A Christmas Treat: Fierucola dell’Immacolata

Home baked Italian Christmas bread

Fri. December 8 – Sun. 10: FIERUCOLA DELL’IMMACOLATA. Piazza SS. Annunziata, 9 am – 7 pm.

Now that December is here, it is finally the time to begin our Christmas count down. While people are rushing around searching for a special and alternative gift, the traditional Fierucola dell’Immacolata Market could provide the perfect idea.

Making its yearly appearance is the ‘Fierucola’ with hand-made crafts of home and Christmas decorations, accessories, ceramics, leather shoes and soaps among much more. There will also be plenty of homemade foods promising to satisfy hungry shoppers.

FOOD & DRINK

With the winter season approaching, we all search for warming, home comfort foods. Adhering to this, aspects of small-scale, sustainable farming will be exhibited at the market with breads and pastas made with hearty grains, flour and wheat from regional farms. Using organic ingredients and seasonal fruit and veg, sellers will produce a clean and fresh dish, non-chemically processed.

Tempting cheeses will peak the curiosity of passers-by, with local goat and cow varieties with a degree of strong to mild types; Gorgonzola to Pecorino with even different texture variations; Brie and Parmesan.

Honey and jam in cute, re-usable pots, olive oils and regional red and white wines are just some of the other delicacies that can be purchased as either a treat or a present at Christmas.

BEAUTY SECTION

Beeswax candles and soap products made from natural sources will demonstrate the benefits of organic beauty while still providing a luscious, strong scent.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Long-lasting, re-usable decorations for the tree are sometimes hard to come by. With the majority of us buying new tree accessories every year, it seems appropriate to find an alternative, sustainable solution. At the Fierucola Market, artisans hand-make their quality ornamentss, other tree pieces and Christmas ornaments with the option of personalisation, allowing one to personally design the family Christmas tree.

A SPECIAL GIFT FOR THE LITTLE ONES

Tired of spending money on manufactured dolls that just get left in an already overflowing toy box? The market offers hand-knitted rag dolls, unique and different from all commercial toys.

HOME DECORATIONS

Craftspeople offer and-woven and knitted items, from fabrics for rugs and blankets to other essentials to keep you warm this winter.

CLOTHING ACCESSORIES

Artisan scarves made from silk, jumpers and hats will showcase the farmer-weavers’ intrinsic skills and abilities.

Real leather shoes and boots will provide comfy yet stylish footwear for both men and women.

CERAMICS

Craftsmen will be offer their ceramic bowls and other kitchen amenities delicately decorated with paint.

In addition there will also be a separate section offering olive salad bowls hand-carved by the experts.

THE HISTORY OF THE FIERUCOLA

The Fierucola shares a long history with Florence, so long that Florentines no longer remember the date of when it all began. It was somewhat a tradition however on the eve of the Virgin Mary’s birth, September 7 that farmers would venture to SS. Annunziata from the outskirt villages to celebrate women and motherhood, in the name of Mary.

The whole community would gather in the church and cloister, singing, praying, dancing and playing music. The following day, the farmers would bring their homemade crafts to the square where they would then sell fabrics, homegrown vegetables, and wood oven bread among other items.

Florentines could not pass up the opportunity to try and ridicule the farmers, making light of what they had to offer; in this way they became known as “Fierucolone,” from which now comes the Fierucola Market. The women farmers carried torches, which they called “Rificolone,” and were mocked by the city residents.   From this came the chant “Ona, ona, ona! Quant’è bella la Rificolona!” (Hey, hey, hey! How pretty is the Rificolona!) and the Florentine Paper Lantern Festival of the same name, celebrated annually on September 8. The monthly Rificolona markets follow the same tradition. (karen gee)