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Italy’s Holiday Traditions

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0658
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Christmas decorations and "Giotto's Belfry" in Florence, Tuscany

The festivals, special foods, and spectacular customs of the holiday season last a glorious three weeks in Italy! Join food historian Francine Segan for a lively presentation on the many splendors of Christmas and New Year in Italy. Discover the special foods, wines, and traditions of the holiday period, such as Rome’s firing of a canon from Castel St. Angelo on Christmas Eve and the story behind La Befana, the kindly witch who fills children’s stockings with treats on January 6.

Take a behind-the-scenes peek at the Neapolitan artisans who for centuries have hand-crafted wooden crèches; hear about the many living Nativity scenes popular throughout Italy; and discover the country’s numerous artisanal food makers and the stories behind its traditional holiday meals.

Explore the special ways Italians toast on New Year’s Eve, and how they quite literally ring in the New Year by tossing old pots and pans out of windows at midnight!

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