December brings along all of its lights, colors and smells. All the Christmas markets that take place everywhere are the very sum of it. I think my favorite is the one at Follina. Every year the atmosphere here is magical. A little help is certainly given by the little town itself, wich still has some ancient buildings, full of history and of great artistic interest.
Follina is a small town situated in the very heart of the Treviso countryside (Veneto). Certainly its greatest attractions are the ancient abbey of Santa Maria and its famous cloister, built over the pre-existing Benedictine abbey by the Cistercian monks that settled in Follina in the middle of the XII century.
The cloister is a wonderful expression of the Romanesque style. Located on the south side of the church, as the Cistercian architecture required, was completed by the monks in 1268 as shown by the engraving on stone still visible the cloister itself. It constitutes a balanced and harmonious piece of architecture but, at the same time, the succession of the different columns gives an elegant effect of movement, enhanced by the great variety of geometric and phytomorphic patterns.
A monastery existed before the arrival of the Cistercians, who provided the basilica with the beautiful façade, which represents one of the best examples of Cistercian Gothic in Veneto. The Abbey is situated in a dominant position over the area and, as before, still represents a fundamental reference point not only to the residents but also to all tourists that every weekend come from far away to visit this place, so rich in history and so magical.
The Follina Christmas market is, as I said, my favorite one. In fact it is quite small and cozy and gives a unique atmosphere to the town. The various artisans provide, with their marvelous creations, a great choice of Christmas presents. This is the aspect that I appreciate more: every creation is of great quality and handmade.
Not less relevant is the presence of a lovely antiquities shop, placed in the main square of the town, always full of unique household items. During Christmas time it reaches the peak of its beauty, giving real entertainment to everyone with its windows full of bright sparkly and colorful things. The items they sell maybe, I have to say, tend to be a little more expensive, but just them being displayed is enough for the benefit of the sight.
After such a long but beautiful day, wonderfully spent between a small Christmas gift and a warming hot coffee, it’s a pleasure to arrive home and fix the brand new decorations, before relaxing in a comfortable armchair, reading a book or simply enjoying the festive atmosphere.
*Pics by Antonio and me*