Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Friday, June 12, 2015

Put the Christmas back into Christmas. Follow the Christmas star...

Undiscovered Christmas treasure in Romagna the Heart of Italy between Florence and Venice, the Apennines and the Adriatic

Romagnolo people just love any celebration and Christmas is the big one, so in Romagna, all the fun and the magic of Christmas is taken very seriously! Villages, towns, cities and seaside resorts enthusiastically compete with each other with the quality of their Christmas markets, Christmas lights, decorations, and Christmas music - but above all they take great pride in their nativity Scenes.

Artistic nativity scenes that involve whole towns, nativity scenes on the water or on boats, live representations with hundreds of figures, delicately made in sand or salt, small mechanical moving masterpieces, multiethnic nativities and scenes in grottoes. Everywhere in Romagna local people treasure their own evocation of the traditional Christmas story.

Naturally, many scenes are inspired by the sea. In Cervia, there's the Salt Nativity and the Salt-workers Nativity. In Cesenatico, the historic nativity scene is set up on the ancient boats of the Maritime Museum in Leonardo da Vinci's port. In Marina di Ravenna artists from countries all over the world create a monumental nativity scene, with statues more than 4 meters high.

Rimini hosts two spectacular and evocative nativities. Both in the heart of Marina Centro, near the canal port and on the beach of Torre Pedrera, artistic nativity scenes made of sand offer visitors life-size sculpted figures in masterly creations.

Nativity is represented in the heart of glossy Milano Marittima with a stunning work of art using modern animation techniques. Created using glass fibre, the one hundred elements in this setting, glow at any time of day or night. It's an evocative multi- sensorial animation, decorated with many colors, lights and music.

Whole medieval Romagnolo towns provide new settings creating a fascinating atmosphere, such as the one in Portico di Romagna, just inland from ForliÌ where the medieval town transforms into an original town of nativity scenes, with nativities popping up everywhere, in the most evocative corners, in the streets and in the square.


Not to be missed are the magical mechanical nativity scenes, most famous being the traditional nativity scene in the Convent of the SS. Crocefisso, in Longiano, full of complex and fascinating mechanical movements, lights and sounds. From here, you can follow a town nativity walk which takes the visitor to different nativities throughout the entire historic centre, the museums and many other surprising and beautiful settings.

Historic Santargangelo delivers a mechanical nativity scene inside its labyrinthine grottoes, this features a 200 metre underground nativity walk. Animations, lighting and special effects dance over one hundred statues, created by hand by the sculptor Davide Santandrea.

Another original representation along a spectacular underground pathway winds through the Solfatara grottoes, the old sulphur mine in Predappio Alta, near Forlì,

And in the mountains, in soaring Montefiore Conca, the entire centre of this medieval village will become a natural stage for the nativity scene. More than 150 figures and thirty episodes are represented along a path winding through the streets of the town and ends with the Nativity set up in the magnificent Arena at the foot of the imposing Malatesta Fortress.

In the Marecchia Hills, dramatic castellated hilltop Sant' Agata Feltria becomes a complete Christmas village and delightful Pennabilli's starry scene winds around its picturesque hilltop from its ancient cathedral.

In the cities of art such as Ravenna, Cesena, Imola, Faenza, and Forli, many beautiful nativity scenes can be admired in the churches and picturesque places around the historic centres.

Christmas is not just nativity scenes, of course. Christmas markets selling decorations, gifts and Christmas treats like nougat to celebrate Santa Lucia, superb Panettone (traditionally not baked until 7th December) and all manner of sweets abound. In Forli every year a great Christmas market gets set up in the main square, and every Sunday there are extra Christmas markets. In Cesena a massive Christmas market sets up in the historic centre while the 'Christmas Train' ferries visitors around and to and from the ice-skating rink.

In Ravenna, there are Christmas markets and Christmas decorations everywhere - in the Piazza del Popolo, under the arcades, and, naturally, a special 'Green Christmas Market' with organic and local products.

Sant Agata Feltria transforms into a Christmas Winterland with Santa Claus, Musical performances and lots and lots of stalls - even rheindeers and elves! Riccione creates a winter wonderland ice fair with stalls, ferris wheel and ice skating rink.

But the biggest of all is at the top of towering Mount Titano, where the whole historic centre of the Republic of San Marino becomes Christmas personified.

Duty-free mountaintop shopping, wonderful Christmas entertainment and nativity scenes everywhere make a heartwarming festive feast to see, to hear, to taste, to savour and to save!

High on the top of Mount Titano, soaring above the Adriatic coast, are the ramparts of a unique World Heritage Site - the tiny, atmospheric Republic of San Marino.

The quirky state that refused to join Italy, that kept itself aloof from the European Union (and that scored the fastest-ever goal in the World Cup!) - fiercely preserves its independence and its traditions above everything else to this day.

Here the city-state's castles and walkways reveal sensational views, its cobbled streets and alleys hide little shops selling simply everything - tax paid only to San Marino!

And at Christmastime thousands of visitors arrive to enjoy San Marino's wonderful sights and warm hospitality - and SHOP duty free.

Because San Marino creates possibly the most magical Christmastime event in the world - rightly called "The Christmas of Marvels"

Naturally there is an ice-skating rink; naturally Santa Claus sets up his village (with lots of Elf helpers) to help lots of kiddies - of all ages - make Christmas delicacies and wrap presents; naturally there are stunningly -beautiful nativity scenes, naturally there are traditional carol concerts in the atmospheric churches, naturally there is a vast array of duty-free and branded outlet shopping in the pretty boutiques; naturally there are Christmas shops with a vast array of Christmas goods from decorations to cuckoo clocks to electronic Santas - everything... and naturally there is a fabulous Christmas Market full of glorious local produce..

Everyone can Christmas shop to their heart's content (and often to their wallet's benefit!). From a vast range of world famous designer brands to great Christmas decorations - and authentic cuckoo clocks! There is even a superb local Farmer's Market selling local panettone (naturally), local honey, local preserved fruits, local salamis and prosciuttos, local nougats and sweets and much, much more.

Plus Christmas music, plus Christmas lights, plus stalls selling hot Christmas drinks, sweet Christmas confections and delicious stuffed Piadina flatbread, plus the aromas and sounds of Christmastime everywhere.

Experience it yourself for less than £400 Get the free lifestyle mag with special festival travel offers HERE

Interested in coming? Just email [email protected] and we'll find a way!

And there's more about this fabulous destination: Discover the Heart of Italy   - Fireflies, Cherries and Soaring Hills- Tourism attraction from scrap  Romagna - Very Hot Metal  - Dancing in the Piazza  - Meet Romagna's Cast   - Mayday Mayday - Romagna's got it covered  - Kite festival   - Green and very pleasant land gets even greener

More info: http://www.BestofRomagna.com


Valere Tjolle



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