The Christmas lights are on, the Christmas market is open, shoppers are out in force and from this Thursday – the day of the Immaculate Conception – the holiday season starts in earnest. Read on for a panoramic view of how Como plans on celebrating over the holiday period.
‘Toytown’ Como – the Citta dei Balocchi
For some years now the main Christmas events have been organised under the banner of Como as the ‘Citta dei Balocchi’ or city of toys with its obvious appeal to families and children. Their website (follow link) lists the full variety of events. However the most visible and trans-formative initiative is the series of illuminations in Piazza Duomo, Piazza Grimaldi and Porta Torre. They are undoubtedly a great attraction and, no matter how well they may be photographed, nothing beats the experience of seeing them at first hand.
The Christmas market certainly adds further sensory stimulation with the many culinary products on offer alongside ideas for last minute presents and stocking fillers. And at the heart of Piazza Cavour there is the ice skating rink open from 14.30 to 23.00 from Monday to Friday and from 10.00 to 23.00 at weekends and public holidays apart from Christmas Day itself when it is closed.
For children in particular, Father Christmas will be visiting Piazza Duomo at 16.00 on Christmas Eve and his place will be taken by the Befana on Epiphany (6th January) who will descend into the Piazza (also at 16.00) on her broomstick to distribute sweets or coal to the good or the naughty.
Palazzo Broletto hosts an exhibition that runs from 8th to 30th December of model horses, dolls and toys through the ages. The steamboat Patria will be moored off Piazza De Gasperi (by the Funicular) and open to the public for a collection of model boats and trains from 10th to 18th December. The star of the lake’s steamboats – the Concordia – will also be open to the public from 6th to 9th December hosting a display of local lacemaking.
The Church of San Giacomo in Piazza Grimaldi hosts an exhibition of cribs (presepi) that opens on 8th December until 8th January with the church open from 10.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 18.00. This also offers a rare opportunity to see inside San Giacomo!
Other seasonal standards include the antique carousel in Piazza Volta and the Ferris wheel along the lake front near to the Volta Temple. There are other events too numerous to mention but all listed in either the official Como online guide or the previously mentioned site for Citta dei Balocchi.
New Years Eve
Como celebrates New Years Eve in style with a firework display that attracts many visitors into town and to the Lake Gardens in particular. Live music starts at 22.00, a 20 minute firework and music display bring in the new year and the music and dancing continue on afterwards until about 03.00.
There are numerous other musical events, Christmas concerts and recitals organised over the holiday period. Details of these can be found in our calendar although special mention goes to the Christmas Concert in the Duomo on Friday 16th December at 21.00.
And, in addition to all this, but offering a particular treat to lovers of detective fiction or ‘cronoca nera’ , is the ‘Noir in Festival’ which kicks off on December 8th. This annual celebration of the detective thriller in print or film is a first for Como and an article dedicated to it will soon be posted here.