Christmas is knocking at the door and there will be no street, house or shops that won’t dress up with typical Christmas decorations and lights, bringing everywhere an irresistible and overwhelming joy.
Christmas has always stood for holidays, travelling, taking part to traditions and events, organizing dinners with family and friends and, why not, going to the typical Christmas markets that every year (usually in December) give life to squares of towns and cities everywhere in Tuscany.
You’ll find some markets that last up to more days or weekends, as well as some others that take place in just one day, but all will let you taste the genuine flavours of the local Christmas traditions.
Here below I’m going to point out Lucca and province markets, but actually wherever you’ll decide to go on a trip, you’ll find typical Tuscan festivals and events surrounded by a joyful and infectious spice atmosphere.
Starting from a pretty unknown locality (but much more precious than other famous!), our first stop is in a nice medieval hamlet located on that mountain side that connect the Valdinievole with Bagni di Lucca valley, Colognora to be more precise (close to Villa Basilica). On the 8th of December, this characteristic location will be home to a manifestation called Borgo dei Sapori – Hamlet of Flavours – dedicated to local traditions and typical dishes, having the protagonist of the festival as special guests for kids, Santa Claus. Wine-and food stands with typical products, like those recipes made with chestnut flour – necci (sweet pancakes filled in with ricotta cheese or chocolate), castagnaccio (chestnut cake) – perfect with a glass of red wine, or those dishes that you may taste all year round, like ribollita (bread soups with vegetables), polenta and so on.
Christmas stands with decorations for houses and trees, every kind of stuff to give whoever you want to, local handcrafts products and whatever may come to your mind related to Christmas.
The location is really suggestive: the village, perched on the mountain side with the typical tiny streets of a medieval little town winding along from the main square, offers a huge and breathtaking views on the valley below: wonderful!
To get to Colognora, you can take the bus leaving from Pescia, but since it’s a public holiday, I’ll strongly suggest you take the car: passing through Collodi, direction Villa Basilica, it’s just a 15 minutes drive.
Moving towards the seaside, you’ll stumble upon Viareggio and Camaiore, that will be homes to traditional Christmas markets (from the 8th to the 26th of December in Piazza Mazzini in Viareggio, and from the 5th to the 24th of December in Camaiore), where you’ll find typical products and local handcrafts coming from all Italy. You could also seize the opportunity for taking a walk along the famous Versilia promenade with all its shops (open even on non-working days during Christmas time), bars, restaurant, night clubs, and go on the pretty desert beaches for seeing how is marvellous and impressive the sea on Winter: a relaxing view for physical and mind!
To get to Viareggio (and consequently to Camaiore, closeby), I strongly suggest you prefer the train (just check trenitalia timetable in advance) especially on sunny Sundays: you’ll run the risk of queuing on the highway for hours!
Since we’re talking about Lucca and province Christmas markets, I must mention the one taking place in Lucca from the 6th to the 9th of December: you’ll have then just a few days for taking part to this event – Natale nel Medioevo, Christmas during Middle Age – that will bring you back in time and let you taste the traditional and ancient local flavours, surrounded by a wonderful location (Lucca old city center) that still preserves its fascinating old aspect.
You’ll easily get to Lucca both by car (A11 motorway Firenze-mare) or public transport (bus and train).
Finally, moving towards the outskirts, there’s another Christmas market that deserves to be pointed out, taking place in Verciano – close to Capannori – on the second and third weekends of December: Pregustando il Natale – Arte, Sapori & Co. (Starting to taste Christmas – Art, Flavours & Co.). You’ll certainly spend a day dedicated to traditions and delicious products (on both Sundays, the event association will organize lunches with typical dishes of the local Chrstimas traditions – such as matuffi (polenta with meat or mushrooms sauce) – so you’d better reserve your table in advance if you want to enjoy all this delicacies!
Once again, car is preferred to get to Verciano.
That said, there’s nothing left for me to do but hoping to meet you somewhere in one of this Christmas markets, while tasting a glass of red wine or a Tuscan titbit, or buying some present… In any case, should we meet or not…I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!