photo courtesy megzimbeck.com
Typically in Italy, the Christmas decorations are put up on December 8, which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The presepe, holiday lights, Babbo Natale's and Christmas trees get set up in homes, shops and town centers. At our house, even though we had every intention of getting the tree up on December 8, it just didn't happen. Today, thankfully, the tree is up. In celebration of that, today on the Countdown I'm blogging about l'Albero di Natale or the Christmas tree.
Every year in Venice, a large tree is set up in St. Mark's square, and lights are turned on the evening of December 8. Here's a photo of this year's tree.
St. Mark's is a magical place on a normal day. At Christmas time with thousands of twinkly lights lit not only on the tree but under the three colonnades that surround the square, it is particularly breathtaking.
I remember our first Christmas in Venice. We wondered what in the world people did for Christmas trees. We couldn't imagine where we could go to find a real tree, or better yet, carrying that tree back to an apartment in Venice. There certainly was no place to go cut down a tree. We ended up buying a fake tree in a box, then carted that big box home on a handcart on the vaporetto, up and over a few bridges and into the apartment. That was the first fake tree I'd ever had in my life. I wasn't happy, but it was the most expedient solution.
You CAN get a real tree in Venice! They aren't large, but they are real. Many come with the roots in pots even. Just before December 8, you'll see a vendor set up shop near Ca D'Oro on the Strada Nuova in Cannaregio. There's another vendor near the mercatino on the Lido, which is in the photo below.
You can see how small most of these trees are. On the bright side- they are real trees!
I even saw trees in the grocery store, for 11.99 Euros each, and have seen people putting these into the grocery trolley and wheeling them home. It almost makes me want to buy one. Almost. Then I start thinking about all that hauling and change my mind. I also think about what I'd have to do when it was time to take the tree down and get it out of the apartment. I'm sticking with the large, fake tree. (see below!)
Buon Natale !