From historical and artistic nativity scenes, markets, historic shops, concerts, to the Confeugo ceremony (one of the city’s ancient traditions), to the evocative Ferris wheel in Porto Antico, to the Circumnavigando Festival and many other events, an Advent which showcases the secrets of Genoese craftsmanship.
DECEMBER 8 LIGHTING OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE, 9th CELEBRATIONS IN SAMPIERDARENA
The festivities start - as usual – on Sunday 8th December: the feast of the “Immacolata”, Piazza De Ferrari will be crowded with both residents and visitors attending the ceremony of the switching on of the Christmas lights. This year's ceremony is "doubled" and has a particularly engaging and emotionally charged program which after starting in Piazza De Ferrari then continues, in Certosa, with the illumination of the murals of the "On the Wall" project, created to embellish the neighbourhood.
In Piazza De Ferrari, starting at 4.30pm, the entertainment begins with music performed by the Santo Stefano d’Aveto Band. To accompany this, in the afternoon there will be tastings of Ligurian sweets featuring Misto Chiavari hazelnuts and fruit juice which will be distributed free of charge, this is organized by the Enoteca Regionale Ligure and Val D’Aveto products. However from 3 pm a string orchestra will perform in via San Vincenzo, this will be followed by an itinerant show which will perform through the streets of the area, organized by Circumnavigando with the collaboration of the Municipality of Genoa and the Chamber of Commerce.
At 17.30 after extending greetings and good wishes to the city from the staircase of Palazzo Ducale, Genoa’s mayor Marco Bucci and the president of the Liguria Region Giovanni Toti, with the president of the Park of the Val D'Aveto Michele Focacci and the managing director of Iren Massimiliano Bianco, will then switch on the lights on Genoa’s central Christmas Tree, donated by the Park. Representatives of the Municipality of Santo Stefano D'Aveto will also be present.
But there will then be a surprise to make the start of the Christmas holidays even more impressive. The square will be transformed by a sophisticated play of light that will celebrate Genoa’s Christmas, where sea and gifts meet in a unique atmosphere. At the height of the projection, the Region building will turn into a talking Santa Claus, who will explain to children and adults how his work in Genoa is different from the rest of the world.
Iren's contribution to the creation of lighting has been substantial.
At the end of the screening, the ceremonies - as mentioned - transfer to the other heart of the city, the Valpolcevera: using the city’s Metro the authorities will move to Certosa where President Giovanni Toti and Mayor Marco Bucci will visit the new murals, a street art project called "On the wall", which will be illuminated revealing their powerful beauty in a suggestively immersive and dynamic experience. A program of music will be provided by the Rivarolo Band and the Conte choir will sing Christmas carols, this will then be followed by the distribution of free focaccia. The murals will remain "turned on" throughout the Christmas holiday period.
From 18.00 a Crib from the collection of the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora del Monte will be open to the public in the Transparency Room of the Liguria Region building, it is composed of statues attributed to the Genoese sculptor Pasquale Navone (1746 –1791), heir of the great Maraglianesca school, the exhibition will be open until 31st January 2020, every day from 10 to 18.
On Monday 9th December, the magic of Christmas will also touch Sampierdarena where at 8 pm a second tree (again) donated by the Val D’Aveto Regional Park will be illuminated. The inauguration is in Largo Gozzano, and will be attended by the President of the Region Giovanni Toti and Mayor Marco Bucci who, after the switching on ceremony, will attend the Concerto “A night at the Opera” at the Modena Theater, offered to the city by the Carlo Felice Theater. From 7.00 pm the neighbourhood will resound to the music of the Filarmonica Pegliese Mario Chiusamenti.
It is worth noting that also this year many neighbourhoods of the city will have a Christmas tree donated by the Antola Park Authority. The firs come from land belonging to Iren at the site of the Brugneto reservoir and are being transported free of charge by the Lisi Group in collaboration with Aster.
Many companies are contributing to enlivening the city through spectacular play of light in some of the city’s squares. Among these - in addition to Iren - there are Esselunga, Madi Ventura S.p.A, Basko and Coop.
