Colourful markets. A profusion of fabulous street lights. Free entertaining street performances. Excellent feasts. Celebrating Christmas in Calabria’s Cosenza, what more could you ask for?
They say that Christmas is for children and not really for adults. When you ‘grow up’, it’s not as appealing and can be stressful, especially between families – agree?
But if you’re a child at heart, then you can’t help but be enthralled by the plethora of magical Christmas lights that many cities and towns around the world boast. And, the ancient city of Cosenza isn’t different.
Mesmerised and fascinated by the array of dazzling Christmas lights embellishing Cosenza each year, it’s a pleasure ambling along the streets until you bump into a fancy display.
Free parades with jesters dressed in Medieval costume play musical tunes on instruments of a bygone era. Just around the corner on the Corso, band members sporting top hats sprouting a huge sunflower competes, belting out jazz with trumpets and horns.
The Corso’s tree becomes a stage backdrop for more music from “Italian Busking” slicing the festive air with timeless Pink Floyd music in this eclectic city of contrasts.
Each evening a hype of energy abounds.
Unusual light sculptures captivate the hearts of children (and me) – a photo is a must.
Luscious traditional Calabrese delights such as the rich chocolate Torrone and sublime soft chewy or tooth-breaking nougat are abundant during Christmas time…
…although these scrumptious mouthfuls are also abundant during Cosenza’s heavenly Chocolate Festival, which is held each October. These delicious morsels grace every supermarket, bar, stall, and market – every corner of Cosenza.
This year Cosenza’s light exhibit gracing Piazza Bilotti is a little more subdued…
…apparently, this is due to Austerity measures.
Although traditional colours and embellishments are never far away though, with the markets providing everything Christmassy so that you can go crazy whilst decorating everything in sight.
Glaring market lights make it difficult to capture the colourful Christmas decorations.
Children can still enjoy the brightly-coloured gorgeous lights.
Pagan meets Christianity in Piazza Bilotti – although this is my subjective view on this fluid and intriguing sculpture depicting the peoples of Calabria.
Last year’s Christmas decorations in Cosenza adorned much of the city’s corners and buildings.
Although, the grandest and most sparkling display is always on the fashionable Corso Mazzini where everyone loves to have their photo taken.
The buzz and display of Christmas envelop the city…
…and the bonus is that in Cosenza it’s all free – a traveller’s dream.
Elegant Corso Mazzini – an almost 2-kilometre-long pedestrian shopping street boasting an open-air art museum with unique sculptures carved out of stone, bronze, or copper – is cloaked in Christmas.
The busy Corso is where the passeggiata (stroll) is experienced daily and is also Cosenza’s heart.
Locals arrive from around the region to shop but also to be seen on the Corso.
Friends and family bump into each other along the Corso, hug, offer one another a cafe, or just continue on a leisurely stroll. Chic and fashionable is the dress code before venturing into clothing boutiques and emerging under the weight of numerous fancy shopping bags.
And, when the Corso is even more beautifully embellished, this time with Christmas trees, sparkling baubles, and the reminder of this festive season, it’s easier to linger for much longer.
One from last year, which I want to share with you.
Turning every corner of the city sees a smaller piazza draped with delightful decorations.
Delicate light interpretations dot the city streets…
…sometimes looking into the light sculptures reveals a totally different aspect.
This year’s live tree in Corso Mazzini is a little sparse, but still effective.
Some restaurant owners take on the tricky task of decorating alleyways with attractive Christmas lights as unlike last year, many side-streets are not decorated this year.
Where is Cosenza?
If Cosenza is your Christmas destination, then you can fly to Lamezia Terme International airport from national or international cities.
If flying isn’t your thing or you’re strapped for cash then a bus or train from Rome, Naples, or another Italian city will eventually get you to Cosenza.
A parting note
My recent post on Cosenza shares loads of free activities that you can indulge in during your stay. Also, tons more photos of this great city to give you a more intimate feel, should you wish to take a break from your Christmas festivities and sumptuous banquet.
And, if you are taking a break from your hours of endless Christmas feast, then indulge in a passeggiata along the extensive Corso Mazzini to walk off some of the food.
Regardless of whether it’s Christmas, the Corso is decorated for every occasion or festival and a pleasure to stroll along or stop for a scrumptious gelato, splendid freshly-baked pastry, and excellent cafe.
Wishing everyone a wonderful festive season!
Now it’s over to you, describe what Christmas means for you? What are you doing this year -spending the festive season with family or a quiet one? And, if you don’t celebrate this time of year, how do you avoid Christmas altogether?
Meanwhile, I’m leaving you with this Christmas float that relentlessly travels around our road below the apartment all day, music blaring on each Saturday and Sunday.