Candele in Candelara isn’t the usual Christmas market, sure it is, also, but the main character is the candle, from which comes the name of the village. Next to the classical Christmas markets, you’ll see thousand candles with very strange colours, shapes and parfumes, brainchild of chandlers masters. You’ll also find all objects linked to the candle theme such as candle holders, incenses and extinguishers. It’s a completely riot of colours, lights and parfumes!
Candelara was for us the first step of our Christmas itinerary lasted two days at the beginning of December 2017: the next morning we visited the town of Pesaro, and in the afternoon, on the way home, we stopped to see the floating Nativity scene in Cesenatico – Porto Canale, about which I’ll talk in another post.
- Departure from Lecco to Pesaro – about 400 km – a bit more than 4 hours travel by bus.
- Distance from Pesaro to Cesenatico: about 70 km, 1 hour
You can see the candle theme also along the streets of the village, with some silhouettes made of iron and decorated with a lot of small candles. It’s in fact the evening the most magical moment, because all these little flames light up the streets, letting you enjoy a medieval atmosphere, out of time!
Candelara isn’t very big, but it’s peculiar during Christmas time: along the main street, and in other points of the village, you’ll find the classical little wooden houses with exhibitors coming from all parts of Italy to show their handcraft and artistic products. There are also areas reserved to the typical local products, with something sweet and saulted for children. The totality of the defence system, such as the doors and the walls of the castle, are the frame of this rare and original picture.
The village has ancient origins and develop itself around the castle dated to the XI century: very beautiful and impressive is the access door and the clock tower above it. The bridge that permits the access is now made of bricks, but in the past was a classical wooden drawbridge. If you look around, you have an amazing view over the hills of that region, that give you an explosion of colours at sunset, thanks to the warm light wrapping around them.
Also children can have their fun here: there’s the ever green “Santa Claus garage”, where they can create Christmas objects with several materials given to them.
Along the streets they could meet the typical chracters of Christmas tradition like pipers and others, who are alwalys in search of some children to take memory pictures (free). Inside “Santa Claus house” they can stay with the most ancient Dad of the world, or if they feel too old for that, they could see live how to prepare candles from beeswax, like in the Middle Age: Giada could realize one for herself thanks to the help of a master!
However the main reason why we chose this village was that every afternoon, for 15 minuts, the artificial lights are completely switched off to leave space to thousand little lighted flames: yes, it is! The village will live at the warm and reassuring light of the candles creating a unique and suggestive atmosphere. We knew that at the feet of the castle we could have taken part to a brief lights show, during which a lot of little lanterns should have blown in the sky: strong delusion! The show was quite miserable and was even difficult to take photos because it was too dark, and the lantern were just similar to many pieces of paper. I liked really everything of Candelara but not this part: disappointing for everyone!
However the village lighted just by candles is very suggestive: lights are switched off twice during the afternoon, at 17:30 and at 18:30.
Candelara was a pleasant discover for the peculiarity of its Christmas markets, because it’s very family friendly but also for its ancient history and its hilly landscape!
SOME USEFUL INFO
- To enter the village a little payment is required: Euro 2 until 13:00, while Euro 3 after 13:00 (prices 2018); free for guys until 12.
- In my opinion it should be better to arrive early (first afternoon) to pay something less, and also because of the little dimensions of the village: if you want to enjoy the market and the various activities, better to be on time.
- When the lights go out, the crowd is out of control: if you have little children I suggest you not to go down to the little square (photo above), but to remain at a certain distance . This aspect is what I didn’t like in Candelara!
- Car parks are not easy to find: we were with an organized trip, and weren’t the only ones! Generally are a lot of buses parked along the border of the streets, before entering the village, that take away space: here another reason why you should arrive early. The bus was the ideal solution for us, not to think to the icy roads, to the risk of snow and to the car parks. If you prefer, there are little free buses that leave every 30 minutes from the town of Pesaro and from its car parks to reach the village; the same from Candelara to Pesaro. The service goes from about 10:00 to 22:00.
- To have lunch there are two big heated rooms where some volunteers will prepare delicious local food (here the menu), while to keep warm during the cold afternoon, there’s a bar at the beginning of the village.
- I think that the best starting point to visit the village, if you don’t live near, is Pesaro. We stayed at Hotel Perticari – Viale Zara 67, that has a super tasty and rich cuisine, has also a subterranean garage where you could leave your car. Should it be busy, they have also outside garages in the surroundings. Rooms are comfortable even if minimal; the staff friendly. The hotel overlooks the sea from where we could enjoy an amazing sunrise!
- For further info about “Candele a Candelara 2018” with opening days and hours, and the news of this year 2018, go the the official site.
OTHER GEMS TO VISIT BEYOND THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS
- Visit to the Pieve di Santo Stefano, centre of the religious life of the village. It has very ancient origins dated back to the VI-VII century, that is it was built even before the castle of Candelara. Inside there are frescoes dated XV century.
- Visit to Villa Berloni built on a military watchtower; now there’s nothing left. It was then transformed into a villa for holidays from the Abati Olivieri family.
- Visit to Museo del Telaio e del ricamo to discover the ancient work processing of the tissue with the loom.
- The candle Museum is coming next, and will be hosted by the noble floor of the former Town Hall of Candelara. It’ll be the first public museum of the candle in Italy. It’ll be used the candle lights instead of the electric ones, and it’ll be shown the processes to realize a candle. In the first room they’ll talk about the beeswax, in the second of the candle in the Middle Age, in the third of the colours and scents of the candle, with a look on the candle of nowadays. It won’t be a static museum, but there’ll be conferences and workshops for children. I think it could be very very interesting!
Some of these are guided visits: everyone costs 1 Euro per person, and the little train to compete the path, always 1 Euro. We couldn’t visit all places because of luck of time, but if you are interested and want to know more about it, I’ll leave you the link where you can see which visits are guided and which not, and if necessary book them through a contact.
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In the last years I follow what Dalai Lama says:” At least once a year go to a place you’ve never been before”.
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