The Confeugo, an antique tradition of the Republic of Genoa, documented from the XIV century, but probably more ancient, returns once more on Saturday 21st December.
On the occasion of Christmas, and the imminent beginning of a new year, the people paid tribute to the Republics highest authorities, presenting a laurel trunk decorated with white and red ribbons. Representing the population, the gift was given by the Abbot of the People (traditionally the representative of the Val Bisagno) to the Doge. The presentation took place in front of Palazzo Ducale, which was reached after a procession through what is now Via San Vincenzo, Via Porta d'Archi, vico Dritto Ponticello and Porta Sant'Andrea, the Abbot addressed the Doge by saying the following Genoese phrases: "Ben trovòu messê ro Duxe ”and the Doge replied“ Ben vegnûo messê l'Abbòu ”.
The trunk was then burned, as a good omen, and those present tried to bring home an ember, as a symbol of good luck.
THE PALIO OF GENOA AND THE BABBO-RUN
Sunday, December 22nd, the appointment is in the Porto Antico area for the now traditional Genoa Palio, or Christmas Vogata that will challenge 6 crews - 3 male and 3 female - representing three different areas: Levante Ligure, Centro , Western Liguria. The Christmas atmosphere of the event will be ensured by the Father-Christmas Run: a non-competitive walk of “Santas”, in Calata Falcone Borsellino they will engage in distributing gifts before leaving for Piazza De Ferrari. The day will be completed by "A smile for the children of Gaslini", a charity event in which, from 4.00pm to 6.00pm, in Piazza De Ferrari, 40 volunteers from the association "Raiders for children" dressed as Santa Claus will distribute gifts to the children and then continue to Gaslini hospital where they will deliver other gifts to all the young patients.
CHRISTMAS FAMILY TREASURE HUNT
Sunday 22nd December from 2.30pm to 5pm in Genoa’s historic centre there will be a Christmas Family Treasure Hunt (organized by the Municipal Agency for the Family, the Department of Commerce and Crafts and the Department of Social and Health Policies, family and related rights). Between nativity scenes, delicacies and historical shops. Families will be organized in teams and will leave from Piazza San Lorenzo. An orienteering map will guide them around the alleyways and caruggi of our historic centre, to find the clues scattered along the route, discovering the magic of the cribs and the historical shops that make up a rich and suggestive mosaic within the reach of all.
CHURCHES IN MUSIC
New dates as part of the “Chiese in Musica” programme, the event that combines the glory of Genoa’s churches with the enchantment of music. The calendar begins on Saturday 7th December, when the day will be full of musical events: at 4pm in Palazzo Tursi Antonella Fontana soprano & String Ensemble will perform, followed at 5pm by the 2015 Choir - Amici della Montagna di Genova, then at 6pm People Around Music Workshop Choir; while at the same time (6pm), at the Church of San Luca a Christmas concert will be provided by the Voci sul Mare choir directed by Rita Vietz.
The events continue on Saturday, December 21st with an appointment at the Church of Padre Santo, in Via Bertani, at 9 pm, where the Soreghina Choir will perform, entry is free, but it will be possible to make a donation for the restoration of the group of wooden figures “The Stigmata of St. Francesco”, sculpted in 1709 by Anton Maria Maragliano. Very close to Christmas the appointment of Monday, December 23rd, at 9pm in the church of Santo Stefano: the "Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratory" can be heard performed by the Genoa Vocal Consort choir in an event organized in collaboration with the Cygnus Opera Festival choirs of Genoa and Coro Lirico Monteverdi di Cosseria. Saturday, December 28th: at 8.45 pm the Chiesa della Nunziata will host the grand finale of "Churches in Music" 2019, with a program still in progress but which is enriched every day with new surprises.
The musical offering of "Churches in Music" will be accompanied by a special event proposed by the University of Genoa: on Saturday, December 14th at 5 pm, in the Salone del Maggior Consiglio of Palazzo Ducale, "Jazz @ Christmas”, a concert of Christmas jazz music performed by the Unigezz small band and the choir of the University of Genoa directed by Fabio Macelloni (free admission subject to availability).
