Wednesday, January 6, 2010

La Befana in Urbania

We took a small drive from Urbino and go to the medieval town of Urbania for dinner while we were in the Marche region. When we arrived we discovered the national Befana Festival.
We purchased a small bag of chestnuts that had been "roasting on an open fire," and began exploring the town. We strolled between buildings that had large stockings hung to celebrate la Befana.
We saw images of Befana sitting on balconies
and flying over streets.

Adults of all ages, female and male,
were walking the streets dressed as la Befana.
Children were enjoying street performers, ceramic workshops
and a marketplace just for chocolate.

There was actually a chocolate kebab stand!
At the end of the street of chocolate vendors there was a place to get carbone, the coal that la Befana will leave for naughty boys and girls.
The house of la Befana was a special attraction for kids. They could go inside and give her a hug or sit down and listen to a story. She had a mail box for the letters that are sent to her from children all over Italy.

Urbania has also been an important center of handmade Italian ceramics since the 15th century and there are still several ceramics workshops. We purchased a gift for a friend from the workshop of Monica Alvoni.

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