We at Italy Segway Tours would like to to wish you a great New Year’s Eve with people you love for a happy new year!
And in case you’ve decided to spend your holidays and this special night in Italy, we’re going to tell you something about what we do on these joyful days. there will be fireworks and concerts In every city’s main square, on New Year’s Eve, and people celebrate in the streets and since we’re in Italy and as in most of the Italian festivals, food plays a major role, therefore most of the people will choose to do the traditional “Cenone” (the New Year’s Eve dinner, literally “big dinner”) doesn’t matter if at home, in a restaurant, as long as it is spent with family or friends.
What can’t be missed is the cotechino – a lentil and meat (pork) combination, symbol of prosperity, money and good luck for the coming year….be sure to eat some! But holidays are not over! On January 6th, we celebrate the Epiphany, also called la Befana (who’s a good witch) and as an Italian proverb says: L’Epifania tutte le feste porta via (The Epiphany…and takes away the holidays). This day is commemorated by the visit of the Three Wise Men (Re Magi) to the Baby Jesus, but the night between January 5th and 6th is also related to a good witch, the Befana, who’s origin dates back to the roman ages. Usually the Befana is represented as an old, badly dressed woman, who rides a broom, and carries a sack full of presents for the good kids and….coal for the bad ones! What do you think you’ll deserve this year? 😉 Every city has different traditions in celebrating this day, then take a look at how January 6th is celebrated across Italy, between the Three Wise Men and the Befana.
You won’t believe it, but the Three Wise Men are buried in Milan! Actually their relics are divided between Milan and Cologne but this is another story… Since Milan loves its Three Wise Men, this day is celebrated since 1300 with a procession (Corteo dei Re Magi) of people dressed in costume followed by the Civic band usually departing at 11 from the Duomo and leading to the church of Sant’Eustorgio, where the relics of the Three Wise Men are kept. For motorcycle lovers, we suggest you to go near the Sforza Castle on January 6th at 8a.m. and wait for the Befana Motociclistica, a special motorcyclist meeting, where a Befana escorted by hundred bikers, will ride across the city center and give presents to poor children.
In Florence a gorgeous Cavalcade of over 500 costumed participants led by the Magi and inspired by a fresco kept in the Magi chapel of Palazzo Medici Riccardi, takes place since 1417 every January 6th. If you want to see the Cavalcade and travel back through the centuries, be there at 2 p.m. near Palazzo Pitti and follow the procession across the medieval city center up to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, where the Three Wise Men will give their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Baby Jesus.
In the heart of the city, in Piazza Navona, among the Bernini fountain and a big Carousel usually placed in the center of the square, you’ll find a huge open air market, opened every day until 1 a.m. where games, decorations, giant donuts, cotton candy and every other sweetness you can imagine is sold…a real heaven not just for kids. The market has been operating for almost 100 years and every year on the 6th, the Befana herself flies over the square riding her broomstick, leaves sweets and coal to every child and flies away in the night.
LUCKY LENTIL SOUP
- 1 kg (2lb) green lentils
- Olive oil
- Half minced onion
- A bay leaf
Soak the lentils overnight. The next day wash them and put them into a casserole, add olive oil, pepper, salt, minced onion and hot water. Cover the casserole and simmer gently for about 2 hours. Serve them as a side dish for instance with a cotechino…lucky and yummy!