Winter holidays and Christmas suggestions
Too early to talk about Christmas? We don't think so. Just a month to Christmas and towns and villages have already been decorated for Santa Claus (Babbo natale here in Tuscany), with lights ready to turn on.
So what happens in Tuscany and Chianti during the period from November to January?
In Tuscany we have an old tradition of Christmas cakes and sweets. They are very famous the Cavallucci biscuits, with candied fruit inside, the Torta di Cecco, a small cake covered with chocolate, the Panforte, another small cake with candied and dried fruit and nuts, the Ricciarelli biscuits, marzipan biscuits.
All of them are coming from this region and each family has some of them on the table for Christmas lunch.
A tradition coming from Northern Europe, but really appreciated here is Christmas market.
Lights turn on in the cities, the dark and cold that come earlier and something changes in the air.
Some of these markets are really famous and nice to see and to visit, during Christmas holidays. Especially in Florence you could find a huge choice of markets to see, some of them are not typical from here, for example the one in Piazza Santa Croce, that's in German style and with German products (from December 2nd to 20th).
Others are more Tuscan, such as the Fierucola dell'Immacolata (December 8th) in Piazza Santissima Annunziata and the Fierucolina di Natale in Piazza Santo Spirito (December 20th).
Other Christmas markets are organized by voluntary and charity associations, that sell craftworks for fundraising to help poor people and to continue their works in social projects.
In Siena, in the first weekend of December (5th and 6th) there will be the Mercato nel Campo a traditional market where you can find all the food products we mentioned before and handicrafts, with the special setting of Piazza del Campo.
In other cities, such as Monteriggioni (Siena), you can find Babbo Natale and his village ready to welcome your children in his wonderful world and a market of food for adults, who don't believe in Santa Claus anymore.
Another tradition of the whole Italy are the Nativity exhibitions.
Normally after 8th December you can visit a lot of Nativity scenes from the more traditional with big static statues to the more original with living people or moving statues.
We suggest you to visit Cigoli Nativity, at the Santuario della Madonna dei Bimbi, near S. Miniato (Pisa) and the Montignoso Nativity, at the Santuario di Montignoso, near Gambassi Terme.
So what about Christmas holidays here in Chianti? Waiting for Babbo Natale will be wonderful here!