I already wrote last year about the lovely Christmas Market taking place in central Italy (Candelara), mostly known for the many candles displayed.
Those of you who know me a bit, also know that I am fond of rites. So, last Saturday our family attended again the event ‘Candele a Candelara’ wandering through the stalls and enjoying the sight (and sweet fragrance) of hand-made candles: beeswax candles, scented candles, Christmas candles, candles made with pressed flowers or fruit (mostly oranges).
One craftsman attracted my attention: Paolo Cardinali, a beekeeper who creates candles using pure beeswax. His candles have the sweetest perfume. Maybe because, as he writes, he works hard to create natural products and he believes that by doing so he is contributing to a better world.
The little hilltop village of Candelara turns into real magic when during the event, soon after sunset, all electrical lights are turned off and the only illumination you get is provided by candles.
Last Saturday we mainly went there to attend the Bagpipe concert performed by the excellent Bazzano Castle Pipe Band, a band of bagpipes and percussion (Scottish pipes but Italian players!) where a very good friend of mine plays.
In Italy we are not used to the beautiful and powerful sound of bagpipes (no wonder they were used in regiments of the British Armed Force until World War I). The humbler ‘zampogna’ (Italian double chantered pipe) is a more familiar sound to us living in central Italy. We did see two ‘zampogna’ players in Candelara and they are portrayed in the picture below. With all due respect, if I had been a zampogna player I think I would have not showed up knowing a bagpipe band was invited too 😉
If you wish to know more about the event: here is the full programme (the initiative takes place on week-ends until Dec. 11th).
How extraordinary! How has there come to be a pipe band there?
The Bazzano Castle Pipe Band is from around Bologna. On their website I did not find a section on why they started playing an instrument that you hardly find in Italy! However I was very glad they were invited to play in Candelara!
What a beautiful day out Simona! I can imagine what those bagpipes sound like! Groups play bagpipes in Spain too– In Galacia (northwest corner)– so they must have migrated down there as well. I would have liked to be with you when the candles were lighting the night! It does sound magical!! One year when we lived in Madrid, Larry went to Rome with a friends visiting and went to a Christmas market there. He brought me a children’s book — Natale! We read it eery year (pretty close to Spanish!!) Fun to read about your day out friend. How is your Christmas preparations?? Do you bake there for Christmas? We are having parties with friends here– so yesterday I baked 260 cookies. fun. OK, well hugs to you form here. thanks for the fun post Simona!
Hi Rhonda! 260 cookies… WOW! Congratulations 🙂 I am not that good at Christmas cakes (panettone or pandoro) but I love baking cookies with my daughter Costanza! Especially if friends are in sight 😉 Torrone is also typical at Christmas: nougat with honey and roasted nuts… I love the hard kind, the one that almost breaks your teeth 🙂 How lovely your story about the Christmas Italian children’s book! I know that bagpipes are popular in some parts of Spain. I also read that the origin of bagpipes is controversial… Anyway they do sound great! Hugs from Italy and have a nice party time with your friends. They are lucky to have you to take care of them with lots of homemade cookes! xoxo
Hi Simona– love the description of all the treats in Italy this time of year… We loved Turron in Spain. At the old fashioned market the vendor had huge block of tureen and would slice off chunks and wrap it in paper and sell it by the kilo. And there is a store here that sells Spanish & Italian turron– It’s a little expensive, but I get a box every year to share with the kids at Christmas! Hope you’re enjoying cookie baking and beautiful eating this Christmas season… I’m sure it’s a lovely time of year there. blessings. xo
Hi Rhonda, I always love it to hear your passionate recollections of life in Spain! I guess I did not know that ‘torrone’ was popular in Spain too (turron)! I may try our family own this year… It depends on Walter: he is the real cook of the family 🙂 Before Christmas he makes his famous (among our friends) ‘Liquore al cioccolato’ – a secret recipe he is very proud of! And all of us around him are very thankful for that ‘secret’ recipe 🙂 Love and hugs
I agree Simona–that’s one of the sweet things of Christmas, foods that we come back to every year. I’d love to test you husband’s secret recipe! I make loads of cookies and last week I emailed all our kids and asked which ones they want me to make for this year– so I have my list and am baking away to be ready for when they all come home! Hope all your preparations are going well… Christmas hugs from here!
[…] course, many are the initiatives organized by local associations (I’m thinking here of ‘Candele a Candelara’ – ‘Candles in Candelara’ engaging tourists from all Italy over a few week-ends […]