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Digital Subscriptions > Italia! > Dec 2018 > A WILD CHRISTMAS

A WILD CHRISTMAS

The terrifying costumed figures of Krampus paint South Tyrol red with their extravaganza. Marina Spironetti attends a traditional parade of the monsters in Castelrotto…

If your idea of a typical Italian Christmas involves getting dressed up as Babbo Natale for the fun of the little ones in the family, a visit to South Tyrol in December might come as something of a culture shock. The postcard-pretty Alpine town of Castelrotto – aka Kastelruth in German, as everything is strictly bilingual at this latitude – has just turned into a mini winter wonderland when I arrive there on a rather cold early December day. Visitors are welcomed by the endless temptations of objects and souvenirs sold in the little wooden chalets of the Christmas market, while the spirit is lifted with gingerbread biscuits and steaming hot cups of Glühwein, the local version of mulled wine.

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About Italia!

There’s a seasonal feel to the pages this month, kicking off with our Gift Guide, which is full to the brim with Italian treats and gifts for friends and family. We travel to Piedmont, where Turin takes Christmas lights to another level with sophisticated displays that will take your breath away; and on to Milan, where the city’s best cafés are wrapped up in Christmas cheer. To escape from it all, we discover the forgotten history of a quiet corner of Lazio that’s right off the beaten track, marvel at the extraordinary Krampus tradition, and attend a chestnut festival near Viterbo.