It always saddens me to board a US-bound flight before the holidays and see Italians stuffing boxes of industrial panettone into the overhead compartment. Aside from the fact that in the US there are excellent artisanal producers of the stuff (Sullivan Street Bakery and Runner & Stone, to name a pair), the mass produced junk can’t hold a candle to the typical Christmas treats that Italian artisans turn out for the holidays.
In Rome, there are still many bakeries that produce their own Christmas breads according traditional recipes and now is the time to start stocking up on panettone, pangiallo, and pandoro. My go-to is Pasticceria Regoli, which has been in business for almost a century. The shop is known for its pandoro, an octagonal frustum-shaped sweet yeast bread dusted with powdered sugar to evoke snowy peaks.
I’m also a fan of their pangiallo, which is packed with dried fruits and nuts, sort of a Christmasy version of pizza ebraica and just as dense.
You can also get excellent artisanal pannetone at Antico Forno Roscioli, Romeo, and Panificio Bonci.