A Venetian Christmas

We are opening this issue with the lights and golden reflections of a Christmas decoration, but most of all, we are opening it with a multilingual good wish towards all guests in town.

It may seem a banality, but Christmas involves almost all the world, be it in its most profound (and true) aspect, the Christian one, together with its values of peace, tolerance and respect, or in its more frivolous and tinselly one dominated by consumerism. Today, even in countries such as China, at least along the streets in big cities, it is easy to come across majestic and richly decorated Christmas trees, which would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago: the tree thus becomes a new symbol of reunion amongst peoples.

And Christmas trees, as well as street-markets and bright decorations in the shop windows and the streets in Venice, will not fail to attract visitors in a city that will remain, all said, itself, especially in the first period of the month, isolated as only an island can be, from the frenzy of the world outside.

A period nurturing reflection and a taste for discovering hidden nooks: of plain stones, that can be encountered along the way, and that seem to be telling the history behind the countless masterpieces preserved in museums and churches. A period which also favours the discovery of the city through its agenda, packed with events, including those presented by the two most prestigious theatres in town, “La Fenice” and the “Carlo Goldoni”, and those offered by exhibition schedules, with choices varying from classical to contemporary art, followed by auteur photography and applied arts, all events that are described briefly in lists within.

The calendar for this month is also integrated by one for Christmas. Regarding this, we should like to highlight My Christmas Venice, programmed for its second consecutive year, starting on 2 December and presenting a series of events connected to a Christmas theme: among them, a spectacular “blooming carpet” at the ‘Madonna della Salute Basilica’, an area for all wine and food fans set up as a Food Village in San Vio Square, in which to meet and share, an exhibition/market in the venues at Ca’ Zenobio (we are leaving a few pieces of information for the following pages).

Among other themes, there will be a comeback (starting from 7 December) of the street-market at Santo Stefano, dedicated to Italian craftsmanship and food specialities, the traditional antiques street-market (from 15 to 17 December) set up under awnings in San Maurizio Square, the Ice Park, an ice-skating rink situated in San Polo Square; and moreover, a gondola regatta and a Father Christmas charity race.

The islands will also have their part in hosting their own visitors during this period. Venezia Nativa, a consortium born and set up by the islands of Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello to promote their territory, will present a series of events for the occasion, ensuring a Christmas experience in a genuine lagoon atmosphere.

Together with such events, there will also be the Christmas atmosphere offered in the first instance by many churches, where it will be possible to admire nativity scenes, and attend concerts or religious functions, among them all, the one offered on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day at the monumental basilica of St. Mark, officiated by the Patriarch of Venice.

When the religious celebrations are over, festivities will continue with two rendez-vous that cannot fail to engage city guests: the series of festive New Year concerts (there will be a grand total of four this year) promoted by “La Fenice” and the great Fireworks Show on water on New Year’s Eve at St. Mark’s.