Boca Italy, Christmas Market ~ Romancing Italy

Dec 9, 2008

Boca Italy, Christmas Market

Boca is a small village nearby that made its way on my radar due to a very nice big, red banner announcing it's December 8 Christmas market.

looking over the booths on one street

Christmas, outdoor market, small village = a pleasing outing in a little Italian village looking through some fun stuff.

I've learned that Christmas in Italy is quite different than the experience in America. Stores are not decorated or playing carols until about the second week of December. The 8th of December was the magic day for Christmas to begin in Italy, when lights appeared in store windows, and trees usually only covered with lights, sprouted from balconies. Stuffed and blown-up Santa's are now hanging out of windows and over railings, obviously having forgotten where the chimney is located and that there will not be cookies and milk until the 24th.

I’ve missed hearing Christmas carols. They are not yet on the radio, not yet in stores, so I’d hoped to hear some blaring on the streets of Boca.

No Christmas carols.

But at least there was a piper, dressed in traditional garb, blowing with gusto into his instrument. I looked behind him for children or rats. Nothing. If you are not familiar with the fable of the Pied Piper, click the link for one of the many versions.

If I was disappointed by the lack of carols, I was amazed at the handicrafts: jewelry, paintings, regular roof tiles transformed into facades of little homes, stoneware, and pottery. They were all hand-made and so many beautiful items were on display that would have looked great in my house if not passing the time in an art show or gallery.

Stained glass

Stoneware and machine with bowl in progress

Model of a church made out of small pieces of stone

the typical stone construction of the north

No market is complete without its share of food and wine. Boca is situated in wine country and local wines were set out for tasting. Cheeses and chocolates to stimulate taste buds were also in abundance. For those looking for something substantial at lunch time, the alpinists (an Italian military regiment) served up a steaming plate of polenta and deer, or donkey. Yep, I imagine only the hard-working mules are safe.

After walking around looking at the glitter and glam, and chatting with vendors about their work, their passion, I was lured into a quiet alley when I saw an enormous rusty iron gate. It closed off a courtyard. Silently commanding one corner near the house, three statues wordlessly brought back to mind what the reason for the season was all about.

The wise men

All the gifts in the world will never match the one gift given to mankind in the form of a little baby in a manger. And I feel a little ashamed of myself for objecting to an Italy that has refrained from celebrating with meaningless trees and lights, but has clung to commemorating the priceless gift of love.



  1. Bev, I love the pictures and lovely descriptions. Everything seems so wonderful and romantic! Phil

  2. Hi Phil, I'm glad you've enjoyed the post. I wasn't able to see your profile to see if by chance you are my Phil from SF (hence sfphil). Hope to hear from you again soon.


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