May be it's for the Christmas atmosphere prevailing or for the evocative show created by burning candles in the dark, but certainly Candles in Candelarais my preferred event during winter time! This ancient medieval borgo set on a hilltop in the territory of Pesaro, in Le Marche region is the setting of the first market in Italy dedicated to candles, rich in shows, entertainment and specialties of the local cuisine. Peak of those days of celebration is the planned lights out, which gives its way to thousands of small flames.
The history of Candelara is linked to candles after which this town is named. The event begins in the last weekends of November till the first weekend of December, in the occasion of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The market takes place in the whole centre of this charming borgo and out of its walls with more than sixty wooden houses where handicrafts of all kinds are exposed. Candles of any colour and shape are obviously the protagonists, but you'll find also many hand made products, Christmas-themed objects and also food and drinks.
For the kids, there's the puppets cart, stilters, elves playing music and jugglers. And to remind you that Christmas is around the corner, you'll find the Street of the Nativity, with wrought iron sculptures representing the characters of the Nativity and adorned with hundreds of candles; then, the Snowy Street, where artificial snow is sprayed and Santa's workshop, with activities for children that can also meet and take pictures with Santa Claus! Not one, but 35 Santas make up the marching band that enliven the streets. Among the various activities organised, it is also possible to take part in the making of beeswax candles, as in the Middle Ages. The event has an entry ticked of euro 2,50, except children under 12 years old.
In the candlelight
The thing that I'm most excited about is the cut of artificial lighting. Believe it or not, every day the town gets literally dark and is lit only by candles! There are two switching off, the first at 17,30 and the second at 18,30, each one lasting 15 minutes. I strongly recommend you to stop and take part to one of the two shows, you'll see that it'll be worth the cold wait! To keep you warm, you can always opt for a glass of mulled wine or a hot chocolate!
Good food of Le Marche tradition
In addition to the food and drink stands along the market, you'll find two big heated facilities where you can eat typical dishes such as the polenta (cornmeal mush) with mushrooms, salted codfish with potatoes, grilled meat, piadina (kind of flat bread), fried olives, apple pancakes, roasted chestnuts and young wine at will.
Restaurants in the historic centre also take part in this event offering special candlelight menus!
Candelara is a hamlet of Pesaro and is well linked to the city through a bus service that during the event operates trips every 20-30 minutes; this service is completely free. If you love travelling by camper, you'll find apposite parking spaces. As for clothes, I suggest not to forget your scarf, gloves and hat...even if not all winters are so cold, up in the hills temperatures usually get lower! If the candle show is what interests you the most, then you could first have a tour of the cities of Pesaro and Fano, at few km from each other, so you'll arrive in Candelara before the lights out late in the afternoon. Personally I think that Candele a Candelara is the perfect occasion to start thinking about the first Christmas gifts, those meant to be authentic and original. That's why I prefer the first weekends of November, that are more quiet and less crowded that those ones of the Immaculate Conception.