Posts tagged ‘Italian Holidays’

December 11, 2013

Italy’s Christmas Markets

Christmas in Milan- Duomo

 

Piazza Navona Christmas Market

Piazza Navona Christmas Market

As many Americans are already planning their holiday shopping strategy, I am wishing I could be working on my ‘gift list’ in the Mercatino di Natale in Italy. Milan hosts a Wonderland Village in the historic center from early December through January 6 with a market, ice-skating rink, and entertainment. Rome’s Piazza Navona hosts a big Christmas Market. Babbo Natale, Father Christmas, makes appearances for picture taking opportunities and there is a life-size nativity scene set up in the piazza later in the month. Lucca, in Tuscany, holds a Christmas market in Piazza San Michele, usually through December 26. Siena holds several Christmas markets during December as does Arezzo, Montepulciano, and Pisa.

Florence Noel starts at the end of November. Children can visit the house of Babbo Natale (Father Christmas), there’s a Christmas market with colorful lights displays. Also in Florence, Piazza Santa Croce holds a popular German-style Christmas market consisting of many booths from the end of November through mid-December. Naples holds a December Christmas market near Via San Gregorio Armeno, known for its many nativity workshops. Some of the vendors dress in traditional shepherd costumes. Nearby Sorrento, on the beautiful Amalfi peninsula in the Bay of Naples holds it’s market in Tassi Square through January 6. Wherever you are doing your holiday shopping, I wish you a a Buone Feste !

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April 13, 2011

Invitation to Tuscany: Campalfi, Stigliano, Siena

Campalfi, Stigliano, Siena

Three apartments in farm buildings.

Campalfi, set back from the river Merse by about 200 metres, is a group of ancient farm buildings that once had all the necessities for the self-contained life of a small community. It has been converted to provide seven spacious dwellings. There is a central open-sided courtyard entered through an archway, around which are arranged the apartments, and to one side of this is a large dining-room where the English-speaking owner, a renowned chef, serves wonderful meals every Saturday night and on alternate evenings. The old granary has made a delightful cottage with a patio and an outdoor oven; a large ground floor apartment for five people is at right angles to the granary; and on the ground floor below the old tower is a light and airy apartment for two people.

The conversions are a harmonious blend of ancient tradition and modern comforts. All the apartments have a quiet, cool and restrained atmosphere and make excellent use of attractive fabrics and materials including old terra cotta floors, and simple, traditional Tuscan furniture. The hand of the artist owner is seen in the soft colors that grace the apartment walls and in the blossoms that drape arch and pergola alike.

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February 16, 2011

Carnevale, the Festival of Masks

Carnevale, also known as carnival or mardi gras, is celebrated in Italy and many places around the world 40 days before Easter, a final party before Ash Wednesday and the restrictions of Lent.

Carnevale in Italy is a huge winter festival celebrated with parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties. Children throw confetti at each other and play tricks one each other in fun.

Although carnival is actually one day, in Venice and many other places in Italy the carnival celebrations and parties may begin  2 weeks earlier.  This year February 19th,  the “Grand toast in Venice” will be the opening event, an elegant and joyful “cheers” for tourists and locals alike  to officially welcome the Carnival. The main attraction will be a big wine fountain spouting vino for all.   The dancing commences and a full agenda of activities continues  throughout the 2 week long festival.

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January 16, 2011

My Favorite Destination is…

Veneto Trip 2010Though I love so many destinations around the world, when asked which is my favorite….I must say ‘Italy’.  I by no means limit my travels to Italy, but I do visit Italy with more regularity than any other single destination.  I have yet to find anything I don’t like about Italy.  The culture, cuisine, history, architecture, art, sea, mountains, wine, and song all blended together with the incredible genuine  warmth of the people make it a destination that draws people back over and over.

Since we are just a few days into 2011,  and most of us setting goals and making plans for things we wish to accomplish this year …that means decisions need to be made about where you will journey.

Springtime travel to Italy holds many advantages.  Temperatures are warming up, the flowers are blooming (my favorite red poppies in Tuscany), airfares and hotel prices are reasonable, and most of Italy gets less rain in the Spring than the Fall. Italian holidays like Easter, Liberation Day, and the Festa della Republica offer many festive concerts and processions!

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