Posted on December 22nd, 2009 No comments
The cities prepare themselves for this occasion and Rome is adorned with lights, decorations and ornaments.
Sometimes foreigners travelling to Italy during the Christmas season, complain that Italy is not very “Christmasy”.
Is true in Italy Christmas is still more about religion than commerce. The atmosphere is more subtle than in the US. Nevertless the streets are swarmed with people in search of traditional gifts, and the air echoes from the sound of pipers (zampognari), who every year come down from the mountains in Abruzzo and Ciociaria.
In Italy be ready to taste the traditional seven-fish Christmas Eve dinner. Traditional variety of eel, the symbol of fraternity and friendship, but also marinated eel, mollusk and crustacean are served. Talking about sweets, the specialty of the season is the ‘Panettone‘ and its million varieties.
A tradition from Milan, which along with the ‘Pandoro‘ has been “adopted” by all other regions. And then… almond cookies, nougat, various pastries combined with citrus fruits, dried fruits and lots more…
Nativity scenes (Presepi) can be found in almost every corner, churches and in many piazzas. In Piazza del Popolo for instance there will be quite a lot amount of nativity scenes (visit the official site http://www.presepi.it/). For sure not to be missed the nativity scene in Piazza San Pietro.
If you are in the “creche spirit” and you don’t have the chance to visit the Naple’s Via San Gregorio Armeno, then go with your children in Rome’s Piazza Navona. Undoubtedly the symbol of the Christmas season in Rome!
During the Christmas holidays the Piazza gets decorated with lights, carousel for the kids and its outlines are surrounded by stalls selling Christmas goods, puppets, cork-tree and velvet strings, ornaments for the Christmas tree, toys, candy and nativity scenes.
A triumph of figurines of Mary, Joseph, the child Christ, the angels, the mangers, animals, musicians, artisans and craftspeople of that time period, pieces that represent everyday life in Bethlehem…
Yo’ll be able to find bales of hay for the camels, sacks of fruit, bags of olives, pots made of real copper, sausage and onions tied with string… All the most beautiful pieces are either carved in wood or formed in terracotta and costumes are refined down to the smallest detail.
This is every child’s paradise, and sometimes there is the chance to meet a person dressed as Santa Claus or its female version called La Befana.
La Befana is an old woman who flies on a broom and brings presents (traditionally candy or a lump of coal if you’re bad) on January the 6th.
Happy Christmas, or Buon Natale, as we say in Italy.
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