Since millennia the days around the solstice are marked by important festivals and celebrations. A fortiori in places where the Sun itself seems to "play" and offer ideas for rituals and festivities.
In the Apuan Alps also the mountains play their part: reliefs with particular shapes, grouped in a singular way and ... with sea view, they contribute to create natural shows related to sunrises or sunsets on particular days of the year in places where man has always given immense value creating precise Solari watches on which to regulate an intimate relationship with Nature.
Despite the tradition, Saint Lucia is not "the shortest day ever" that is instead December 21, the day when the Sun will remain above the horizon about 3 minutes less than day 13.
So what does this popular belief derive from? Saint Lucia was the shortest day before 1582 when the shift between the civil calendar and the solar calendar was so great that the winter solstice fell between 12 and 13, effectively making December 13 the shortest day of the year.
The term solstice, deriving from the Latin "sol" (sun) and "sistere" (stop).
It means, therefore, "stationary sun", and in astronomy, the moment in which the Sun reaches, in its apparent motion along the ecliptic, the maximum or minimum declination point, respectively, in June (20/21 June) and December (21/22 December). The winter solstice is also the day when there is the greatest difference between the duration of day and night.
the beauty and the magic
Thursday, December 21st on the day of the winter solstice, you can try to "chase" the sun that plays with the bizarre re-eves of the Apuan Alps.
At dawn the Sun passes through the rift between Mount Procinto and Mount Nona, just above the town of Cardoso di Stazzema, in Versilia.
The appointment is at 9:00 am in front of the Cardoso di Stazzema church with Strefano and Francesco, environmental guides that accompany the participants along an easy 35-minute journey to the small Sanctuary of S. Leonardo where the Sun will appear at 10:00 am To comfort the walk in the cold December morning ... a good Apuana breakfast will follow on the spot, before leaving, this time by car to reach, in the afternoon, the town of Calomini in Garfagnana, on the other side of the Apuane, where at 16:00 the Sun will set in the natural arch of Mount Forato. The shorter day of the year is over, but those who want to experience the magic of these mountains to the end can walk from Fornovolasco to Cardoso walking under the stars with Stefano and Francesco, the "Men of the Snow" on the CAI paths.
It is advisable to wear obscured lenses to observe the Sun.
For more infos Stefano 3381399107. Francesco 3281590730.