietri sul Mare

(39) 0897634111

This 5-star hotel is located on the Amalfi Coast in the village of Vietri sul Mare, famous for its Vietri ceramics. Many of the guestrooms have balconies and terraces soverlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The Raito Hotel is also a foodie paradise specializing in traditional Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

Raito's "Shop the Tradition" Christmas Package is designed around the Italian tradition of handcrafted of presepi, or Italian nativity scenes. The presepi are as significant a Christmas tradition in Italy as Christmas trees are in the US, making this package ideal for travelers with a special interest in Italian tradition and culture.

The Christmas package, valid from December 1st for a minimum two night's stay, includes accommodations in a double room, buffet breakfast, one pre-dinner cocktail and one welcome dinner for two with a traditional menu, a private car to enjoy the the Naples nativity scene workshops and free spa entrance. Prices range from 200 to 370€ per night.

Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

Piazza Tasso, 34


(39) 081 8777111

At this 5-star hotel, Christmas guests have the opportunity to learn how to make inlaid wood, a craft that dates back to ancient Egypt and has been practiced in Sorrento for centuries. Guests at the luxurious Vittoria (which by the way has a stunning location set just above the sea) also have the chance enjoy presepi, the elaborate nativity scenes that have a centuries-long tradition in Campania.

The holiday package includes two nights accommodation for two people and Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas Day lunch for two. Children up to 10 years old can share a room or suite with their parents. Also included is a Christmas present and a basket of fruit and local wine upon arrival. Prices start at 320 € per person.

-- Danielle Rovet

Photo by Klio,

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