Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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Trading Places: An unexpected Christmas tradition in Italy

It wouldn't be Christmas in Italy without Una Poltrona per Due on tv.

Italy is home to some of the world's oldest and most spectacular Christmas traditions that have illuminated and enriched the Italian festive season for centuries.

It also has some more unexpected modern-day traditions and few are more intriguing than the annual screening of Trading Places on Italian television at Christmas.

Year after year, by popular demand, millions of Italians sit down to watch the dubbed version of the movie, Una Poltrona per Due.

The classic American comedy, a 20th-century take on the tale of the rich man (Dan Aykroyd) and the poor man (Eddie Murphy), has become a fixture in Italy every Christmas.

Trading Places is a festive favourite in Italy.


The movie was released in US cinemas on 8 June 1983, and in Italian cinemas on 19 January 1984.

Although the film was an instant success in the US box office, in Italy it came only 13th in the ranking of most viewed films that year.

Directed by John Landis, the movie tells the story of an upper-class commodities broker (Akroyd) and a poor street hustler (Murphy) whose lives cross when they are unwittingly made the subject of an elaborate bet to test how each man would perform when their life circumstances are swapped.

First aired by Italia 1 on Christmas Day in 1989, the movie has been screened in Italy at Christmas time practically every year since 1997 and is now a festive institution.

Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy in Una Poltrona per Due.


There is also a significant economic factor for re-screening the same movie each year: it costs far less to broadcast a classic compared to purchasing the rights to a new title.

Whatever the reasons, public approval has remained consistently high down through the decades, with more than two million viewers watching in 2017.

There is even a Facebook fan page dedicated exclusively to the annual screening, with around 8,000 followers.

The good news for Trading Places fans in Italy is that the much-loved classic will be aired as usual on Christmas Eve 2023 on Italia 1 at 21.20.

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