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Christmas in Verona

English
For all of you that want to visit Verona during Christmas holidays there are some traditions you don't have to miss.
The first date is with the traditional Christmas market in the center of Verona. This event starts on 26th November and end on 19th December. This is a "twinning" between the cities of Verona and Norimberga. Dante square, near Erbe square, becomes part of Norimberga with banquets, typical foods and drinks all around. This square during november and december is like a fable, it's all decorated and many people join this space having a good time. If you come to Verona, don't forget to taste Vin Brulè, the warm spicy wine typical of winter.
The official website of the event is called Natale In Piazza.
A traditional banquet in Piazza dei Signori

Near this square in Piazza Mercato Vecchio (Old Market square) the Christmas market is until 26th December with al typical foods, drinks and traditions of Verona.
The Christmas market is for an entire month, but the greatest event during Christmas is every year from 10th to 13th December in Piazza Bra, the Arena square. The event is simply called S. Lucia banquets and the entire square (a lot of space) is filled with any kind of banquets about food, drink, gifts and much more.
S. Lucia, is a Sicilian Saint of 3rd century. Based on Veronese tradition, in the night between 12th and 13th December, collected by her donkey, she goes in every house bringing toys and sweets to the good children and black coal to the bed ones.
In the evening every member of the family use to leave some plates on a table. Afterwords, The Saint fill them with sweets. Children go to bed very early and they close strongly their eyes because they are afraid of the Saint that if finds them awaked throws some ash in their eyes. This tradition started in Verona in 13th century, when a eye disease affected a lot of people, especially children.
Families used to move to the church of Santa Agnese for a vote against this disease and they promised the children that the saint (Santa Lucia) would have filled their dishes with sweets, just to convince them to make this pilgrimage on foot. This became an habit and during the centuries, time to time, many merchants started to come in the square to sell sweets and toys, so now it has become a real tradition and a big crowd come here every year in the Arena square.

Traditional S. Lucia Market in Piazza Bra

S. Lucia banquets in Piazza Bra
 

The event, to be complete, has to include the decorations. The biggest one, is a fascinating sculpture called Christmas star by the artist Olivieri, that is a big white steel star that goes from the square into the Arena.

The Christmas star in the Arena

If you want an accommodation, there are special offers during this period because most of the tourists that come during this days stay here for just a few days and most of the people you see in the squares during the markets are locals. A Verona Holiday during November or December is a different way to visit the town, away from the tourism of the high season. I recommend you these accommodations:

  • Romeo apartment - prices from 30€ each one (special offers for families of 4) - it's right next the the Arena square
  • Arena apartment - prices from 40€ each one (good for couples) - it's exactly in the Arena square
  • Delle Erbe b&b - prices from 80€ each one (luxury accommodation) - it's near the Christmas markets in piazza delle Erbe
 

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