Mamma mia, Christmas is approaching! Our guide gives you 10 of the best Italian gift ideas for your friends and family.

In a predominantly Catholic country like Italy, Christmas has always been celebrated with Italian nativity scenes - called Presepi - shimmering Christmas trees, colourful decorations and opulent dinners.

Italians also have a quirky side, however, as our guide attempts to demonstrate, from former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's latest musical offering, a CD of True Love songs, to Bunga Bunga bracelets.

Perhaps the relaxing, moving atmosphere created by tenor Andrea Bocelli's voice may be more appropriate. His latest release, Notte Illuminata, is a collection of German, English, French and Italian songs, which are only available in a digital format.

A country with such a great artistic and cultural heritage also has its share of writers and Umberto Eco's latest thriller, The Prague Cemetery, is bound to keep readers riveted to their seats throughout the holiday season.

For those of you who are philanthropically inclined, a 10-year Italian government bond will help keep the country afloat and, possibly, enable German Chancellor Angela Merkel to sleep better at night.

In contrast, those of a religious persuasion might appreciate receiving a model reproduction of the Popemobile, while those who like the look and feel of leather would undoubtedly appreciate a Gucci handbag.