26 December 2015

Santo Stefano - Boxing Day

Feast of Santo Stefano in Italy

Italians enjoy another day relaxing with their families on the feast of Santo Stefano, which is a public holiday in Italy.

The statue can be found in the Chiesa di Santo Stefano
The statue of Santo Stefano in the
 church of the same name in Assisi

It is traditional to visit loved ones and friends that you didn't see the day before to take presents and gifts of food.

Lunch will be less formal but still consist of several courses and each area of Italy will have its own specialities.

The day remembers Santo Stefano, traditionally thought of as the first Christian martyr, who lived during the first century  BC.

He aroused enmity with his christian teachings in Jerusalem. Accused of blasphemy, he was tried and sentenced to death. Eventually he was stoned to death by an angry crowd. 

The day is celebrated in different ways across Italy.  In some towns there are processions, in others there are re-enactments of the nativity. It is also a tradition in some areas to visit nativity scenes in local churches and leave donations.

The Sicilian town of Ragusa stages an annual presepe vivente (live nativity scene) which attracts many visitors. 
Ragusa stages an annual presepe vivente, which attracts many visitors
The Sicilian hill town of Ragusa offers
spectacular views

Travel tip:

The Baroque town of Ragusa in south-eastern Sicily is one of the island's most picturesque towns, with spectacular views.  It is built on a wide limestone hill between two valleys and has become a location regularly used for Sicilian detective drama Il Commissario Montalbano (Inspector Montalbano). 


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