As we approach the holiday season and Christmas Day in particular, you might find yourselves too busy with the preparations, the ornaments, the presents and the lights and your will to learn Italian might decrease a little…but we can’t let this happen, on the contrary: we have to find some new incentives so that you can keep practicing your Italian…between a slice of panettone and a headband with the words: “Merry Christmas”! There is no better excuse (or incentive) than a good “cinepanettone“. This is a completely Italian invention that indicates a comic Italian movie in which the main event is generally based on a series of misunderstandings and double entendres. They take place during the Christmas season, are aimed at a popular audience and made specifically to be watched during the holidays. Let’s find out together what are the top 5 must-see cinepanettoni!


You can find a list of the five best cinepanettoni below, in order from the less recent to the most recent. In these movies, you will find some famous actors such as De Sica and Boldi, who are considered the fathers of this genre, as well as actors like Diego Abatantuono, Fabio de Luigi and Biagio Izzo, who often act in comic movies.

NATALE IN CROCIERA, “Christmas on Cruise” (2007)

This movie is a classic cinepanettone, packed with the misunderstandings and double entendres we mentioned before, in addition to romantic entanglements and…well, some obscenities. In this movie we find Christian De Sica (a very famous Italian actor who is mostly known thanks to cinepanettoni and similar kinds of movies) and he plays Paolo, a man who has planned to send his wife and kid away on a skiing holiday so that he can spend some time with his mistress without being disturbed. The perfect opportunity presents itself to Paolo when his bother-in-law attempts suicide: Paolo offers to go with him on a holiday to keep him company but his plan is actually to abandon his brother-in-law and stay with his mistress, to whom he has promised a Caribbean cruise. Moreover, as often happens in this kind of movies, the main plot (Paolo’s story, in this case) is intertwined with the one of other characters, Michela (Michelle Hunziker) and Luigi (Fabio De Luigi) who, after some back and forth, will find themselves to be the groomsman and the maid of honor at a wedding, without their knowledge. This wedding takes places…try to guess…on a Caribbean cruise!
What will happen next? We won’t tell you but trust us…you’ll have a great time watching this movie!

LA BANDA DEI BABBI NATALE, “The Santa Clause Gang” (2010)

The protagonists of this movie are the members of the comic trio “Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo”, a name that comes from the names of the three actors. For the three men, this is not a good Christmas as they end up at the police station..but it’s all a misunderstanding: they get caught in Aldo’s partner’s house, dressed as Santa Clause, and are accused of being part of the gang of robbers that break into people’s homes wearing the disguise of the star of the Christam season. At this point, they will have to justify themselves and explain that they’re not robbers…but rather a trio of “bocce” players (“bocce” is an Italian sport similar to the British sport of Lawn Bawls).

IL PEGGIOR NATALE DELLA MIA VITA, “The Worst Christmas of My Life” (2012)

This movie is about four days in the protagonist’s life: the three days that precede Christmas and Christmas day itself, which is the “worst Christmas of his life“. Paolo, the protagonist, has to go to a castle to celebrate the holidays with his in-laws and, as always, there will be lots and lots of accidents: he will end up, among other things, ruining the turkey prepared for the Christmas dinner and announcing the death of a man who is actually alive. In this movie full of surprises, you will find great actors such as Diego Abatantuono, Cristiana Capotondi and Fabio De Luigi.

UN NATALE AL SUD, “Christmas in the South” (2016)

This is another self-respecting cinepanettone! In this particular case, the plot is based on a theme that is very popular among Italian movies: the differences between Northern and Southern Italy. We also find the topic of technology coming to love’s aid: the two protagonists of this movie are a member of the Italian police from the North (Massimo Boldi) and a former office worker from the South (Biagio Izzo) who end up celebrating the Christmas holidays in the same locality – ending up in the same place is a constant, don’t you think? Many plot lines revolve around families whose stories intertwine with one another…Anyways, the two men find out that their sons are in relationships with two girls whom they’ve only met through the dating app “Cupido 2.0”. Because they have never met these two girls, the men decide to tail their sons but their mission turns out to be more difficult than they expected and they’ll have to attend the gathering organised by the company behind the dating app, which will lead to a series of hilarious situations!

IL PRIMO NATALE, “Once Upon a Time… in Bethlehem” or “The first Christmas” (2019)

In this movie, we will be transported and completely catapulted into the first Christmas, that is the day Jesus was born, thanks to the comic Sicilian actors, Salvatore Ficarra e Valentino Picone, who are better known as the name of their duo: “Ficarra e Picone”. The first one plays the role of a robber, Salvo, who discovers the value of a relic located in the church of priest Valentino, played by the second. After the discovery, Salvo decides to partake in the Nativity play organised by the parish on the occasion of the Christmas holidays. The robber’s plan works out and he is able to steal the precious object, but the priest finds out and starts chasing him…and the two men find themselves in Palestine, at the time of the Nativity of Jesus, because of a magical and dangerous route…
Now it’s up to you to find out what happens next!

If you want to know more about Christmas and how we celebrate it here in Italy, don’t miss the article where we talk about the Italian Christmas traditions (spoiler alert: we talk about panettone too).

We want to remind everybody that if you have troubles in finding or watching Italian movies from other countries, you can overcome the geographical restrictions and have access to all of the Italian TV channels online using a VPN. To put it simply: have you ever ended up on a page that said “content not available in your country”? This is an example of geographical restriction because it means that the content you were looking for is available only for people who are accessing the site from certain countries. NordVPN solves this problem and you’ll only need to open the program (available on PC, tablet and smartphone), choose the Country in which you want to be from virtually and reload the page you were trying to view! I use NordVPN often, to watch movies and TV series on foreign TV networks, as a way to improve the pronunciation and grammar of the languages that I study! I’m sure that NordVPN will come in handy for you too: give it a try, you won’t regret it! It’s only a couple of euros per month and using the coupon code LearnAmo you will have a free month…and if you buy it and you don’t like it, you’ll just have to send them an email and you will be completely refunded.

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