Uncovering Italy’s Superlatives in people, places and things

Decorate your holidays with ISSIMO

Italy’s iconic symbols

ISSIMO decorates your holidays with handcrafted ornaments

The albero di natale (Christmas tree) is a beloved tradition in Italy and every December 8, our families come together to celebrate and decorate our trees and homes with colorful and even amusing addobbi (decorations).

ISSIMO wants to share a little holiday cheer with our palline di natale, featuring our favourite iconic symbols of Italianità like the ancient marvel Colosseum which embodies the power and genius of the Roman Empire. The Colosseum was constructed in 80 AD by the Flavian emperors and housed the most amazing spectacles in the Empire.

It wouldn’t be the holidays (or Italian!)) with a mention of Italy’s delicious delights so we’ve selected our favourite holiday treats to ring in the cheer.

Leading the way is the panettone, everyone’s favourite Christmas cake. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we give panettone to friends and family. The gorgeous dome of soft and aromatized bread has a sweet origin stories: a kitchen boy named Toni from the court of the Duke of Milan made a last minute replacement pastry with leftover dough with sugar, egg, candied fruits and raisins – el pan de Toni – Tony’s bread

The bignè is the traditional cream puff, invented in Florence in the 16th century by one of Catherine de Medici’s cooks. These delicious choux pastry puffs filled with pastry cream and dusted with powdered sugar are centerpieces at the holiday feast.

The fico (fig) is a millennia-old symbol of life, abundance, and sweetness. Many nonni will tell you it is good luck to have one growing in the garden, and for that reason, the fig is always the first fruit tree to be planted in any orto.

The mandarino is more than one of Italy’s favourite winter fruits, it is the traditional Christmas snack and a symbol of good luck.  Christmas tables are laden with bowls of mandarini, as well castagne (chestnuts), and pears.

On every Christmas table, a salame can be found but the ubiquitous cured meat is a culinary tradition that dates back to Roman times, when “salumen” were produced as long storage foods. Over time, salame came to represent the richness of the farmers. Now, tagliere (slices of salame and other cured meats) is the go to accompaniment for a great glass of wine.

The golden vinsanto (sweet wine) is one of the oldest symbols of Tuscan hospitality. Legend  tells that during the Black Plague, a Franciscan friar used a church wine to heal plague victims, giving it the nickname “saint”.


We enjoy vinsanto with cantuccio.  Il cantuccino is a historic Tuscan biscuit made popular in the Medici court. By the late 19th century, a Prato baker perfected the biscuit in slices (made with sugar, flour, egg and almonds) and today the cantuccio is an IGP (protected geographical indication) delicacy.

For good luck, look no further than the cornicello, a tiny horn that resembles a chili pepper.  The cornicello is a talisman for protection against the malocchio (evil eye).

Design is in Italian DNA so we’ve chosen our favourite and most iconic designs for our palline. The Moka otherwise known as La Macchinetta, the symbol of Italian creativity and hospitality. Designed by the ingenious Alfonso Bialetti, the Moka revolutionized breakfast and reinforced our natural affability. You can find a moka in every home, and better yet, when someone offers you a caffe, it’s meant as a gesture of welcoming.

Unmissable is the Fiat 500, Italy’s“great little car” and an icon of Italian culture and innovation.  No wonder that the Fiat 500 made the history books in 1959 when Dante Giacosa won the Compasso d’Oro for his ingenious design, and now the charming chassis is part of the MoMA’s permanent collection.

Vespa is homage to the Piaggio Vespa, that gorgeous scooter designed by Corrado D’Ascanio which debuted in 1946.  To us, the Vespa represents freedom, youth and amazing summers.

And of course, the Pellicano  – it’s all about the Pellicano hotels!


Each pallina celebrates a beloved and unforgettable tradition or motif straight out of Italian culture. Individually and in a set of eight, our artisanal Christmas palline are a collection of the wonders of Italy and are hand painted, blown glass. Decorate your tree, your lintel, your wine glass, or wherever you want to display your love for Italy.

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