The Christmas Log, the Mercante in Chiana, the panforte and the cribs: 4 Christmas traditions in the Valdichiana Senese

Ancient popular traditions merge with the most recent for a magical Christmas

During Christmas time in the Valdichiana Senese the ancient popular traditions merge with the most recent and they relive in the numerous dinners with family and friends. o give you an idea of ​​the atmosphere, here there are four Christmas traditions of Valdichiana Senese between past and present.

The Christmas Log 

In the families of the Valdichiana Senese on December 24th it is traditional to light the fire with a large piece of trunk, precisely a log, that symbolize the warmth of the family. The log is left to burn throughout the Christmas period, from the Christmas eve to the Epiphany. The ashes and the remains of the stump then, once the holidays have passed, are used in various ways. The most common is to spread them in fields to favor the harvest. 

Card game: Mercante in Chiana 

Card games are a classic of Christmas everywhere, not only in the Valdichiana Senese. Once the lunches or dinners are over, the tables are transformed into game tables where friends and family gather together ready for the challenge. The most famous in the Valdichiana Senese are certainly the Mercante in Chiana.  Il Mercante in Chiana is the "Chianina" version of the Mercante in Fiera . Like the original, the Chianino one is also a lottery with two identical decks (back apart) of illustrated cards. The rules are the same: an indefinite number of players can participate in the auction for the purchase of the cards and, once all the cards are sold, the dealer - the Mercante - discovers those from the second deck until there is only one left (or three if decides to insert minor prizes) which will win the first prize. To make this version of the game unique are the cards and the illustrations: all personalized with expressions and characters typical of the Valdichiana Senese. You can buy it here.

The game of Panforte 

The game of Panforte is a widespread tradition in the southern part of Tuscany, from Amiata area, passing from the Val d’Orcia to the Valdichiana Senese. In fact, numerous tournaments are organized by local associations in the municipalities of the Valdichiana Senese or in a home version, within the families themselves. The rules of the panforte game are simple: throw the typical disc-shaped Christmas cake as far as possible on a wooden table without dropping it. The challenge to the game of panforte is open to both individuals and teams and we can confirm that, in certain cases, the competition really gets heated.

Christmas cribs and Christmas Markets: the occasion to discover the hamlet of the Valdichiana Senese

A trip to one of the villages of the Valdichiana Senese in the company of family or friends to discover the Christmas offer is a classic of the Christmas. For those who love the atmosphere of the Christmas markets you can choose until January 6 between Natale a Montepulciano (full program) and A Magical Christmas in Chianciano Terme (full program), the two Christmas villages of the Valdichiana Senese ideal for families and Christmas shopping. For those looking for a more authentic atmosphere, you can take advantage of the numerous crib exhibitions set up until January 6 in the villages of the Valdichiana Senese. In Sarteano awaits you "The country of the cribs - Il Paese dei Presepi”, where you can admire the historical cribs of the Contrade del Saracino and the private, but open to the public, collection of the Museum of the Nativity scenes of the world. In Sinalunga, on December 26th and 29th and January 6th, you can relive the atmosphere of the birth with the living nativity scene in the historic center streets. An opportunity to discover even the most hidden alleys and historical places that houses the village. In Torrita di Siena, however, every day from 10:00 to 22:00, you can admire the author's crib inside the Church of San Domenico. The work was created by a group of local artisans and artists: a classic work that moves towards contemporary meanings and symbols.