On December 8th, the lights of the Christmas trees are switched on, that high and proud embellish the main squares of historic towns and villages. Next to the classic fir tree decorated with pretty gift packages and with the school children's cards, arrive more modern recyclable trees with a low environmental impact that do not require to cut down plants.
To warm up, at least in the spirit, in these winter nights, we suggest you to take a tour of the most beautiful Christmas trees of our territory, from the sea to the mountains.
In Lucca, Ii will be the Carmine Market to welcome the lights of the Christmas tree in the historic center and one of the many craft markets with refreshment of hot wine and sweets.
The art Christmas tree in Piazza Duomo in Pietrasanta (from December 10th). In the "Little Athens" of Versilia, the elective homeland of numerous artists, every year Christmas is welcomed with a tree signed by a master of art, this year the couple Veronica Foso - Flavia Rovalo and their creativity were entrusted with the task.
In Viareggio you can even take a Christmas light bath inside the peculiar Christmas tree, a high inverted cone of golden lights with a passage to the center, so, if you wish, you can stay inside.
In Garfagnana and in the Middle Serchio Valley the tradition of real Christmas firs is stronger, i.e. of those trees that smell of resin, made of wood, pine needles and decorated with a thousand lights that shine at night, adorned on the spot and standing close to each village.
But certainly the most spectacular are the Natalecci of very ancient tradition. These are "Trees" more than ten meters high, which construction starts alerady in October in the villages of the Upper Garfagnana by using mowing and pruning. They are archaic prophets, set on fire on Christmas night to get auspices for the coming year. Located in the villages of the municipality Minucciano, around Lake Gramolazzo, their flames reflect on the lake, illuminating the night. They burn vigorously among the comments of those who can "read" the prophecies through fire and smoke.
In quality and quantity the cribs are not far behind either. You can find very original ones, set in the most disparate places, the result of the work and imagination of expert cribs' craftmen and plaster figurines maker, ranging from the live Nativity scenes to the tiny ones in the "marginette" (small country chapels) along the mountain trails of Pescaglia up to the historic ones of Bagni di Lucca made with traditional plaster figurines.
Among the most famous cribs of the Lucchesia stand out for their extraordinary setting and originality those in the carst caves of the Apuan Alps: in Grotta delle Campore (Pescaglia) with characters 45 cm tall, in the heart of the Antro del Corchia (Stazzema), in the Grotta del vento in Fornovolasco (Fabbriche di Vergemoli).
Very interesting for the manufacture and for the centenary tradition that distinguishes them are the cribs of the so-called Valley of the Cribs, located in the villages of the Serchio Medium Valley where the tradition of figurines is still alive or, from December 23 in the churches of Camaiore and its hamlets, we suggest you to visit the dozens of static and mechanical cribs.
Very common as well is the live representation of Jesus Nativity. We invite you to visit the Nativity scenes in Barga (December 23rd) where about 200 participants take part in the scene, in Anchiano (Borgo a Mozzano - December 16th) in Sermezzana (Minucciano - December 16th and 17th) and in Ruota (Capannori), while Nocchi (Camaiore) on December 26 will be home to an interesting live Nativity set in the early years of the XX century.
Small and traditional, but of profound symbolic meaning, it is finally the nativity scene set up in Sant'Anna di Stazzema (Stazzema), a traditional representation of the nativity set up in the church involved in the dramatic events of World War 2nd.
To consult all the Christmas initiatives, please read also From Immaculate to Epiphany.