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Recipes, lights and cribs: Christmas time in the Sorrento Peninsula

December brings a very special atmosphere with it: at the beginning of the month in the Sorrento Peninsula you can already feel magical vibrations. The air is full of spices and sugary aromas, the streets get dressed with warm lights, churches and squares welcome sacred nativity scenes.

Such typical elements are clear signals of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations upcoming in towns and cities. A journey through the traditions, between faith and folklore, to be fully enjoyed walking through the towns of the Sorrento Peninsula.

 

Sorrentine food traditions

Christmas and religious holidays are probably the best thermometer to test the culinary traditions of a region. Indeed, often dining in Sorrento and the surrounding area, in this period, can differ so much from having a lunch in Naples or Positano. Despite the unique food wealth of the whole Campania, in fact, each town holds ancestral recipes and masters certain ingredients and spices.

In Sorrento the long-awaited Christmas lunch starts with local cheeses appetizers, in particular soft trecce and provolone del monaco, spicy. For first courses, you can choose between land or sea menus (or mix both of them). The maccarune "ncasciate is probably the most appreciated gluttony: a baked pasta rich in ingredients, true apotheosis of flavors (and calories!). On the sea side, you can taste spaghetti with clams from the Gulf of Naples, vermicelli with seafood or anchovies. Among the first and second courses, it is traditional to have some pan-fried broccoli, turnip pie or salads of reinforcement to get ready for the rest of the meal. Among the main dishes are stuffed turkey, capon or Neapolitan cod, very tasty.

To end the banquet as it should, you can’t miss the traditional desserts: from fried zeppole to strufoli dipped in honey, from chocolate mustacciuoli to the hard roccocò to be dived in marsala, vermouth or sparkling wine. At this point, between a game of cards and a bingo, sip a glass of limoncello, a must-have digestive in holiday time.

 

The nativity scenes of master craftsmen

In Christmas time, the Sorrento Peninsula is populated by nativity scenes created by Neapolitan masters, famous throughout the world for their art. Among the most suggestive are those set up in the church of the Santissima Annunziata in Vico Equense and that of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Lauro in Meta di Sorrento.

In the heart of Sorrento every year a masterpiece of the crib is relived: it is the scenography set up in Sedil Dominova. On the occasion of the Christmas festivities, the marvellous eighteenth-century frescoes adorning the only remaining noble seat in Campania welcome the "rock" created by the master Carmine Schisano, every year different from the years before. It is difficult to describe such an evocative show in words, the only way to do it is by admiring it with one's own eyes.

Another highly recommended crib is the live nativity scene in Casarlano, a hamlet of Sorrento. As many as 300 figures relive that special night of many millennia ago in the Bethlehem cave. The representation is staged by the locals and add a touch of mysticism to every corner of the village.

 

The illuminations of Sorrento

Between the end of November and January, Sorrento shines with festive lights: the illuminations of "M'illumino d'inverno" strongly marks the advent of Christmas. Every year the festival brings in the city a celebrative wind, which accompany adults and children for almost three months with a very rich calendar of activities.

Concerts by international music artists, theatre and dance performances, art and cinema events, food and wine tours, entertainment and folklore animate the squares and alleys, making this period of the year truly special in our land. A great occasion to combine a holiday in the Sorrento Peninsula with an immersion in the most authentic traditions.

 

Discover the program of "M'illumino d'inverno"

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