Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas in Italy

Some shots from our holiday season in Italy and some cool Italian traditions...

Ugly sweater Christmas party

Jess and I wandered around town with the tripod to catch some cool shots at dusk.

 Maniago town square.  No Photoshop required.  Just set the correct white balance, expose for the sky, and use a tripod.

This place is cool.  Poffabro is a sleepy little town at the base of dramatic mountains.  In December and January the town comes alive with nativity scenes.  Nearly every house has some kind of nativity scene on display.  On this rainy night, we walked around town with Pat and Jordana.  We had the whole place to ourselves.

 Photo by Pat

This is my favorite photo from the night in Poffabro.  I walked right by this scene because it's way down low (knee height).  I think this was the smallest nativity scene we saw all night.

La Befana (Epiphany) is Jan 6th.  On the night of January 5th, almost every town in our area lights a HUGE bonfire.   

Our Italian friend Alessandro took us to the town of Frisanco (right next to Poffabro, the town with the nativity scenes) for the bonfire.  We had a great time despite kids lighting off loud fireworks at our feet for an hour straight.

 We were told the fires originally guided the 3 wise men to the manger.

 Apparently the smoke from the fires also guides La Befana (the witch who brings presents) to children's homes.  If the kids were good last year, they get Santa Clause-type gifts.  If they were bad, they get coal.

 This fire was 30-40 feet high.  Most towns spend many days preparing the fire.

 Luc and Alessandro

 One of the mellow fireworks set off by one of the kids.  The rest of them made the place sound like a war zone.

 Huge embers fall while the town does the campfire stare.

These fires left the valley smokey for days.  So much for European environmentalism.

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