Christmas in Northern Lazio’s “V” towns

December 22, 2014 / Local Interest
vall tree entrance
Vallerano Entrance

When  commercialism, traffic and gaudy Chinese lights begin to blight your image of what Christmas in Italy should be like, it’s time to return to the past by visiting one of Italy’s tiny “V” towns.

vall up to church
Stairs lead up to the medieval center of Vallerano

By some  quirk of linguistics  Northern Lazio has numerous  towns beginning with the letter “V”. With the provincial capital Viterbo in the center, the  other “V” towns  are located within a radius of 30 kilometres: Vignanello, Valentano, Vetralla,  Vasanello, Vitorchiano and  Vallerano.

Villa San Giovanni in Tuscia, listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the Italian town with the longest name is also the smallest of the “V” towns with only 1,300 inhabitants.

Although a map of Italy may show them clustered together, each town has its own  unique style, history and personality making them each worthy of a visit.

valler window pres

Vallerano sits among the Cimini hills and gorges and is known for its hazelnuts, wine production and lively summer festivals. The symbolic lily of the noble Farnese family adorns towers, fountains and the ancient walls that have kept the town’s medieval flavor in – and the cars out.

vall clsup fount
Fountain with Farnese lilies

For Christmas the décor is traditional and low key with piped music enticing visitors to stroll along  narrow Via Cellere and Via Nanino where doorways, piazzas and cantine are decorated with Christmas nativity scenes.

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Luciano’s doll house furniture.
vall shot glasses
Wooden designs by Federica Mancini and Federico Caserta
vall stuff dogs
Paola’s handmade soft toys

During the weekends leading up to Christmas, the main piazza is taken over by stands selling traditional holiday food, handmade gifts and a colorful train that circles through the town.

vall trenino
vall red door
vall gold door

For more about the “V“ towns of Northern Lazio and how Christmas is celebrated here, see my website and blog.

vall santa door

Mary Jane Cryan

by Mary Jane Cryan

Mary Jane is a historian, cruise lecturer, author and publisher of books on Italian history and central Italy has been residing in Italy for half a century.

See her award winning website and weekly blog posts on 50YearsInItaly for more about central Italy and to order books directly from the author.

2 Responses to “Christmas in Northern Lazio’s “V” towns”

  1. Lovely piece! My nonno came from a small village just outside Viterbo and it is on my bucket list. Meanwhile, I just bought a little apartment in Sulmona, so I’ll be spending a lot of time there, hopefully! Buon Natale!

    • Mary Jane Cryan

      Thank you for the comment Linda. What was the village your nonno came from ? I know Sulmona, famous for its confetti. Have you been to Fonte d’Amore there ?


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