121213-nicoleBuongiorno a tutti! It’s Nicole here, back with another On Location Italian blog post! The festive season is fast approaching and here in Verona it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I have spent much of this week visiting i Mercatini di Natale (“the Christmas Markets”) which are situated just off one of the city’s main squares, Piazza delle Erbe. On one particular occasion, as I embraced the Christmas atmosphere (atomosfera natalizia) by enjoying some mulled wine (vin brulé) and roasted chestnuts (castagne), I could hear pipes being played in the background. It then dawned on me that I didn’t know the word for bagpipes in Italian. I thought that this would be a useful word for a Scotswoman to know and so I made a point of looking it up when I returned to my flat, discovering that “bagpipes” in Italian is cornamusa.

I have also come across a few handy expressions connected with Christmas this week. My Italian friend spoke of “having the Christmas spirit”, using the phrase avere lo spirito natalizio. She also explained to me that to say in Italian “to decorate the Christmas tree” you can use both fare l’albero di Natale or decorare l’albero di Natale.

All the Christmas festivities in Verona have brought back some fond memories of spending Christmas in Italy with my family a few years ago. Although quite young at the time, I still vividly remember watching il Presepio Vivente (“the Living Nativity”). The first Presepio Vivante was created by Saint Frances of Assisi in 1223 and has been organised by many cities throughout Italy ever since. As the name suggests, il Presepio Vivante involves the use of actual people and animals to represent a living nativity scene.

I hope to come across a Presepio Vivante during the festive period in Italy but for now I am enjoying i Mercatini di Natale – the perfect place “to buy Christmas presents” (fare i regali di Natale). Thank you for reading On Location Italian and I will be back soon! A presto!

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