When you think to Cinque Terre, Liguria or the Italian Riviera, you usually think about sea and summer but the Italian Riviera is a perfect destination to travel off season.

December in particular is a special month to discover authentic traditions and the real essence of this region.

Check out our tips about what you should not miss if you travel to Liguria in December.

CRIBS

The Santuario della Madonnetta crèche in Genoa

The Santuario della Madonnetta crèche in Genoa dating back to eighteen century and reproducing the old city

In Genoa there are many precious, historical crèches with ancient statues. Our preferred one is the Presepe della Madonnetta in the Madonnetta Sanctuary. It is composed of statues from the 17th and 18th centuries and it reproduces scenes of daily life that take place in the ancient Genoa. It is possible to recognize many places that you still can see today in the city historical center!

We love this place also because, to reach it, you will have the opportunity to discover the “vertical Genoa” taking the old Righi funicolare, an ancient funicular railway going up to the hills behind Genoa.

In Cinque Terre, in the village of Manarola, you’ll find a giant, bright crèche of lights. It has been completely created by Mario Andreoli, using recycled materials and more than 7000 lights. It’s something unique: more than 300 characters scattered all over the typical terraced hill.

CONFUEGO CEREMONY

The Confuego Cgristmas Ceremony ib Genoa

A trunk of laurel burning during the ancient Confuego ceremony in Genoa

On the last Saturday before Christmas in Genoa, it takes place the traditional ceremony of the Confeugo, an old tradition of the Republic of Genoa, dating back to the 14th century.

On the occasion of Christmas and the approaching new year, the city folk used to pay tribute to the Doge, the highest authority of the Republic, wishing good fortune with the gift of a trunk of laurel decorated with red and white ribbons. The trunk was burned and the burning ember was considered as a good luck charm.

You will be fascinated by this ancient tradition and by the historical parade starting from the old harbour.

ROMANENGO CANDIED FRUITS

Romanengo candied fruits

Romanengo candied fruits are still produced following the traditional recipes mixing the Arabic and French art of working sugar

In Genoa it isn’t Christmas if you don’t taste the famous and delicious Romanengo candied fruits.

Romanengo is an ancient confectionery dating back to the eighteen century. They still produce following the traditional recipes mixing the Arabic and French art of working sugar.

The bright windows of the ancient shop in Piazza Soziglia, in the heart of Genoa historical center, are something that light up your heart.

This is also a perfect place for your Christmas shopping. The refined Romanengo boxes, wrapped in the typical blue paper, will be a perfect and delicious souvenir from Genoa.

CHRISTMAS NIGHT IN SAN FRUTTUOSO ABBEY

San Fruttuoso Abbey near Portofino

San Fruttuoso abbey is an hidden pearl in Portofino Natural Park

This is a magic event! Imagine a medieval abbey right on a pebble beach immersed in the Portofino Natural Park. It is a place protected by FAI, The Italian National Trust, and it can be reached only by foot or by boat.

On Christmas night a special boat service will bring you to San Fruttuoso where it will take place a special Christmas mass with a famous local chorus.

TASTE THE NEW OIL IN THE WEST RIVIERA

Ligurian olive oil - the olive trees [ph. credits by pay no mind]

In December in the west part of the Italian Riviera you can walk among olive trees and taste the new oil just squeezed [ph. credits by pay no mind]

December is the perfect month to taste the new oil, just squeezed after the olive harvest.

The oil kingdom is the west Riviera between Albenga and Imperia. There’s a mild climate in this area and you can take walks among the olive grooves, visit quaint medieval villages and old oil mills where you will learn about producing oil and of course taste the famous Extra Vergin Olive Oil made with the local, small and delicate Taggiasca olive.

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