CHRISTMAS IN MILANO: NOT JUST PANETTONE!
December is definitely a good moment to come to visit Milano since the city, dressed with lights and sequins, looks even more fascinating. In these days the Milanesi are waiting for the lighting of the big Christmas tree in front of the Duomo, a fir 30 meters high just arrived from Trentino Alto Adige. Let’s do like them and stroll around the center of the city!
After being in Piazza Duomo, continue in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to take a look to the magical illuminations, then reach Piazza della Scala and queue up in front of the City Hall where every year a painting of a famous painter is on display for free. This year’s masterpiece will be the “Madonna di Foligno” by Raffaello on display until January 12th.
For the Milanesi the festive season begins on December 7th, when the city celebrates the fest of Saint Ambrose, the city’s patron saint, and for this occasion between December 5th and 8th a street market is organized the origin of which dates back to the Middle Ages, called “Oh Bej! Oh bej!” on the grounds of the Sforza Castle. If you’re in Milan, don’t miss it, you’ll have the chance to taste some typical treats and buy local handcrafted pieces.
But December 7th is also the day of the official opening of the annual season at La Scala, probably the best known opera house in the world, with the three-act opera La Traviata written by the maestro Giuseppe Verdi. If you don’t have time to attend an opera you can take a look into the auditorium and enter inside the boxes 13, 15 and 18 by visiting the museum.
But in Milano Christmas is not Christmas without a panettone, a traditional bread enriched with valuable ingredients. The story tells that this special cake was invented by a young trainee of the ducal chef whose name was Toni. It was Christmas and Toni had baked a buttery fluffy cake enriched with raisin and candied fruit for himself, but since the dessert for the ducal banquet burnt, he suggested to serve his cake. As you can imagine the reaction of the guests was enthusiastic and we can say that the panettone was born! The name comes from this guy, in fact “Pan de Toni” then turned into panettone meaning Toni’s Bread. In December you can find this specialty in every pastry shop and bakery. Which is the best one in town? Hard to say, what is sure is that looking in the pastry shop windows is a festival for the eyes, here you’ll find fine decorated and colorful panettoni which are real pieces of art. Is told that a last small piece of panettone must be kept and eaten on February 3rd, the day of San Blaise…will you be able to save that piece?
If you’re in love with the Italian cuisine and want to learn and taste more, join our Food Walking Tours in Florence and in Rome and stay tuned for the forthcoming brand new Milan Food Tour! For more information about this great food experience contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org