Winter In A Mountain Community
Christmas time in the Majella Mountain National Park.
Winter in these parts doesn't really start until December. Until then, the days are pretty mild and damp. But, a few weeks before Christmas, the air gets fresh and crisp when the sun goes down.
The new log burner was installed in the autumn, and now evenings are toasty affairs. Darkness arrives around 4 pm, and the smell of the hot wood fire makes the house smell glorious.
Life here slows down a lot. The weekends and Wednesday's are the busiest times, hunters whizz past the house searching for wild boar.....if only they'd stop and be around either later in the day or early in the morning, they would be inundated with prey. Thankfully, there are few animals around, and the ones that are, are frightened off by all the noise.
One of the things I particularly love about the festive season here is that Christmas shopping only really starts in December and the local village always has a presepe display.....What's a presepe?
A presepe is an Italian nativity scene.
Walk through the narrow streets, and you come across displays made by local groups to depict the birth of Jesus. Some are traditional, some modern, but the whole village comes out to passeggiata and vote for their favourite.
As you would expect, these festive evenings are popular affairs. The streets feature stalls selling traditional Christmas gifts, warm mulled wine and warm food that fills the belly. People chat and stop to listen to music from the local band. It really is a treat before the real cold sets arrives.