Turin Christmas tree

Turin Lights Up The Night For Christmas

It’s Christmas Time!

The Turin Christmas tree 2016

Christmas is come and gone but the lights linger on. Every year in Turin from the beginning of November to mid-January they hold the Luci d’Artista (Artist’s Lights).  They’re really spectacular!  Every year in Turin, Italy, they ask different artists to decorate various streets and squares in the centre of the city with lights.  It’s absolutely worth braving the cold to go and and look at them all. The most amazing is the enormous Christmas tree in Piazza Castello that does a flashing show to music every half hour.  Well, we saw it once, late at night when we were roaming the frozen streets, eating gelato (who does that?!), but when we took the kids back the next day to see the show, it didn’t happen and the tree resolutely stayed the same colour while the music played.  Maybe it was sick of John Lennon telling it that it is Christmas and asking what it has done. Not to worry, as we gave the kids roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate so, in a haze of food lust, they forgot that anything else was supposed to be happening.

Turin Christmas tree

The tree is made with thousands of LED lights.  There was a big sign up about all the details, which was moderately interesting, but all you have to know was that there are tons of lights and it was HUGE!  In the same square there was the giant lit-up advent calendar that you see below. Apparently before Christmas, one window was lit up each evening.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take my camera, so the photos are salvaged as best as they can be from my phone.  I hope it still gives you a bit of an idea what it is like.

Advent calendar, Turin, Italy

The street you see below is Via Garibaldi, one of the main shopping streets in the centre.  All that blackish mass you see below the lights are the heads of people.  So many of them!  We decided not to venture up there for fear of being squashed. Indeed the first sentence was absolutely true. “La cittá era piena di rumore” means “the city was full of noise”.  We tried to figure out if the sentences joined together to become a kind of poem, but I still haven’t figured it out.  It looks meaningful in a mysterious way though.

Turin Christmas lights, Italy

The large, luminous blue balls were easier to understand. They looked like snowballs to me.  My older son was convinced that they were decapitated snowman heads, which was a little less romantic, but still along the snow theme, I guess.

Turin Xmas lights, Italy

We chanced upon this quiet street that was garlanded with ice-creams of all different colours.  This was the street that forced us to go searching for a place to buy gelato, which ironically, was not on this street.  You can’t just show hundreds of ice-creams to someone and not expect them to want one!

Turin Christmas lights

The decoration of the birds holding red ribbons across the street is pretty cool.  This one is here every year.  There were many other streets and squares filled with lights that I didn’t manage to take decent photos of.  For example, all the way up the main road (via Po) that leads to Piazza Castello, there is a wonderful display of planets and stars.  The photos I took turned out horribly, so you’ll just have to imagine what that one was like.  If you are ever near Turin around the Christmas period, you must absolutely go and check out the lights!  I think it’s even worth going to Turin on purpose to see them. You can check out some of the other light displays put on during the Christmas period on the site Guida Torino.

Turin Christmas, Italy

Before I sign off, I want to say a special hello to Alice, one of my readers. While we were in Turin, my boys met Alice in a playground.  She heard them speaking English and came over to talk to them to find out where they were from (which is always a complicated story!).  Somehow, Italian Kiwi came up and the kids found out that she reads my blog!  I got to meet her the day after.  It was such a pleasure to chat to her!

By Lisa Watson