Don't think of Italy as only a summer destination. There are plenty of things to do and to see during the Italian spring, fall, and even winter. This series of articles provides ideas for your Italian vacation, describing regional spectacles, tourist attractions, and special events, at any time of year. Off-season Italian holidays have several advantages: You won't fight the crowds, hotels and other accommodations are easier and cheaper to find. Whatever time of year you go, every region has its own special festivals. Plan your Italian holidays now. Keep reading.
This winter looks lovely.
So you are thinking of visiting central Italy in December, but youíre not sure what to see and what to do. Donít despair; there are lots and lots of special events that simply arenít available in the good old summertime. Here are a few of them. Get rolling; December is almost upon us. We start our virtual tour in the Abruzzi and Molise on the Adriatic Coast and then work our way east to Latium and its capital, Rome. There are so many things to see and do in central Italy in December that this is the second of two articles.
The double excitement, Rome and New Year's Eve.
Abruzzi celebrates December 6, San Nicolo Feast Day, with traditional loaves of bread and taralli, hard round biscuits, washed down with wine. Abruzzi holds many beautiful Living Nativity scenes such as Bethlehem in the Grotto in the town of Stiffe. On Christmas Eve many Molise towns including Agnones, Acquaviva Collecroce, and Oratino hold torchlight processions, while Bagnoli di Trigno holds a flashlight parade. Each parade is similar and each parade is unique.
The Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 is an Italian national holiday. There are celebrations throughout Italy and churches hold special masses. You'll find parades, feasts, and music in here, there, and almost everywhere, including Latium. Rome celebrates with floral wreaths and a ceremony at the Spanish Steps chaired by the Pope. Although government offices and banks are closed, many stores stay open for holiday shopping.
Latium hosts a large number and wide variety of Living Nativity Scenes. The town of Greccio presents an unusual one: the Re-enactment Of St. Francis Building The First Nativity Scene (Christmas Eve). St. Francis of Assisi is said built a nativity scene out of straw in a Greccio cave in 1223. Some of the largest and most elaborate Roman Nativity Scenes are found in found in Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Euclide, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Maria d'Aracoeli on the Capitoline Hill, and in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City. There midnight mass on Christmas Eve is followed by the Popeís blessing on Christmas Day. The Church of Saints Cosma e Damiano, by the main entrance to the Roman Forum, displays a large nativity scene from Naples all year round. Other towns hosting nativity scenes include Bassano, Vetralla, and Chia where on December 26 more than 500 people participate.
Rome's traditional New Year's Eve celebrations are centered in Piazza del Popolo (Square of the People). Huge crowds celebrate with rock and classical music, dancing, and fireworks. The celebration continues New Year's Day with childrenís festivities. Perhaps you prefer a classical music concert outdoors on the square in front of the Quirinale off Via Nazionale around 11:00 followed by fireworks at midnight. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine local wines.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.
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December events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in central Italy