Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Santa Lucia In Verona

The timing of my departure (Friday Dec. 11) coincides, by design and not by chance, with one of the most treasured traditions of my childhood in Verona. On the night between the 12th and the 13th December, Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy) accompanied by her donkey and carrying a bag of goodies and toys, visits the houses of children, and if they have been good that year, she will leave them presents....or else a piece of coal. I remember waking up early on St. Lucy's and finding a "piatto" (a plate) of goodies, "pastafrolla" cookies in the shape of stars, a tangerine, an orange, some nuts, bars of "torrone" or "mandorlato", and chocolate. I would also find my gift, a baby doll I later named Susanna, or a play telephone, or a small toy piano.

This is a time of celebration in Verona, that marks the beginning of the Christmas Holidays season. Piazza Bra will house the St. Lucy market ("banchetti di Santa Lucia"), I understand starting on the 10th of December, and will be filled with the traditional and not so traditional goodies for children of all ages. The "Stella" will be on display in Piazza Bra, an artistic representation of the Christmas Comet Star. This is no regular star, it is built in steel, it is 70 m high, it weighs 78 tons, and it is positioned as if its tail is coming out of the Arena. At night it is particularly spectacular, as it brightly shines to light the entire piazza. I have heard that on December 23 there will be caroling by the star. I will confirm and let you know.

So, my trip was planned to make it just in time for the festivities of Piazza Bra and Santa Lucia, and ...my dear 79 years old mom, has confirmed that I was good this year, and a "piatto" will be there for me on the morning of December 13.

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