Must-see Christmas events

As we get closer to my favourite holiday, Christmas, I can promise you a slew of Christmas articles. It's inevitable. I love Christmas and luckily enough, so does the Maremma, with plenty of fun and tradition planned for the coming weeks. So as we warm up the holiday spirit, I thought I'd share my top events for the Christmas season 2013, just in case you happen to be spending it in the Maremma Tuscany! Mercatini di Natale, Gavorrano, 22-23 Dec christmas market_gavorrano_maremma tuscany A part of the Christmas festivities that is distinctly European - Christmas Markets! Gavorrano throws the Maremma's best. Imagine festive-dressed wooden stalls selling everything from handmade Christmas baubles to biscuits and other winter treats. You can pick up last minute presents and get ideas for a few DIY projects to try at home. I always do the latter. This year, I'm attempting to draw beautiful designs on white mugs with a felt tip pen! Vivamus Natale, Manciano, 24 Dec Schermata 12-2456637 alle 14.22.26 It wouldn't be Christmas without Santa Claus. So stop by Manciano from 3:30pm to catch the big man in red as he hands out presents and sweet treats. His trusty team of elves will also be on hand face painting festive designs. For the adults, there'll be music, chestnuts, new wine and mulled wine around the lit-up 12-foot fir tree that has been set up especially for the season. Catasta di Natale, Petricci, 24 Dec christmas pyre_maremma_tuscany In the Maremma, Christmas is a time spent not just with family, but with friends and the community. The province is made up of small towns where everyone really does know everyone and enjoys spending this time of year with them. Petricci shares the community spirit the best. On Christmas Eve, the town will be playing music and sharing chestnuts and mulled wine. As the clock gets closer to midnight and Christmas Day, they'll be lighting their traditional pyre. It's a mess of oak and chestnut trees that harks back to pagan festivals. Not only will the pyre keep you warm, but it also promises to be an evocative sight. Corriamo con Gesù Bambino, Porto Santo Stefano, 24 Dec corriamo con gesu bambino in porto santo stefano_maremma tuscany Another late night festival, but this time with a costume parade. Rather than have a living Nativity Scene, these locals in Porto Santo Stefano will be dressing up like the protagonists of the Bible story and carrying baby Jesus from one church to another just in time for midnight mass. Even if you're not the religious type, this is still a beautiful festival to witness. It's not something you see every day or honestly anywhere else in the Maremma. Art, Sapori e Musica sotto l'Albero, Massa Marittima, 24 Dec massa marittima maremma tuscany There are a lot of Christmas concerts scheduled in the Maremma, but none of them are quite like Massa Marittima's. With a big budget and a gorgeous piazza, this concert promises to be a real spectacular. So get in early. The concert starts at 10pm, but seats will fill up quickly. Sleeping Beauty by the New Classical Moscow Ballet, Grosseto, 25 Dec maremma tuscany_la BELLA ADDORMENTATA_{c191dc08-1abe-4d0e-bc2c-07a93d1f543f} Who says Christmas events have to include Santa and a tree? Grosseto will be celebrating Christmas Day with a one time performance of Sleeping Beauty by the New Classical Moscow Ballet at Teatro Moderno. Tickets can be bought online, or at: Tabaccheria Europa at V.le Europa n.27, Grosseto. Tel: +39 0564.451557 Bartolucci Expert at V.le dei Mille n. 21, Grosseto.  Tel: +39 0564.410155 They range from €35 to €25, depending on where you sit. It's the perfect choice if you're spending the day away from family and friends. The ballet starts at 6pm. Presepe Vivente, Porto Ercole, 26 Dec maremma tuscany_porto ercole_living nativity Growing up in Australia, Christmas, I admit, was a little commercialized, so we never had anything even close to this fantastic living Nativity Scene. It's such a quaint and typically Italian tradition that it's my favourite event for this year. Between 4pm and 7pm, you can see local Porto Ercole residents playing out the Nativity Scene. It's not just the manger bit, but all of it, from the arrival of the Three Wise Men to the shining star and host of farmyard animals. The kids will absolutely love it!

Elisa Scarton Detti

Elisa is an Australian journalist who came to Tuscany for a year, fell in love (how cliché?) and decided to stick around. Not one to keep amazing holiday destinations to herself, she now writes a blog and travel guide about the infinitely beautiful Tuscany.

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