Christmas in Tuscany
Unforgettable experiences ouf of Florence
In Tuscany, you can breath in the Christmas atmosphere even while delighting in its charming rural environment. Here are some suggestions for those who wish add such an unforgettable experience to their vacation.
IN THE VINEYARD
A truly unique spectacle that can be enjoyed until the Epiphany this year is Luci in Vigna (Lights in the Vineyard). A sober and refined installation, deeply moving, designed and desired by Famiglia Cecchi. For this third edition, the vineyard becomes a real natural open-air screen, where to recount the combination of the magic of nature and the work of man. The Christmas season is the most popular time of the year to visit the ancient hamlet near Arezzo comprised within the estate Tenuta Il Borro, where the Ferragamo family has been producing superb wines for about twenty years. A real treat for adults and children alike is visiting the Nativity with its moving characters.
Tuscany is a land of monasteries where you can easily come across places that seem frozen in time and are filled with the charm of Gregorian chant.
The Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, in the Sienese Crete region, is the home of the Olivetan Benedictine monks. Here you can listen to Gregorian chants every day: on weekdays, at vespers and during convent service (7.30 am and 6.30 pm), and on Sunday during the 11 o’clock service and vespers at 6.30 pm.
At the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, marvelous religious site near Montalcino, the canons community gathers seven times a day for prayers sung in Gregorian. On weekdays at 4.30 pm, on Sundays at 11 am. On Christmas evening, service begins at 11.30 pm, on 25 and 26 December at 11 am.
SANTA CLAUS VILLAGES
Those who wish to spend a special day with their children can visit the Città del Natale (the Christmas Town) in Montecatini Terme (Province of Pistoia), until 6 January. Have fun together in the Wood of the Elves – where you can listen to a fable, play in the theme park and watch magicians perform – and at Santa Clause’s House. Or, in the Province of Siena, visit Santa Clause’s Castle, in Montalcino, or Santa Clause’s Village in Chianciano.
Monteriggioni (Province of Siena) is where you can see, on 24 December, the Torchlight Procession Along the Via Francigena – an evocative evening walk lit by the sole lights of torches. Departure is at 21.00 from the Castle of Monteriggioni. Four kilometers through woods and fields and arrival at 23.00 at Abbadia a Isola.
Christmas Eve mass will be served at the Abbey of Saints Salvatore and Cirino. Shuttle service is be provided back to medieval hamlet.
At Abbadia San Salvatore, on the Monte Amiata, an ancient Christmas-eve tradition unique in the world: the Fiaccole di Natale (Christmas Torches). The torches consist of firewood that is piled high into a pyramid shape before midnight and set fire to. The actual ritual begins at 6.00 pm.