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»» Things To See in Rome at Christmas: Nativity Scenes

Those who would like to know more about the Christmas tradition of Nativity Scene should consider to have a look at a couple of events taking place in Rome during the Christmas season.

A major exhibition of Nativity Scenes, One Hundred Nativity Scenes, is held annually at Sala del Bramante in Piazza del Popolo in the months of December and January.
It features over 200 pieces by Italian and foreign artists, with designs ranging from classical 17th-century Neapolitan and Sicilian styles to more contemporary ones.

Also, visitors will be able to admire the Presepe di Piazza San Pietro — the representation of Nativity Scene held in Vaticano — under St. Peter’s dome, on the St. Peter Basilica parvis, in front of the obelisk, throughout the Christmas season.

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»» Christmas in Umbria: Things To Do

Living Nativity Scenes are among the major attractions for visitors Umbria has to offer during the Christmas season. Visitors have a chance to experience the flavour of a real Christmas of the past when visiting one of the many historic towns and villages in Umbria featuring living Nativity Scenes.

Gubbio's Christmas Tree

Among the medieval towns hosting a Nativity Scene worth to see, are Corciano (just 10km from Perugia) and Gubbio.
Gubbio, which boasts a wealth of Christmas traditions and historic sites to visit, also has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for having the largest Christmas tree in the world.
It is not a real tree, it is a mountain — Mount Ingino — which through Christmas decorations takes the shape of a Christmas tree (800-metre high, 400-metre wide tree). There are 12 kilometres of extensive Christmas decorations illuminating all the way running from the center of the town to up the slopes of Mount Ingino.

Those who love good music,should consider a visit to Orvieto.
This historic hill town, one of the most visited historic centers in Umbria, offers a major jazz festival, Umbria Jazz Winter, from Dec 28 through Jan 1st.
Umbria Jazz Winter is the sister event of Perugia’s summer jazz festival. Visitors can enjoy afternoon and evening concerts, jazz lunches and dinners and many more jazz events also including a New Year’s Day ceremonial mass in the cathedral featuring a gospel choir.

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»» Christmas Markets in Rome: Piazza Navona

One of the most spectacular squares in Rome, Piazza Navona, hosts the biggest and most traditional Christmas Market of the Eternal City.

Rome-Piazza Navona

The stalls featuing all the local Christmas delicacies, the nativity scenes and many various events taking place in and around the square during the festivities, offer the best chance to experience the flavour of Christmas in Rome.

In Piazza Navona, on January 6 — the last day of the Xmas festivities — kids can meet the Befana, the old woman who comes to deliver them gifts.

When: from early December through January 6 (annual)
Where: Roma – Piazza Navona

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»» Christmas in Venice: Celebrating Murano Glassmaking Art

Natale di Vetro — Christmas of Glass — is an event celebrating the Murano‘s traditional art of glassmaking.

The event, stretching from Venice‘s Campo Santo Stefano to Murano Island, takes place annually during the Christmas season — from early December through January 6.

Unique glassworks and sculptures will be on display in the streets of Venice and Murano; visitors will be able to enjoy glass art exhibitions, glass-blowing demonstrations and a number of Murano’s Glass themed events.
Among them, an exhibition of handmade Murano chandeliers lighting up the ancient portico of San Pietro Martire cloister and the Glassworks Regatta — racing along the Murano Grand Canal and involving boats representing a glassworks of Murano.

When: Dec 5, 2009 until Jan 6, 2010 (annual)
Where: Venice (various venues) and Murano Island.

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»» Where To Buy White Truffle in Umbria and The Marches

Those who are looking to buy white truffle while visiting Italy, should not miss some major truffle events taking place between late October and November.
A number of truffle festivals and fairs, held in October and November in the most important areas of the country for truffle hunting, offer the best chance to buy the most valuable of the tubers.

This piece of advice is for people who are visiting Rome or tourist areas in Umbria and Marche — those who are visiting Piedmont or surrounding areas in Northern Italy can visit the Alba International White Truffle Fair and the many more minor festivals taking places in the area (here you can find out more about it).

In Umbria, just a day trip away from Rome, you have a major truffle fair in Gubbio, worldwide well known travel destination because is one of the historic centers most visited in Umbria.
The annual fair, “Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco e dei prodotti agro-alimentari“, starts late October (2011 edition goes from Oct. 28 to Nov 1st). The program for the 2011 Gubbio’s truffle fair is here.

Just a few km from Gubbio, you have “Il tartufo bianco“, another major truffle fair, taking place in the Renaissance town of Città di Castello. The fair, featuring an important white truffle market, is held early November (2011 edition goes from Nov. 4 through 6. Here you find the 2011 program).

If you cross the Apennines mountain chain, around 50 km away from Città di Castello, in the Marches, you have “Fiera Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco Pregiato di Acqualagna” — the National Acqualagna White Truffle Fair — held in the town of Acqualagna.
Located at the heart of one of the most important areas for truffle-hunting in Italy, Acqualagna hosts one of the two most important truffle fairs held in the country.
The fair starts the last week of October and goes on the first two week-ends of November. You can find the program for the 2011 fair here.

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