Christmas in Ravenna, Italy has been a wonderful experience, and I hope we are lucky enough to return another time at Christmas to enjoy it again.
Christmas Eve day is pretty much a normal day, except the Town Centre is filled with shoppers. Traditions remain important, and the stores still close between 12:30 and 3:00/3:30 for lunch. When they re-open everyone is back to finish up their holiday shopping.
|a little morning juice and pastry just before the|
first round of shopping
small room complete with moving bears
and petite table and chairs so the
children may have their own tea room
|Tom, Kristen and Gus enjoy the|
Christmas carolers on the steps
to City Hall, where Marco & Kristen were wed
the first time on their wedding day for the
|The Christmas carols just added to the|
festive feeling of the afternoon.
By 8 p.m., everyone has their dinner as usual. Everyone then bundles up at 10 p.m. to make their way to the Town Square for the traditional fireworks show set to classical music. The display is quite impressive. Luckily, the rain had stopped during dinner and we had a totally clear evening to enjoy the show.
After the show, the Town Square and Centre become a place to socialize. Everyone runs into someone they know, exchange seasons greetings, and gather at some place for wine, coffee, et al.
|Here we are enjoying "Relaxing" tea and blueberry juice;|
guess who had the 'relaxing' tea and who had the juice!
When it was time, we departed for Midnight Mass at the church which had the shortest program (about 30-45 minutes). It was standing room only. It's a very important part of the Italian tradition to attend midnight mass.
And then everyone goes home to see what Santa brought and open presents. Because we are staying in a bed and breakfast in the Town Centre and would not be returning to the Riva home, they opened presents before going into town for the fireworks show. It is a brief walk to the Town Centre from their home (like walking from the State Capitol to Sylvester Park), but Enrico wanted to drive. I am in the backseat trying to put my boots on, and he is showing Italian driving skills at their extreme best . . . fast and furious to make sure we are on time. Needless to say, I had to put the second boot on after he had parked the car and shut it off; my tummy was still several blocks back and my head was still spinning after the 2nd turn. Because they want to encourage bicycling and walking, they will not make a roadway that conveniently takes you into the Town Centre; instead, you have to drive about 3-4 miles on very short, circular and angular streets around the Centre to get to what otherwise is a 10 minute walk!
More postings to come.