When the Christmas season begins, one thinks of the warm feeling when you find yourself in front of the fireplace, drinking a good hot tea with some sweets, admiring the colorful lights in the village streets and the Christmas trees that can be seen from the windows of the houses. Some small Lombardy villages have such a fairy tale atmosphere that they have been called Christmas villages.
Castione della Presolana is one of these. A mountain village of rare beauty located downstream of the Cima della Presolana characterized by a strong Christmas atmosphere. The streets of the historic center are illuminated with colored lights, you can walk through the Christmas markets listening to Christmas carols and tasting roasted chestnuts and hot wine. Even children have a lot of fun admiring the cribs, getting on the classic Presolana train, giving vent to the imagination in the educational workshops, visiting the House of Santa Claus and attending other events.
Gromo, a medieval village among the most beautiful villages in Italy, is in the province of Bergamo and has all the credentials to be called one of the Christmas villages. The atmosphere is truly Christmassy, especially when a light dusting of snow whitens the treetops of the landscape and nature that surrounds it. The main historic buildings of the village are home to “La Casa Bergamasca di Santa Claus” also appreciated by families.
Livigno cannot be considered a village, but it is undoubtedly one of the most famous places in Valtellina, also known as “The masterpiece of Lombardy”. During the Christmas period, those who visit it have the impression of entering a real Christmas Village. It hosts the Christmas markets dedicated to local food and wine and offers a calendar full of events that under its starry sky give an unforgettable atmosphere.
While walking through the streets of these places it is impossible not to be inebriated by the scent of freshly baked pastries that comes out of pastry shops or bakeries. Many, in fact, are the desserts that are prepared during the Christmas period.
Among these, the Panettone, symbol of Milan and king of the Christmas holidays. The basic ingredients are eggs, sugar, spices, candied fruit and raisins. The secret to a flawless preparation is the leavening upside down! In this way the dessert can grow better.
In the province of Bergamo, it is customary to prepare Polenta and Osei, but be careful! It is not a savory dish, but a Christmas cake made with sponge cake covered with yellow almond paste, decorated with marzipan birds. It is called polenta because it has the shape of a polenta.
Famous all over the world, the tasty and crunchy Amaretti di Saronno, are emblematic of a historic Italian pastry tradition. Amaretti are traditional amaretto biscuits, made with almonds, egg whites and sugar. They were produced for the first time in the city of Saronno in the province of Varese during the Renaissance period. They are known for their characteristic bitter aftertaste, which gives them their name (amaretto means bitter).
The best-known product of the ancient confectionery art of Cremona is nougat. It looks like a bar, is composed of egg whites, honey, almonds, hazelnuts and candied fruit and is often present in the tables laid on Christmas Day.