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Christmas lights, traditions and flavours on the Sorrento Peninsula

Surely the most exciting holiday of the year is Christmas, for children and adults. Whether you’re a devout follower or just a fan of tradition, the week of December 25th is hard to beat for its festive magic.

The Christmas season starts early on the Sorrento Peninsula: by mid-November the piazzas and streets of the towns and villages come alive with excitement. Majestic fir trees are festively decorated, with splendid window displays in red and gold, long lights in the rain among the palazzi. Our humdrum streets start to feel like a fairy tale.

Celebrations in Sorrento

Sorrento offers a lively festive season as Christmas is celebrated in great style throughout the province. Advent kicks off with the lighting of the big tree in Piazza Tasso and then all the lights in the historic centre, from Corso Italia to Piazza Lauro, Piazza Sant’Antonino and Piazza Veniero.

December is not just about Christmas. Another key tradition is the Santa Lucia bonfire on December 12th. This ritual was originally meant to exorcise any fears of the transition into winter, when daylight hours decreased and the darkness took over. Even today, the sight of the high flames rising in the pitch black of night exert a mysterious and reassuring charm. As reassuring messengers for centuries of the coming of Jesus the pipers, melodious a note through this period.

As Christmas is key point in the Christian calendar, don’t miss the chance to visit the major churches and see the famous presepi: illuminated nativity scenes with incredible attention to detail ... now that’s real tradition!

Irresistible flavours of Christmas

Christmas on the Sorrento Peninsula is filled with conviviality and warmth, on streets and in the squares, but even more so at the dining table. What could be better than to enjoy a Christmas treat, maybe like the locals, while playing tombola or cards with friends and family?

When it comes to good food and traditions, you’re spoiled for choice in Campania. Among the area’s traditional goodies we’d recommend mostaccioli – parallelogram-shaped dough covered with chocolate icing - susamielli – S-shaped treats mixed with liquid honey - and strufoli - irresistible balls of fried dough with super sweet honey.

To taste a special treat from Massa Lubrense, look for a roccoco', a housewives’ tradition found in all pasticcerie and local markets. This is a slightly hard doughnut, flavoured with a mixture of seasonal spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper. Finally, while on holiday on the Sorrento Peninsula, you cannot go without some torrone, the delicious soft or hard nougat that’s a typical element in local festivities.

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