Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Xmas in Italy

The tree in Pietrasanta Piazza
Xmas in Italy usually begins with a family meal on Xmas Eve.  Just being the two of us, we went out to a restaurant in Pietra Santa where we bumped into two friends and made a foursome over antipasto, primo, secondo and - being Xmas eve - a dolce as well!  They do wonderful chestnut cakes here, as well as hazelnut and chocolate tarts to die for.

The Piazza is decorated for Xmas, but no brightly coloured Santas and not a reindeer in sight - it's all very tasteful.



Pietrasanta Piazza at midnight
 Around ten o'clock, even in the pouring rain, the Piazza begins to fill up for the Grande Festa - every bar is serving hot punch, which is bright pink, smells like paraffin and has enough alcohol in it to fell a mule.

Ready for High Mass

Some people go to High Mass at 11.30pm, but not many.  I look in out of curiosity and a sense of tradition, but  - like many Italians - I don't stay.   The rituals and the music remind me of my childhood, even though I can't believe any more.

Having a quick cigarette before mass


On Xmas morning it's still raining and now blowing a gale too.  We have a quiet coffee beside the stove and then take the dogs down to the beach, where the Mediterranean is giving a good impression of the North Sea.



Frankie and Ellie

Then back to Peralta to huddle beside the stove again with a rather nice local wine - Vermentino from the Lunigiana (a small area just to the north of Tuscany).  Later I cook some Italian lamb with rosemary, garlic and red wine.  We ring the children in various parts of the world and then fall asleep in front of the TV, in the great English Xmas tradition.

Hope you all had a good Xmas too - comfortable, peaceful and neither flooded nor frozen!

3 comments:

  1. The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
    Happy New Pasta

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  2. It was a lovely day here, which doesn't often happen on Christmas Day for some reason. Sunny and warm, with lots of good food (including roast lamb with rosemary - NZ lamb, not Italian).
    Then on Boxing Day we had a whole swarm of earthquakes, around two dozen of them, right in the city, the biggest about two blocks from our house :( And yesterday we had torrential rain - floods elsewhere in the country, but not here. It's been interesting, to say the least.
    I hope you have some good Mediterranean weather before you have to go back to the UK

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  3. Thank you Kathleen I did. Not doing breakfast for the homeless this Xmas (not my turn), it was nice to be home.
    We were down to our baby Lu, so it was very quiet.
    Our older two are up in Queensland dodging floods!

    I am happy to hear you had a nice time with Neil And from the sounds of it the Med is much warmer than the UK at the moment.

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