City walls, castles, and medieval alleys filled with an enchanted Christmas atmosphere are among the most evocative locations where to enjoy the festivities. Italian villages and small town with less than 15 thousand inhabitants are identified as ‘borghi’, and they are becoming more and more popular with tourists that appreciate local traditions and want to immerse themselves in them. Here are three borghi which have special traditions linked to the Christmas period.

Glorenza (Bolzano) – Near the Swiss border, this small jewel is surrounded by a perfectly preserved city wall that encloses picturesque alleys, watchtowers, and arcades under which it is a pleasure to walk. This is especially true when the Christmas Market takes place; during this time the square and the arcades are illuminated with torches and are filled with stalls of sweets, vin brulé, wooden toys, and Christmas decorations.

Candelara (Pesaro) – Surrounded by valleys, oak woods, and olive trees, Candelara owes its name to the legend according to which it was built in the least windy place in the area. This was identified by lighting three candles at different points and observing which one remained lit. To celebrate its origins, every year for Christmas the borgo comes alive with Christmas markets, nativity scenes, and Santa Claus’ Village and Workshop. Also, during two special nights, Candelara is lit only by candlelight.

Brisighella (Ravenna) – Brisighella is a medieval borgo at the foot of three hills on which there are the Stronghold, the Clock Tower, and the Sanctuary of Monticino. These historical places dominate the borgo made of a maze of ancient alleys and perched houses protected by sections of the city walls. Every year on December 16th, a torchlight procession of Santa Clauses takes place in the borgo’s alleys and, on December 26th, the locals impersonate a real-life nativity scene.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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