After a tough year with more than 60,000 deaths and huge financial losses for Italian families and businesses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this Christmas season more than ever Italians are needing light and hope.
Authorities across the country have come up with their answer for Christmas by lighting up special trees.
On the eve of the Immaculate Conception, May 7, Gubbio, in the Umbrian region of central Italy, lit up the world’s largest Christmas tree on the slopes of Mount Igino, overlooking the medieval town.
The Christmas tree, which is traditionally lit every year since 1981, is over 750 meters high and is built in honour of the town’s patron saint, Saint Ubaldo. Its more than 700 multi-coloured lights and star on top of the tree will remain lit from dusk to late into the night at least until Epiphany.
Residents and visitors can adopt a light for charity and this year’s funds will go to the international humanitarian organization Save the Children.
Rome mayor Virginia Raggi switched on the 100,000 led lights on the city's Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia on Tuesday evening.
Christmas lights were also lit on the main shopping thoroughfare, Via del Corso, and light shows illuminate the three historic fountains of the central Piazza Navona, where the Christmas marked has had to be cancelled because of Covid-19.
The prize for the most incredible display of Christmas trees this year goes to the northern Italian city of Milan, particularly hard hit by the pandemic, which has wanted to give extra light to its streets and squares for the joy of its residents. Special tree installations were created by sponsors who adhered to a project titled
“The Christmas of Trees”, thought up by Marco Balich, known for his opening and closing ceremonies at Olympic Games. More than 20 artistic and very creative trees were lit on the day of Saint Ambroge this week, the city’s patron saint.
“This year Milan will be looked at by the rest of the world also be the way it has chosen to celebrate Christmas. “The Christmas of Trees” is a demonstration of its ability to react with a vision for all to participate that is sustainable and creative”, said Balich.
“Creativity represents the soul and future of the city, along with fashion and design, and in these particular times it has a responsibility to create moments of joy for all those who have chosen to live in Milan”, he added.
In Milan’s central Duomo Square, The Tree of Gift, an invitation to remember the importance of giving, ha been sponsored by Coca-Cola which is working with the Food Bank to help those most in need and gather food products for at least two million meals.
“Thanks to this project, characterized by suggestive installations carrying universal messages including hope, sustainability and solidarity, Milan lights up for Christmas, dressed for a feast that is even more important in such a difficult year and to reiterate to the world the extraordinary attractiveness of our city, which will continue to be among the cities most aspired to as an international tourism destination”.