Where to travel in Italy for the 1st week of January - including special Befana Events!

Milan - Lombardy

Milan is the Italian capital of fashion, a chaotic and worldly metropolis, home to two of the strongest football teams and the most impressive Cathedral. Just the offerings in culture, entertainment and nightlife will keep you very busy. On the occasion of the Epiphany, the Procession of the Three Kings (The Parade of the Magi - Corteo Dei Re Magi) is an annual event that takes place in Milan on the eve of the Epiphany. The parade in historical costumes features a procession of floats and costumed participants, and is one of the most popular events in the city. It starts from Piazza Duomo passes through Corso di Porta Ticinese and ends at the Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio, where the Magi offer gifts in front of the living nativity scene. According to tradition, this centuries-old Milanese tradition is based on an episode dating back to the fourth century, which sees the bishop Eustorgio transporting the remains of the three kings from Constantinople to Milano. Events aside, Milan always offers a lot: from the Duomo to the museums of the Castello Sforzesco or the Cenacolo Vinciano, from parks like Parco Sempione to shows at the Teatro Alla Scala: in short, it's impossible to get bored!

Venice - Veneto

The Venetian capital is an ideal destination for lovers of all-round holidays, where you can combine a day of culture with more "fun" activities, such as shopping or a walk around the lively city centre. Venice is the ideal city for lovers of art, craftsmanship and good food. Furthermore, if you leave in the first week of the month, Venice celebrates the epiphany with the Befane Regatta: 50 men dressed as befanes compete in a rowing race on the Grand Canal, with the finish line marked by a gigantic sock hanging on the Rialto Bridge! In January the climate is certainly not warm, nor dry, hence appropriate clothing is recommended; but you will face also less crowds during that time.

Urbino and Urbania - Marche

Urbino, the town features beautiful picturesque streets with traditional and historic monuments and buildings. But there is no shortage of entertainment for lovers of shopping and nightlife.  During the first week of January, for the Epiphany, Urbania, just 15 km away from Urbino features a number of festivities over the days of  4, 5 and 6 January with plenty of  events - the Festa della Befana di Urbania.  Not only does Urbania host the Befana house, where she lives all year round, complete with a post office box. The Befana festivities culminate with the acrobatic descent of the "old woman" from the bell tower of the town hall! 

Pisa, Lucca and Pistoia - Tuscany

A fabulous trip to Tuscany around the first week of January to Tuscany, combines the cities of Pisa, Lucca and Pistoia.  A guided tour of the Leaning Tower at Pisa and the most important squares of the city, such as Piazza Dei Miracoli,  is obviously a must. Let yourself be tempted by having lunch and dinner in the numerous restaurants offering exquisite local cuisine before walking through the alleys of beautiful Pisa: it will be a stay you will hardly forget. For Friday 6 January, there will be the return of the traditional Epiphany Dive - Tuffo di Befana in Marina di Pisa. 

Lucca, a charming city with its cobblestone streets and elegant shops, and restaurants and cafes. A destination for lovers of art and good food. On Tuesday 5 January there will be a video message of the Befana from Piazza San Francesco presented on the Live Love Lucca channel together with the Mayor Tambellini. During the day, the People's Committee of Piazza S. Francesco in collaboration with ANAPA safely donate socks and gifts to families in fragile situations.

Finally, if you are traveling for the Epiphany in Tuscany, don't forget to pass through Pistoia on January 6th: here you can watch the old lady descend from the bell tower in Piazza Duomo, flying over the square with a zipline loaded with sweets and candies to be distributed to adults and children!

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