Every year the city of Aosta is home to the Saint Orso Fair dedicated to the Aosta Valley craft work.
This year the fair is held on the 30th and 31st of January, with artisans coming from all over the region.
The fair has a long tradition that dates back to 1000. Legend tells that all began in the area of Saint Orso Church. Just opposite the church, the Saint, who lived before the ninth century, used to distribute clothing and “sabot”, the traditional wooden clogs still sold at the Fair, to the poor.
The favorite material is wood in all its forms, but there are also artisans of metals, ceramics and fabrics.
Aosta is transformed and visitors are transported into a world of gestures handed down from generation to generation.
And here we are in Lombardy. Ready to know more about this region so rich of traditions?
Lombardy is located in northern Italy. The name has its origin from the Longobards who occupied the region in the sixth century, after the fall of the Roman empire.
In Lombardy the ancient and ritual tradition of the Yule log is also widely practiced throughout the region. People use to select the log among the most valuable woods as ash, pine, oak and even fruit trees.
At the arrival of the log in the houses would have followed always a big party, decorating the trunks with ribbons, leaves and flowers. Younger children rode on the stump astride and, in its wake, people doffed their hats and bowed. On Christmas the household head then would light up the log, often with the remains of the previous year. He also recited prayers and in some areas he poured on the trunk wine or grain, as good luck. People believed that the remains of the log had healing powers and could use it in fact for most situations: to treat sick calves, to have a good harvest and even for human health as sickness of teeth.
Introducing the Christmas in Lombardy we have to talk about Panettone. One of the symbol of the Italian Christmas in the world.
This weekend we were in Pistoia always looking for new stories about artisans and territories and cities to explore.
Pistoia is just 30 km from Florence and it is easily reached by train or car. It is also a good start for a visit of other famous surroundings, above all the Health SPA of Montecatini and the towns of Lucca and Pisa.
The main occasion was the visit of the Arts & Crafts fair held in the former Brera factory right outside the train station. Here we made some interesting encounters, between the Tuscan tradition and the emerging youth.