This year, I can feel the Christmas spirit pulsing through the air. Every single small light and lit candle puts me in a good mood and draws a smile upon my face. I am dreaming of spending a Christmas chatting and tasting delicious dishes with family and friends. The holidays are almost here and you're likely already wondering: what will I do for New Year's?
You don't necessarily have to go too far from where you are in Tuscany to have a great time. Being in Italy, you might already be hundreds or thousands of miles or kilometers from home, so you don't need to go much further. If you're staying near Pistoia and its surroundings, you'll find the right atmosphere to have a fun New Year's Eve to crown your holidays in Tuscany.
I'll suggest some nice events to pass New Year's and Epiphany in Pistoia below. You'll find the right company to enjoy the warm atmosphere of light that vibrates in the historic center.
The morning of the last day of the year, on Thursday, December 31st at the Pistoia Zoo from 9:30am to 1pm: this is particularly for families as it focuses on a teaching workshop on the "Magical World of Spineless Goblins" ;-). Kids will get the chance to explore the world of small marvels, magical stories and unsuspecting scents, later meeting and building a house for the special goblins. Cost is 20 euro per kid, which includes entrance to the zoo, and requires booking ahead at +39 347 1080481 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is going on the the evening in Pistoia? There are many restaurants that have organized dinners. The Bonadea, for example, has prepared a tasty and fun evening: a rich menu of local specialties [starting from the millefeuille with potatoes and wild salmon to the skewers of mussels and eggplant to a parmigiana with neonata fish topped with shaved Modica chocolate, to the broccoli soup with crunchy croutons, the white lasagna with shrimp and zucchini flavored with ginger and ending with baked prawns, baked potatoes and salad] where of course, champagne is included for the midnight toast and a DJ set accompanies your dinner until late at night [€55 per person].
Once you finish dinner, whether you're at a restaurant or at a friend's house, everyone head out onto the streets! The evening will include entertainment including music and fireworks! Starting at 10:30pm, in fact, the historical center will come alive with the sounds and lights of the festive last night of the year. Lots of events and music in the streets and squares are planned, including music by DJ Luca Civinini, to be followed by a concert at 11pm by Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana in Piazza del Duomo.
Hate the cold and the chaos of being outdoors on New Year's? Then the province of Pistoia offers you a relaxing alternative. Montecatini Terme or Monsummano Terme both offer moments of pampering as you wait for 2016 at the spa. A day to devote to you and to share with friends or loved ones. The thermal spas at Montecatini offer very inviting packages and the same thing applies to the Grotta Giusti Monsummano [which include dinner on New Year's Eve and beauty treatments as well].
You can also head to the Teatro Verdi in Montecatini where you can laugh, sing and dance with various Italian groups, from The Siamese Twins to Stefano Orselli and Frascesco Guasti, and music by EVIOLINS.
I would say that Pistoia and surroundings have something to offer for all tastes. You'll be able to pass an evening as you like, enjoy your city and wait for the new year with serenity.
Who starts well is already halfway to winning the battle, therefore the surprises do not end there!
The city will come alive by a series of meetings and shows that will continue until Epiphany, when alas, the holidays are over and most everything ends.
On Wednesday, January 6, 2016 starting at 4pm, everyone will be heading to Piazza del Duomo to see the Befana, the Italian witch which climbs down from the bell tower. I've always missed this festival and this year I want to go there to relive through the eyes of an adult the emotions of a child. The event is organized by the Provincial command of the Fire Department and the National Association of the Fire Department in partnership with the City Council of Pistoia. Sweets [or coal?] for all!
Another festival you should not miss if you're here is the one taking place on January 5 in Cutigliano, in the province of Pistoia, where Befana arrives with gifts for the kids starting at 5pm. Also on the 5th, head to Pian degli Ontanifor the Song of the Epiphany at 9:00pm and the Descent of the Comet at 10pm, while at nearby Melo (starting at 5:30pm) the Befana arrives a day early with mulled wine for everyone. On January 6 head back to Pian degli Ontani for the traditional meeting of the Befana witch with Santa Claus where children receive the last gifts of the season!
So how about you spending New Year's and Epiphany in Pistoia? A hug, a smile, a warm atmosphere are worth more when traveling far from home. I suppose I might be feeling a bit philosophical this morning, as the end of the year approaches and I reflect how this year has gone, how the next 365 days might go.
I hope you enjoy a great holiday season in Tuscany and wish you a 2016 full of beautiful things and unforgettable moments wherever you are.
Main photo credit: chripell