Sitting at my computer reading through my messages from Italy and looking at those always delightful photographs, I’m thinking about what will be happening in Amalfi to prepare for Christmas. There you really know something truly important is being celebrated and I’m wondering – is the tree yet lit up in the piazza? are the little carved Nativity figures already placed in the fountains with the tiny cribs still empty, waiting for the birth of Jesus? Certainly shops shelves will be heavy with the panettone, lights will be strung along the streets and on the tall Christmas tree on the seafront, all the bars decorated, music playing. Christmas Eve is the day of celebration, with fish being the main ingredient for a very special lunch, all-day activity in the Cathedral with the evening candle-lit service for children, the youngest of whom will, back at home, carry the tiny figure of Jesus through each room ready to place Him in His crib as midnight strikes
New Year is welcomed in with more excellent food, music and dancing in the Piazza and the famous firework comet sent down from a mountain top to the Cathedral steps. At midnight there is always yet another stupendous Amalfi firework displays, for which people leave their hotels, dining rooms or restaurants to watch from the beach. Many then go home, while the younger ones walk round to Atrani for more music and dancing in that delightful little piazza. The following morning now weary revellers stage a procession from the back of Amalfi down to the main Piazza, with traditional musical instruments and an elderly man carrying a young child, he being the Old Year and the child the New. Festivities are wound up with more music on the Cathedral steps and then life returns to normal.