La Befana

In Italian folklore Befana is portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick.  She visits children all over the world on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany to fill their socks with a sweet (dolce) if they have behaved well (buona figura) or good piece of onion if they have been bad (brutta figura).  Befana enters each house through the chimney and, being a good housekeeper, uses her broom to sweep up a bit before she leaves.  Many of the past year’s problems are swept away during this cleaning.  Children who are wise (furbi) leave a glass of wine (vino) and a bite to eat (it is said she loves cardoons) to nibble on just to make sure she does not fly over without stopping in.   Befana’s origins date to the time when she was approached by the biblical Magi (Three Wise Men) soon after the birth of the Infant Jesus.  They had become lost when, after seeing His star in the sky, they set out to bring gifts to the Savior.  The Befana didn’t know the exact location but pointed them towards Bethlehem and gave them a place to sleep in her tidy house.  Just prior to departing, the Magi asked her to accompany them on the journey to find the baby Jesus.  But Befana chose to stay behind as it had been a very bad year and many problems needed to be swept away.  Soon after their departure Befana had a change of heart and went out to catch up with the Magi.  Her efforts were in vain and, on the 6th of January, the Epiphany took place in her absence.  To this day Befana searches the world over for the Our Lord.  During her endless wandering she stops along the way to leave treats for all good children to enjoy.   In recognition of the Befana Italian parents and grandparents (nonni) give presents and chant a rhyme to their young loved ones on Epiphany day.  Here are the Abruzzo dialect, Italian and English versions:     

La  Befan Ve’ la nott
Te’ li scarp tutt rott
Lu cappell a la roman
Viv viv viv la Befan !
La Befana viene di notte
Con le scarpe tutte rotte
Col cappello alla romana
Viva, Viva, Viva la Befana!
The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all tattered and torn
Wearing a hat in the Roman style 
Long live the Befana!


Da Stefano Ulissi


Aly’s Christmas Two

This is my favorite room in the house, I love to cuddle in the sofa with a cup of hot cocoa and watch the snow fall.
This year’s tree is garden inspired, complete with vintage water cans and all.
In order to make room for the larger tree in the family room I had to move this little old farm table into the sitting room, but you can still see my Italian nesting tables peeking through the inside … I enjoy pairing rustic and refine!
My Italian Santa portrait, or is it a sailor? …hum!
I like displaying sentimental pieces this time of the year, like this little tea set that Andy brought back from the Hanoi Hilton inVietnam, I do not tired of telling their tales.
Sweet Rex!

 17′ tree was a bit challenging, but worth it!

 Every year each member of the family receives a special mouth blown ornament in their stockings that represents and event that happened during the year. It is so much fun to unwrap them the following year and re-tell the stories.   


Silver and Gold


fire place

Little presents are every where, but under the tree. Are they real or not … they will soon find out.
I love the simplicity of this over sized stucco nativity set. 
Like I said, “it is all in the details”  
The Outdoors get a touch of Christmas too.
We still have two more levels to explore so Stay Tune.
For more photos and inspiration visit Shand’s Blog