Today was the first day of our most magical event at la Villa – La Valle di Babbo Natale. The event is organized by a group of young volunteers who work for many months to set up such a beautiful weekend.
The most magical part for the children is Father Christmas’s grotto, which is set up in the ancient, partly underground kitchen of Villa Webb.
Villa Webb is an historic Villa, which hosted the poet Shelley during his stay in Bagni di Lucca. Inside the villa the main hall is converted into a winter wonderland. The children can write a letter, visit Father Christmas’s bedroom (where a log fire burns and a toy train circles the Christmas tree in the corner), decorate gingerbread men, and finally meet Father Christmas in his grotto. We are quite sure, by the way, that this really is THE Father Christmas, not merely somebody dressed up, as you might find at lesser events.
In addition to the splendid decorations at Villa Webb, this year visitors could enjoy a very rich buffet of sandwiches, a traditional doughnut-like pastry which you could dip in hot chocolate, home made cakes, and a wonderful vin brule’ (mulled wine). We loved our sandwiches with grilled sausages and onions!
At Bagno alla Villa (the part of the town above the center, with beautiful villas and great views) there were several stands with nice gifts and Christmas presents. We absolutely adored the make-up girl and the magician! The magic was all around and we all felt like children again. What more could anyone ask?
We really appreciated all the stands and their homemade Christmas presents. As a matter of fact we bought a very nice piece of jewellery at one of the stands.
The party continued down at la Villa, along the main street of the village, Viale Umberto. Children were given a “passport”, a paper that invited you to visit every shop in the village, to stamp the passport and receive a nice gift. Our children loved all of their nice presents, but an outstanding experience was making cookies at the pub ‘La Lira’. The result was absolutely astounding! And each child carried home a bag of cookies that they had made themselves.
In front of the Circolo dei Forestieri the fountain is also nicely decorated for Christmas.
And here is our magical Valley of Father Christmas, nestled amongst mountains and dotted with beautiful historic villas – what great setting for Father Christmas’s real house!