The unmissable events of Christmas 2023 in Sorrento and surrounding areas
Who says you can only feel the spirit of Christmas in mountain villages and snowy towns? Sorrento Coast in December turns into a mantle of lights full of glittering decorations, with its traditional customs and festive moments that warm the hearts of locals and tourists alike who choose to spend Christmas in southern Italy.
From the lighting of the trees to the Ceppone di Santa Lucia (festivities and symbolic bonfire) to the characteristic nativity scenes that originated in Naples, events and street entertainment involve large cities such as Sorrento, but also neighboring areas such as Meta, Massa Lubrense, Capri, Ercolano and Pompeii.
This is how Campania shares its cultural and artistic history with music, events, street performances, and religious traditions.
Photo credits: tecnoservice
M’illumino d’inverno and the Christmas tree in Sorrento
Every year in the Piazza Torquato Tasso in Sorrento, a grand Christmas tree comes to life, creating an evocative spectacle of lights surrounded by multitudes of bright lights and Christmas decorations. Your eyes and hearts will twinkle. This lighting ceremony is part of the M’illumino d’inverno Festival, which is now in its 15th edition and features a program full of initiatives that run until January 21st.
The festival includes several events like the awards ceremony for the Il presepe oggi (‘The Nativity Crèche Today’) competition.
During the festive season, Sorrento offers a variety of possibilities, such as food and wine events, religious processions, fireworks, exhibitions, colorful parades, and activities for children.
The ‘Ceppone di Santa Lucia’
Not far from Sorrento lies the neighborhood of Santa Lucia, where you’ll find a small church dedicated to her in 1975. Every year on December 12th, a traditional Ceppone di Santa Lucia bonfire is lit next to the chapel.
This majestic tree stump burns for two days and symbolizes a deep and burning faith, as well as the purification of places and souls. The ceremony attracts crowds of devout believers and curious tourists who enjoy stands and delicious local products around the fire.
The adoration of Santa Lucia is not limited to Neapolitan culture; it extends across Europe, as far as Scandinavia, where Lucia brings light on the darkest day of the year. In many towns, from northern to southern Italy, such as Bergamo, Lodi, Mantua, and Palermo, we also encounter the adoration of the Saint. Legend has it that on the night between 12 and 13 December, Santa Lucia brings gifts to the good children of these cities on the back of her donkey.
The Neapolitan Nativity Crèche: A Long Tradition
During this time of the year, if you stroll through the streets of Naples, especially Via San Gregorio Armeno, you can witness the exquisite artisanal craft of the traditional Christmas creches. Skilled artisans proudly display hundreds of little sculpted statuettes in a stunning and colorful array.
The attention to every detail in these pieces makes them unique and precious, just like all the ceramic, wood, leather, and glass products found on Via San Biagio dei Librai, another hub of Neapolitan craftsmanship. Sorrento also has its share of traditions, including an impressive living nativity scene that you have to see in the gardens next to the Palazzo Episcopale in the Casarlano quarter.
The passion for craftsmanship and manufacturing isn’t only in the major cities of the Campania region. It thrives even in the smallest villages, thanks to the work of individual artists carrying on the traditions. One such artist is Andrea Cannavacciuolo, who happens to be the father of our Chef. His remarkable sculptures, all handmade, are symbols of culture and great passion.
You can enjoy his works along the halls of our Laqua Countryside resort in Ticciano. Incredibly evocative, they add an authentic and cosy flair to a dwelling already rich with memories and symbols of a genuine Italian experience.