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The gate to the cold northern flank of Mount Etna, and to its ski tracks, Linguaglossa is the capital of winter tourism in the Catania area. We already wrote about this lovely town, since it is a place many people love to visit, also in the summer. Gourmets also love Linguaglossa very much. Here you can taste very good sausages, sweet cookies and Etna wines. In winter, besides the snow and the ski tracks, there is another reason for coming here for a visit, especially in December. Celebrating Christmas in a magic atmosphere.

linguaglossa christmas_ (1)02Linguaglossa and its mural graffitti

Now try to imagine: a town in the evening light, with golden lamps and bright coloured Christmas lights, a snowy Etna in the background. Imagine the top craters spreading red smoke in the sky. And you walk in this  very exciting scenario! As you walk, you discover the many mural graffitti decorating the alleys of Linguaglossa. Another reason to be here during Christmas time.

In the 1980s, local students with the support of the municipal administrations started painting murals in the alleys, courtyards and squares of the town. Years later, this is a tradition! Today, murals are everywhere especially in the old town area. And if walls are not enough, there are wood panels made on purpose to decorate. There is the lovely face of a “modern Virgin Mary” in a red dress, or faces of ancient knights, farmers, and sacred images with flowers around. You will be walking into a fairy tale that takes you to the real tale of Christmas.

Linguaglossa celebrates Christmas

Linguaglossa celebrates Christmas with a historical parade that represents the event of the birth of Christ. Characters in period costume walk the main streets of the town to the square where the Crib stands. You will see shepherds, bagpipers, but also knights, ladies. Finally, the event ends on January 5th with the “descent of the Kings” who will bring the gifts to the Child Jesus, at the Living Nativity scene that is set up in the Capuchin Convent.

But the little ones may not know that … Santa Claus lives right here! And where else, if not in the coldest place on Etna? Thanks to the interest of the president of the local Town Community Association, in fact, every year at Christmas the famous “red old man of the gifts” opens the doors of his little house. A little house that strangely looks a lot like … the Association’s seat itself! And there he awaits the children to whom he can give a smile and a gift.

Due to Covid, not all traditional Christmas events will be able to be respected in Decembre 2021. Manylinguaglossa christmas_ (1)03 will be played in a minor or abridged form. But the Santa Claus House will open anyway, this year. And if there are no processions and parades, there will still be concerts in churches and a well-controlled food tasting according to safety regulations.

Between Christmas and Etna

If you come to Linguaglossa to spend your Etnean Christmas you can alternate visits to the cribs and tastings with excursions at high altitude. From Linguaglossa you go up to the Ragabo and Brunek huts, immersed in the white silence of the snow-covered pine forest. Going up higher, you reach Piano Provenzana, where the ski resorts  work sometimes until late spring, since this side of the volcano is the coldest.

Or you can simply go up to admire the majesty of Etna, from this side. From the viewpoints you will enjoy the view of the large top craters, including the eye-catching Northeast, once the highest peak. Today it has been overtaken by the “small” crater of the South East, though. Since it has exceeded 3350 meters in height, it has also looked out , beyond the ridge, so to admire the beauty of Linguaglossa’s Christmas!

How to get to Linguaglossa

By car, follow the Messina-Catania motorway, exiting, in both directions, at Fiumefreddo. From here, along the SS 120, go up for about 9 km towards Randazzo and Linguaglossa. If you are on the east side, for example in Zafferana or Milo, you can reach Linguaglossa with a longer and winding but very panoramic road: climbing from Fornazzo and climbing over the Citelli ridge towards Piano Provenzana and Brunek.

By train: you will get off at the Taormina-Giardini station and take a taxi or an Interbus bus to Randazzo. Those arriving by plane can land in Catania and from there take the direct bus connections to the Catania station and to Linguaglossa. (the photos of the murals are by G MUSUMECI)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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