In Italy there is no Black Friday. There is some reference to days of blackness in Boccaccio’s Decameron when he wrote about the Black Plague that ravaged the city of Florence in 1348. But nothing about the plague of shopping and the retail frenzy that occurs in late November.
In Italy the holiday season officially begins on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This is traditionally when decorations go up (both on the streets and inside Italian homes) and when some Christmas markets start. Italians do not normally celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving Day as we know it unless you have moved there from the US or Canada so there is no Black Friday pressure to shop. Italians do celebrate harvest festivals with seasonal specialties like the white truffle, chestnuts, forest fruits, honeys, regional cheeses and of course wine. With such a bounty it’s no wonder shopping in late November doesn’t have the urgency that it has for shoppers in the States. As in most Italian “things to do” lists, there’s always time later to take care of a task. Proverbial procrastinators, Italian’s will wander the Christmas markets, enjoy the holiday window displays and Christmas creches but as to shopping, there’s plenty of time left for that.