The Arrival of Befana
This is a traditional Italian celebration for children. An ugly, but kind old woman called ‘Befana’ visits each child on the 5th January during the night. If the child has been good, she leaves a stocking (sock) full of sweets, which the children open on 6th January when they wake up. However, if the children have been naughty during the year, she leaves a stocking full of coal!
From 27th December to 6th January 2019
Befana arrives in Father Christmas’s village, Piazza Municipale.
Sunday 30th December & Saturday 5th January at 4 p.m.
Children can draw and help ‘sew’ a dress for Befana.
Friday 4th January at 9 p.m.
Sala Estense theatre (Piazza Municipale)
‘La Sordità dello Scrivano’- a play by La Viper theatre company.
Sunday 6th January at 4 p.m.
Dancing and entertainment in the piazza until the arrival of Befana at 5.30 p.m. A bonfire will be lit at 6 p.m. in Piazza Trento Trieste.
“Befano dello Sport”
Saturday 5th January
Palazzetto dello Sport at 8 p.m.
This charity event provides sport and entertainment for children and includes special guest appearances by some of Ferrara’s very own sporting personalities and a stocking from Befana for each child. You are asked to give a donation at the entrance and the money which is raised from this event will be given to charity.
What’s on at Castello Estense:
Nativities Around the World Exhibition
Until 6th January 2019
Sala Alfonso, Castello Estense, Largo Castello 1
9.30 – 12.30 / 3 – 7 p.m.
Open on 1st January from 3 p.m. – 6.30 p.m.
This is a really lovely exhibition of nativity scenes from all over the world for you to admire. Admission is free.
Estense Castle January Events
Tuesday 1st January
The Castle will be open from 1.30 p.m. – 6.30 p.m. with guided tours on the hour (2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. & 5 p.m.) Don’t forget to visit the Lion’s Tower which is open until 5.30 p.m.
At 3. 30 p.m. – a guided tour of the Castle with actors who will tell the story of Ariosto’s life and some of the characters from Orlando Furioso.
Friday 4th January
The Castle will be open for guided tours from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with a special opportunity to admire some of Ferrara’s sacred paintings.
‘Estensi per tutto l’anno’
At 3.30 p.m. there will be an exciting tour of the castle for families, with children aged between 5 and 10, who will help create a calendar with famous members of the Estense family.
‘L’arte del banchetto alla corte degli Estensi’
At 4 p.m. there is another tour which takes a look at the art of Renaissance banquets, the kitchens, the cooks and favourite recipes used during the reign of the Estense family. This event ends with an aperitif in the Castle’s café.
Sunday 6th January
The Castle will be open from 9.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m. with guided tours at 11 a.m., midday, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Dolci, caramelle e preziose leccornie (Sweets!)
At 4 p.m. a tour for families, with children aged between 5 and 10, to celebrate the arrival of Befana.
31st December 2 p.m. – 2 a.m.
1st January 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
2nd – 6th January 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
12th & 13th, 19th & 20th January 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Via della Fiera, 11 Ferrara Fiere e congressi
If you are fed up with the cold weather and are not sure what to do with the children, why not visit this enormous indoor theme park. Look out for tickets with discounts on admission and rides. You can often find these in toy shops and at Ipercoop or go on to the website: www.winterwonderlanditalia.com
Ice-Skating in Ferrara
Giardini delle Duchesse (at the start of Via Garibaldi)
This is your last chance to go ice-skating in Ferrara as the rink closes on 13th January.
Monday – Friday 10 a.m. -1 p.m., 2.30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m., 9 p.m. – 11.30 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays (open at the same times as above, but each person can skate for up to 1 hour only)
Theatre for the family
Sala Estense, Piazza Municipale
Tickets are on sale on the door from 3 p.m. (5 euro for children, 6 euro for adults)
Wednesday 2nd January at 4 p.m.
‘Nico cerca un amico’ – Il Baule Volante theatre company
Suitable for children aged 3 – 8
Friday 4th January at 4 p.m.
‘L’Acciarino magico’ – Il Baule Volante theatre company
Suitable for children aged 6 – 11
Theatre for Children – ‘Se una Domenica d’inverno un bambino…’
Teatro Boldini – Via Previati, 18
The performances start at 3.30 p.m. Tickets can be bought on the day at the entrance to the theatre from 2.30 p.m. and cost 6 euro.
13th January – Pollicino
27th January – Biancaneve, la Vera Storia
10th February – Cappuccetto Rosso
Swan Lake – Russian ballet
Piazza Trento Trieste
9th January, at 9 p.m.
Corso Martiri della Libertà, 5
Nabucco – Giuseppe Verdi
11th January at 8 p.m.
13th January at 4 p.m.
Turandot – Giacomo Puccini
29th January at 8 p.m.
Testaperaria – Book Shop
Via de Romei, 19
Monday 7th January at 5 p.m.
‘Cos’ha perso la Befana?’ – (‘What has Befana lost?’)
Storytime at the book shop and a cooking workshop held at the bar next door.
Suitable for children aged 5 – 10
Cost: 5 euro
Please book: 0532 202823
‘Il Leone e la Lepre’ – a story from Sri Lanka
Suitable for children aged 6 +
Cost: 7 euro
Please book: 0532 202823
Courbet e la Natura
Palazzo dei Diamanti
A last opportunity to visit the exhibition which is open until 6th January (inclusive). See the special opening times below.
Open every day from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Open also on 1st & 6th January
Open on 31st December until 11.30 p.m.
Open on 4th & 5th January until 10.30 p.m.
(The ticket office closes half an hour before closing times)
What’s on in Comacchio:
Saturday 5th January
Competition and Parade of the ugliest Befane!
Ponte dei Trepponti at 3.30 p.m.
If you would like to enrol, you can do so from 3 p.m. onwards
La Tampla’ – Traditional Befane Parade
Historical centre at 4 p.m.
This is a traditional celebration where a parade of ‘Befane’ (lots and lots) navigate the canals of Comacchio. It ends with an award ceremony for the best dressed Befana.
Arts and Crafts for children
Antica Pescheria at 5 p.m.
Piazza della Rimembranza, 4.30 p.m. – 8.30 p.m.
Entertainment for children with music and sweets.
Sunday 6th January
Mercatino della Befana
From 9.30 a.m. onwards
Piazza Folegatti, historical city centre
A second-hand and crafts market.
Manifattura dei Marinati
10 a.m. – 12.30
Befana arrives and hands out stocking to all the children
The Firemen’s Befana!
Torre dell’Orologio (clock tower), Historical Centre, from 11 a.m.
Befana will climb down the clock tower and join the children awaiting her arrival. She will then give out sweets to them.
At 3 p.m. Befana will also give out stockings to the children in the historical city centre
From 4 p.m. Via Edgardo Fogli – hot drinks and sweets for everyone
From 5 p.m. Trepponti, Piazza Luca Danese – A snack from Befana
From 6 p.m. Trepponti, Piazza Luca Danese – Farewell to Befana with music, dancing and fireworks along the canals
What’s on in Venice
Befana Rowing Race
Starting from Palazzo Balbi at 11 a.m. to the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal
To celebrate the epiphany there is a very famous and fun boat race in which hundreds of rowers dress-up as Befana and row along the Grand Canal. An enormous sock at the Rialto bridge marks the finish line.