Also this year the Municipality of Genoa has decided to create a very special Advent season, linked to the city’s craftsmanship, which aims to enhance the appreciation of craftsmanship by explaining - especially to children, through guided tours and workshops - the traditional crafts of our city. Every day, starting December 1st, videos will be used to show a different craft, with a countdown to Christmas as in the classic Advent calendar. The calendar can be shared and "browsed" via the Facebook page "Comune di Genova - Genoa Municipality". Many craft sectors are involved: from the skills of chocolate making to the dexterity of ceramics, glass and floral composition, restoration, bread-making , inevitably, with a special focus on the classic focaccia.
As every year, in December Genoa is coloured by the tradition of Christmas markets, which animate the city throughout the holiday season. Throughout the month - and beyond - Genoa’s trade associations (Confcommercio and Confesercenti) enrich the urban experience with rich and varied activities throughout the city’s districts. In particular, as every year, the appointment with the Christmas Fair (until December 24th in Piazza della Vittoria) stands out, this year paying particular attention to children, with the a special corner dedicated to the youngest. As always, the Christmas Market in Piazza Matteotti (until 24th December) is eagerly awaited, organized by Ascom and Confesercenti, which with its strategic location in the city centre offers a choice that ranges from typical Ligurian traditional products to objects that are the fruit of the finest craftsmanship. Until January 6th in its historic location within Galleria Mazzini, the traditional Christmas "Book Fair" awaits fans of literature with the latest releases as well as second hand books, prints, comics, records, CDs and DVDs.
Meanwhile returning to its traditional location of Piazza Piccapietra and opening with the official ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday 8th December the Market of San Nicola, remains open until December 23rd, as always, putting solidarity at the centre of its objectives. In the heart of the city centre, every day from 10 to 20, this year will be its 31 edition and will include many new features as well as the usual network of collaborations in the name of Christmas and charity: 60 stands will be present and, each weekend, more than 40 associations will alternate to promote their activities.
CHRISTMAS IS THE TIME FOR CRIBS
The crib tradition dates back to the early seventeenth century and Genoa stands out, next to Naples, as one of the most active centres in the production of crib figures.
In the Transparency Room from 9th December 2019 to 31st January 2020 from 10 to 18 it will be possible to admire the Historic Crib of the sanctuary of N.S. del Monte. The nativity scene includes a total of about seventy statues ascribed to the Genoese sculptor Pasquale Navone (1746 –1791), heir to the great Maraglianesque school and producer of a very large number of traditional Genoese crib figures
Absolutely not to be missed is the “animated” biblical crib by Franco Curti in the Auditorium of the Museum of Capuchin Cultural Heritage of Genoa. This crib is over 70 years old and has been exhibited in the major cities of northern Italy. Created in the 1930s by a craftsman from Carmagnola (Franco Curti) it covers 40 square meters and is preserved with all its original mechanisms.
Among the most evocative cribs is the crib of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption of Carbonara, called "La Madonnetta", which presents a hundred wooden or period costume sculptures (dating from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century) in a scenographic setting of ancient Genoa, where many city places can still be clearly recognized.
One of the smallest cribs in the world will be exhibited at the Museo dell'Accademia Ligustica from December 13th to February 1st 2020. A precious frame in ebony and silver filigree contains a relief of tiny dimensions (mm 84 x 62 x 16).
Finally, until February 2nd 2020, Palazzo Reale will present the magnificent Royal Nativity. Following the conclusion of the long and delicate restoration, the Genoese palace is organizing the display of the entire complex of this monumental Genoese crib composed of over eighty figures. Final dates and times of the show will be available in the coming weeks.
