A very happy new year to all of you! We hope you’ve had a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year’s Eve. Where did you celebrate? In Tuscany perhaps? We’re curious to know! Please, share your experience in the comments below.
So, were you good last year and did Santa fill your stockings with everything you wished for? Not completely satisfied with your Christmas gifts? Not to worry! Italy gives you a second round of presents with the arrival of La Befana on Epiphany Eve. This friendly witch gives kids either gifts or charcoal in their stockings – depending on their behaviour. So make sure you’re super good these days and you might just get the gift you have been hoping for all year long!
Wicked witches and wise men
Go and see La Befana arrive in several places in Tuscany. She’ll appear in Montemurlo at 8 pm on the 5th of January. The day after she’ll be back on her broom flying around the piazza of Montemurlo from 4 pm onwards. That morning, the three wise men will pay a visit to the town as well, so the little ones will definitely have a blast seeing all these magical characters in real life.
On the 5th Befana Ernesta will also make her yearly appearance in Soci, Arezzo, on a gigantic parade float. Stockings and small gifts will be handed out to the kids on Epiphany Eve. When the float arrives at piazza Garibaldi though, the enormous puppet representing the lovely Ernesta will be set on fire. Chocolate and mulled wine will be served in the meantime. So much for a warm welcome.
Then, obviously, La Befana will be welcomed in many other places on the 5th of January as well – and of course, being a witch, she has no problem whatsoever being everywhere at the same time. See her in Cutigliano, Melo or Pian degli Ontani. On the 6th she’s expected in Signa, Cerreto Guidi, Firenzuola, Impruneta and practically every other town in Tuscany. In San Piero a Sieve she will arrive by train and in Porto Ercole she comes falling from the sky. In Seravezza she’ll fly around and in Volterra she’ll go ice-skating. Being a witch means serious business and having a very, very busy schedule.
Not really into witches and prefer seeing wise men on camel- or horseback? Then make sure you’re in Borgo San Lorenzo on the 5th of January. The three wise men will ride through the city centre looking for the most famous baby ever. Can’t get enough of these gift-bearing men from the East? On the 6th they will continue their journey to Florence and make their way from Piazza Pitti to Piazza Duomo starting at 2 pm and arriving at the nativity scene at 3.30 pm.
Fritelle, fun and feasts!
After all the Christmas feasting you might consider starting a diet. Just wait a little longer before you do because La Sagra delle Fritelle is starting on the 10th of January. These fried dough delicacies made of orange, milk, rice, sugar and raisins will definitely make you go wild. Say cheers to the New Year with some Vin Santo and you’ll definitely be looking at a year full of fun and feasts – diets can wait till next year. The frying will be happening in San Donato in Collina, every weekend until the end of March from 10 am tot 7 pm.
If you like stew – or stufato – you should definitely go to the Palio dello Stufato alla Sangiovannese in San Giovanni Valdarno on the 11th of January. Different chefs, called stufatori for the occasion, will try to win the honour of cooking up the best stufato San Giovanni style. Should be fun and yummy!
Light up the New Year
Like your bonfires? Go and celebrate Sant’Antonio together with the inhabitants of Filattiera on the 16th of January. In three different quarters of town they will light up enormous fires and the one with the highest flames wins the challenge. At the main entrance to the town, the locals gather to celebrate the saint, admiring the fire and cooking sausages and spare-ribs, while dancing and singing the night away. This will all be accompanied by a good glass of wine of course.
On the 18th of January you can get a taste of a very local food called Necci at the Sagra del Neccio in Cantagallo. The crepes-like treats are made of chestnut flour and cooked on traditional iron plates and stuffed with either ricotta or sweet fillings. The sagra starts at 2.30 pm and comes to an end at around 7 pm. There will be a shuttle bus available.
Maths for everybody
Something completely different, but fun and interesting all the same, is the Domeniche Matematiche (Math Sundays) initiative held on the 11th and 25th of January. The first appointment has the theme ‘Maths and scissor cuts’ and the second one ‘Maths for everybody’. Il Giardino di Archimede, the math museum in Florence, has organized these fun activities for families which will be starting at 4 pm and cost from €4,- to €7,-, depending on your kid’s age. Besides the workshops a visit to the museum is included as well. 5 years and up, call to book your spot: 055-7879594, or send an email: email@example.com
Have a wickedly wonderful start of the New Year!