John Bensalhia experiences a different kind of festive event line-up for 2020...
Well, this is a Christmas that's going to be different. With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the globe, this has affected the usual Italian traditions of bustling markets, nativities and concerts. However, as with postponed or cancelled live events, organisers are working hard to ensure that people can still enjoy Christmas, but from their own homes with a glass of Italian wine or a tasty festive snack. Online events will provide a special ambiance of Christmas with virtual concerts, events and messages broadcast through laptops, iPhones and iPads. Please note that events may be subject to alteration. Whatever you're doing this season, have a happy and safe Christmas.
Govone Castle Christmas Market
1st-20th December 2020
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, traditional Christmas markets are now using alternative outlets. With the majority of people able to go online, the next best thing is the virtual Christmas Market.
Govone Castle's Christmas Market is a case in point with a wide choice of virtual initiatives and activities happening during the 1st 20 days of December. Food, as ever, will play an important part in this year's line-up. A range of food and drink experts will be streaming live via the website www.festivaldelcibo.com, through the Magical Christmas Country social media, and on GRP Piemonte. The meetings will occur daily at 12 pm and on Sundays at 8.30 pm. There's also a chance to cook with the chef online. Hopefuls can apply online with chosen winners given the chance to create a recipe live via video link with the help of some top-class chefs.
Younger viewers can enjoy a special short film featuring Father and Mother Christmas, along with their faithful elves – broadcasting to you from Santa's House.
Andrea Bocelli Live Christmas Performance
12th December 2020
Tickets available via Ticketmaster
Following the runaway success of his live Easter performance, Andrea Bocelli will be returning with a Christmas version on 12th December. Bocelli's Believe In Christmas will be broadcasting live from Teatro Regio di Parma. Viewers looking in can look forward to a spectacular visual feast thanks to Cirque du Soleil's creative director, Franco Dragone.
The broadcast of the performance is due to commence at 8pm (East and West coast US time) with an arrangement of staggered start times in order to encompass the different time zones. The event will be a ticket-only arrangement with tickets available through Ticketmaster. It's predicted that Bocelli's Christmas event will be just as popular, if not more so, than the Easter one – which alone garnered three million concurrent viewers and 28 million views in 24 hours.
12th December 2020
While current circumstances make it difficult to meet up this year for Christmas, the power of the internet is such that there's no need to feel alone.
If you're looking to talk about the traditions, backgrounds and fun of an Italian Christmas, an Italian Language online get-together will be happening on 12th December 2020 at 3pm (UK time) via Zoom. The 90-minute meeting will allow like-minded folks to talk about their favourite Italian Christmas traditions, and learn a few new things about the ways of the festive season in Italy, too.
15th December 2020
You can't beat a nice glass of Italian red wine at Christmas. While the broad spectrum of Italian wines may not be able to be enjoyed in a social occasion this year, once again, the wonders of the internet provide the next best thing. Corkbuzz Online's event will be talking about the unique tastes of Italian red wines on 15th December 2020 for an hour between 6.30 and 7.30pm.
The Zoom meeting will discuss all kinds of wines from the various regions of Italy, along with recommendations, wine making processes, types of grape and what sort of foods to best enjoy with the wine. More details about the meeting can be found at the above link, with the actual Zoom links sent via email on the morning of the online event.
16th December 2020
Another webinar that teaches you all about the joys of an Italian Christmas. This one-hour event will be happening on 16th December 2020 at 7pm (UK time).
The event will cover the main traditions and elements of a good old-fashioned Italian Christmas, spanning everything from characters to notable calendar days. Guests can also interact with each other, and will get the chance to talk about their own Christmas experiences and good wishes for the season.
Guests successfully purchasing a ticket for this event (see the above link) will get the chance to enter a raffle, with two prizes of an e-booklet and free access to a special webinar up for grabs.
December 2020 (Dates TBA, online)
The official Città dei Balocchi in Como (City Of Toys) website promises something very special on the horizon.
While the famous City of Toys sights and sounds have been delighting visitors for some years now, this year – along with many other Christmassy events – will largely be seen online.
A full line-up has yet to be announced, but it's expected that visitors looking in will be able to see the fantastic lights, the splendid nativity town and of course, that busy old Santa Claus. You can also expect an appearance further down the line from Befana on the final day of celebration, Epiphany. Check out the official website for more details (link above), which is set to be updated in the near future.
23rd December 2020
For the ultimate in traditional Italian music, this online concert is sure to get you in a festive frame of mind.
Two days before Christmas, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó will be performing some classic Italian pieces connected with the holiday season. As well as performances of Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto fatto per la notte di Natale and Alessandro Scarlatti’s Cantata pastorale per la Natività, the set list is due to include Georg Frederick Handel’s Concerto Grosso op 6 no 8.
The concert is due to start at 7.30pm, and for those that can't catch the concert live, it will stay online for a further year. While you can take a look at the performance for free, donations are always welcome.