OK, we realize it’s nearly February and people are more inclined to think about Valentine’s Day than Christmas… but it’s still cold and snowy and hey, who couldn’t use a little holiday cheer any time of year?! So, if you’ll forgive us for posting about Christmas at the end of January, than you’ll certainly excuse the fact that these pictures were taken last year!
Christmas is such a special time in Italy. We didn’t want to miss a posting about this wonderful event and some of the local traditions. When we arrived on January 4th, all the lights and decorations were still present but we didn’t have an opportunity to photograph anything. Therefore, we had to use some from last year’s library.
Lake Como’s Duomo – lit up at night
Starting in early December, you’ll find lights and decorations sprinkled throughout each piazza and cobblestone street you encounter. In front of every church you’ll see a presepio (nativity scene) that is always presented wonderfully and illuminated each night. If you venture into the suburbs (or look up toward the windows in most cities), you’ll see hundreds of little Santas trying to climb their way into someone’s home. And you’re sure to hear “Buon Natale” (Merry Christmas) at every turn.
“Let me in!!”
Of course, Christmas is also on December 25th but the celebrations don’t stop until after La Festa dell’Epifania (The Feast of the Epiphany) when on the Eve of the Epiphany (January 4th) the Befana (witch) delivers candy to all the good children and brings coal to all the naughty children. Wiki Link on the Befana. My intimate knowledge of this subject comes from Julia’s children’s books. Basically, what I’ve learned is that the Befana went to bring the baby Jesus sweets and sweep up his room since his new mother would be exhausted. So now on the Eve of January 4th, she comes and sweeps up little childrens rooms and gives them candy.
A stroll on the streets of Lake Como
The lights on the Duomo in Milan are gorgeous, and we’ve read about other cities that have wonderful presepios or stunning decorations but our absolute favorite is seeing the light display in our own town of Lake Como. Images are cast across buildings, churches and even the streets and municipal buildings.
Some shops in the main piazza
We loved the “icicles” hanging off the ledge
The “snow” would cascade down the buildings
Como’s Teatro Sociale
Even the otherwise boring government buildings join the party
“Friends of Como, Merry Christmas”
Another wonderful tradition in Lake Como is the market that assembles for several weeks in the winter months – right in the main square, the Piazza Cavour. Here, you’ll find vendors of meats, cheeses, breads, goods and our personal favorite – vino cotto (cooked wine), which is commonly known as mulled wine.
“Make mine a double please!”
*Now that another year has passed, please enjoy some of our Christmas posts from this past season.