In the caruggi "dressed for a party" you can breathe a magical Christmas atmosphere, meandering in search of original gift ideas in any of the 43 historic shops (now certified by the Municipality, the Chamber of Commerce and the Superintendency) which preserve the city’s tradition of trade and quality craftsmanship (www.botteghestorichegenova.it); lingering among the stalls of the numerous Christmas markets, entering the many churches and historic buildings, rich in masterpieces from the Romanesque to the Baroque, and listening to concerts of both sacred and traditional music.
The usual appointment with Natalidea, the trade fair for the most important party of the year, which this year moves back from the exhibition grounds to the Old Port and is transformed into a romantic village of little houses with a thousand gift ideas: clothing, jewellery, handicrafts, herbal medicine and a thousand delicacies such as sweets, “pandolci”, dried fruit, cheeses and typical salamis. The village of Natalidea will be open every day from 7th to 22nd December, from 10.30 to 19.30 in the magical christmas atmosphere, flanked by the area’s opportunities for recreation, such as the big Ferris wheel, the exciting ice skating rink and the timeless bigo.
EVENTS ACROSS THE CITY
Throughout the month of December, and beyond, the whole city comes to life with numerous events in the streets and squares under the auspices of the Civ (Integrated Centers of the Via) and by the trade associations of the Genoese trade (Confcommercio and Confesercenti).
Markets, Christmas trees, music, dance, shows, children's entertainment, food and wine, exhibitions, and many other initiatives, give traditional colour to the streets of the city. The detailed program will soon be online.
THE BEST OF MY LIGURIA
On 9th and 10th December, Palazzo della Borsa in Via XX will host an event entirely dedicated to our region. With "The best of my Liguria" you will be able to dedicate your time, from 1pm to 7pm, to crafts, typical products, and to taste, oil, wine and fine food.
December 9th will be dedicated to crafts, personal care and the home . While December 10th is the day of taste, of typical products, wine and oil and how it can brighten your table.
The program also includes many workshops offered by exhibitors, all in a magical Christmas atmosphere.
PANORAMIC WHEEL IN THE ANCIENT PORT
Back to the Old Port for the entire winter the big Ferris wheel from which a spectacular view of the city can be enjoyed. The location is, once again, the large square of Calata Gadda, at the bottom of the Magazzini del Cotone. From this magic wheel you can enjoy the ever new view of Genoa from above.
CHRISTMAS BETWEEN AQUARIUM OF GENOA AND GALATA MUSEUM OF THE SEA
The AcquarioVillage world celebrates the Christmas holidays with a rich schedule of appointments and offers at the Genoa Aquarium, the Galata Museo del Mare and at Dialogo nel buio which, from the beginning of December, will be offering the opportunity to immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of Christmas.
There are many special initiatives dedicated to families and children at the Genoa Aquarium: from meeting Spongebob to workshops on the world of invertebrates, from a Night with sharks (which allows children from 7 to 11 years to get to know the Aquarium of Genoa in the unusual context of the night) to personalized initiatives for the most curious.
At the Galata Museo del Mare for Christmas the meeting is with Geronimo Stilton along a route of 15 stages dedicated to the much loved mouse, will enable families to travel by sea in different historical periods.
Dialogo nel Buio also celebrates Christmas with its audience by offering family activities: on days 8th, 24th, 26th December and 5th January, children and adults are invited to participate in "La Dolce Challenge, Pandoro Hunt" to test themselves and to savour the classic Christmas pandoro.
For more information: Natale con Acquario e Galata
The annual appointment with Europe's largest amusement park returns to Genoa!
From 30th November 2019 to 12th January 2020 adults and children can venture onto the big rides located in Piazzale Kennedy. From those suitable for children to adrenaline-pumped attractions for adults, this fun fair offers a wide range of entertainment and fun during the Christmas period. Let yourself be enchanted by the suggestive lights of the rides and the smell of cotton candy!
From 26th December 2019 to 6th January 2020 Circumnavigando returns to Genoa, the International Circus and Theatre Festival which reaches its nineteenth edition this year.
Ever crazier and more addictive, this time it has the title “Fool immersion” and will see, as every year, the public entertained and involved in unmissable shows during the Christmas holidays.