Urbania – the Befana’s home

In the night she comes about, and her shoes are all worn out…

Urbania, in ancient times called Casteldurante, lies inside a flat area in the Metauro valley surrounded by the green hills of the Pesaro hinterland. Its artistic, cultural and architectural context is very prestigious: just think of the Ducal Palace, the Bramante Theatre, St. Christopher’s Cathedral, the Dioceses Museum, the Barco Ducale (the ducal hunt reservation) and the Mums Graveyard. The town is famous in Europe because of its traditional china, made since the middle ages by skilled potters and produced, nowadays, in local artisan workshops. Nature, here, offers such e rich itinerary as a tour in the Bosco dei Folletti (the Wood of Elves). Gastronomy stands by old traditions and is tasty and genuine. Cordiality and hospitality of residents are a perfect frame to make guests feel like they are at home.

Against such a background stands the National Befana Celebration. It involves the whole family in every house and is dedicated to a folk character, an old lady who in the night of January 6 flies on a broomstick and brings to children socks filled with toffees and presents. According to tradition, the mayor inaugurates the festival by offering her the keys of the city, and making her its first citizen for five days a year. The whole city, which indeed turns into “the city of toys”, is involved in the organization of this celebration. More than 4000 socks hang in the roads of the city centre, decorations and lightings are placed on arcades, Befanas are everywhere, shop glasses are expressly set up for the occasion, markets, music and shows are put in place. A special attraction for children is an area inside the City Hall designated as the Befana’s residence. Here the lovely granny shows her little guests how coal is made and how the loom works, and tells them fantastic or anecdotic stories concerning the surrounding territory. Spectacular, furthermore, are the descent of Befanas from the City Hall Bell Tower, the 50 metres long sock handmade by resident women and the love scarf. And there are didactic workshops, enogastronomic stands, traditional games and many other attractions, which to the cheerfulness of the celebration add the promotion of this very special territory.