Asiago – Not just Cheese!
Italian Christmas traditions vary from region to region just as their culture, food and wine. Asiago is best known outside of Italy for the flavorful cheese that carries its name. Asiago is located on the high plains in the Province of Vicenza between the rivers Brenta and Astico. At an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level the plain precipitate on the Northern and Eastern borders into the Valley Valsugana.
The high Plains of Asiago are formed like a shell. The seven towns of Roana, Rotzo, Lusiana, Conco, Gallio, Foza and Enego are protected from the winter winds by the mountain range that reaches heights of 2,341 meters. The sun shines brightly on the snow covered lands for 8-9 hours a day during the winter months. It is the image of every winter snow crystal. Tranquility abounds as the snow sparkles in the day’s light.
The history of Asiago is closely tied to wars and the defense of the Italian Penisula. Castles from centuries past and fortifications of wars as recent as WWII are open to visitors. The city is also home to the astrological observatory built in 1942 to celebrate the passing of Galileo, 300 years earlier. The night is so clear that two major telescopes were added in 1956 and 1965. The final and most impressive telescope, with a diameter of 182 cm., was added in 1973.
Asiago is Christmas from November through February. Evergreens covered in snow. Mountain homes with ice crystals lazily draped down across the windows and doors. Asiago has added a new activity to their Christmas winter attractions. Starting the 3rd of December, Asiago offers Christmas encounters and fairs. Christmas lights and trekking in the heavy snow are weekend activities.
The International Ice Sculpture tournament has found a home from December 16 through January 15. The entire city will be turned into a show as artists create their visions in the squares and along the boulevards of the city’s center.
Christmas Eve is celebrated in the Duomo at 11 pm as the city’s inhabitants await the festivities of the birth of Christ. Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) and the Chorus of Asiago are the attractions of Christmas day. The final procession of Father Christmas is an evening stroll with candles through the city’s antique center on December 27.
Asiago is not the first place one thinks of when traveling to Italy. Most likely it does not come to mind however Christmas in Asiago is truly Christmas.
Tags: Italian Christmas Traditions Asiago Vicenza Winter Vacation Alps Ice Sculpture Travel Italy Italian Cheese