Thursday December 5, 2013
Italy's Catholic processions with huge structures carried on the shoulders of a number of participants have been inscribed on UNESCO's List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. These processions take place in a number of cities but the 4 historic cities who applied and are included in the inscription were Sassari on the island of Sardinia, Nola in southern Italy near Naples, Palmi in southern Italy on Calabria's west coast, and Viterbo in northern Lazio, north of Rome. See UNESCO article for details.
Each of these cities holds a yearly religious festival in which a group of participants (usually men) transport very heavy processional structures through the streets. These processions normally include people dressed in traditional costume and music and sometimes children participate by carrying smaller versions. I've seen the procession of the Candelieri, huge decorated candles carried in procession by groups of men who dance with the candles on their shoulders, in mid-August in Sassari several times and it's a very exciting event (video). Here's a look at the Festa di Santa Rosa held in Viterbo on September 3.
The Mediterranean Diet was also inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Festa di Santa Rosa photo by Mary Jane Cryan, used by permission
Wednesday December 4, 2013
Do you have someone on your gift list who loves Italian food or who is planning a trip to Italy? One of our recommended Italian Cookbooks and Food Books might make the perfect gift. We've selected a few cookbooks that have more than just recipes. The authors included stories about people and traditions and have made their cookbooks seem more personal. Our food books are useful for figuring out what and where to eat when traveling in Italy.
We also have a few recommended food apps for Italy including menu translators and apps specific to Rome, Florence, Venice, and Tuscany.
More Italy Gift Books and Italian Themed Gift Ideas
Italian Menu Decoder app photo © by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls
Sunday December 1, 2013
December events in Italy are mainly centered around the Christmas holiday season. Starting early in the month (or even at the end of November), Italian Christmas markets spring up in many places, from big city markets open every day to small village markets open on weekends. The Feast Day of San Nicolo on December 6 is celebrated many places, followed by the national holiday for the Immaculate Conception on December 8 and Santa Lucia Day on December 13.
Rome is the most popular Christmas season destination in Italy so be sure to book your Rome hotel in advance if you plan to visit around Christmas - see Christmas Season in Rome and Vatican City. December is also a great time to go to Naples to visit the street of nativity workshops, Via San Gregorio Armeno, where you're bound to see lots of figurines of Pope Francis this year.
Italy in December: December Festivals and Holidays
Christmas and Winter Holidays | New Year's Eve
Photo of Santa Lucia Day Parade at the Vatican by Martha Bakerjian, licensed to About.com
Friday November 29, 2013
If you have an Italophile on your gift list or someone who is planning a trip to Italy, consider these Italy related gifts that you can easily buy online. For Italian foodies we suggest one of these food books and apps, and for lovers of Venice, try one of these novels set in Venice. These Italy apps make perfect companions for someone heading to Italy next year and are very easy to give. Or consider an Italian music CD.
If you want to give a gift that will last all year, Kathy McCabe is offering a discount on a gift subscription to her award-winning Dream of Italy newsletter that comes with a bonus of olive oil from Puglia (limited supply so order it soon). She also has a selection of Italian Christmas cards for those who want to send a little bit of Italy this holiday season.
Browse our Italy Gifts Guide for more gifts with an Italian theme.
Related Reading: Christmas Traditions and Events in Italy