Christmas Card from Venice: The Quietest Night of the Year

Seasons Greetings from Venice: Natale 2013
Tonight 24 December is the "quietest Night of the Year in Venice, but the last few days have seen some "Christmas atmosphere" in town: The "liveliest" time for Christmas in Venice is actually the four days preceding Christmas eve: Lights became brighter, as more glittering decorations are put on show in time for Christmas (though not all lights went up as was planned in the Mercerie this year).
Festive colors, including a red carpet, is conveying the typical Christmas color of Venice: red ..
... but also the restaurants put out winter vegetable baskets, filled not only with local but also tropical fruits that we love to eat here for Christmas,  adorned with fir twigs
... but also with Stella di Natale
Walking around town amidst the Christmas lights is still dreamy and if you passed through the streets at night, it was not really calm until late as many people, including Venetians, took their evening strolls on the past weekend.
In Venice this year, Christmas trees have been adorned with silver candles: There is one at the Piazza (Piazzetta Leoncini) as there is all years, but have you noticed there is another one located on the terrace of Hotel Monaco e Grand Canal too, imagine what this is like when the lights are on at night .. 
Christmas tree, Terraces of Hotel Monaco e Grand Canal
The Christmas tree next to Basilica di San Marco, and an everpresent Stella di Natale plant
 All around town, streets are adorned with Stella di Natale (euphorbia) plants:
Restaurant tables are decorated with Stella di Natale and fruit baskets
In some parts (not everyhwhere, though), Venice is illuminated with Christmas lights, so you walk past red and golden Christmas decorations, flowers and brightly adorned Christmas trees, and under the silvery and blue Christmas lights in the Rialto area. Everwhere you find the Stella di Natale (euphorbia plants) motive here in Venice these days .. even at the stands of the Pescheria (Rialto Fish Market).
Christmas decoration, Pescheria Rialto, with Stelle di Natale !!
A few groups of tourists came to enjoy the pre-Christmas events organized in the days before Christmas day. A Christmas market was there for those who hunting for good occasions, with bancarelle filling both Campo San Bartolomeo and the parts of Strada Nova beginning on Campo Santi Apostoli, reaching down past San Felice and Santa Fosca towards Rio Terá San Leonardo. 
The Regata dei Babbi Natale took place last Saturday on the Grand Canal, and there was also an antiquities fair on Campo San Maurizio.
Regata dei Babbi Natale, on Saturday morning, 21 December: I saw them when I bought groceries at the Rialto Market
The vendors of the Christmas market stalls usually come into Venice from the other parts of the Veneto, like Treviso and Padua, but also as far as from Catania, Perugia and Rimini. Here is where you get sweet street food and torroni and nuts of all kinds, including orange and pistacchio flavored almond cookies, but also fritole calde, as well as flowers for Christmas.
Christmas street food, including fritole, nuts and almond cookies, at Campo San Bartolomeo
Of course at Christmas time there is also "liquid street food" such as cioccolata calda and vin brûlè on sale in the streets, (you will find more on that in my other Blog "Le Spezie della Serenissima"), and lots of Christmas sweets all around the panifici (bakeries) and pasticcerie / cafes.   
Outside bar table in Calle della Madonnetta, near Campo San Polo
A few steps farther, on Campo San Polo, a skating rink has been installed, and you can enjoy skating until the first days of March !!
Skating rink, Campo San Polo
Even Rialto was adorned to convey a festive mood, so with the drizzly and humid weather of the past few days (unfortunately, there is more to come ..) it was quite a lift-up to take in the colors of the market.
Red colors, Rialto
Around this year is a greater number of Christmas trees in town, and of course there is one in the Piazza, as usually between the two stone lions on Piazza dei Leoncini next to the Patriarch's Palace (leoncino translates as "small lion").
Christmas tree, Piazza dei Leoncini, next to Basilica di San Marco
In the last few days, there were gospel singers on the Piazza, singing for passers-by in the late afternoon until about 7 pm. 
A colorful stage was put up in Piazza San Marco, ushering in "White Christmas" in Venice (including icicles): Changing light effects underline the festive atmosphere of the Piazza
People sitting on the Piazza, listening to the gospel singers in Piazza San Marco
But the darkest and most quiet day of the year in Venice is .. 24 December. In the early evening, it seems that the town shuts itself in, and Christmas is celebrated in a very private manner, behind closed windows and doors ... 
When dusk sets in, the lights on the Christmas tree next to the Basilica di San Marco are lit
Luci e ombre - Lights and darkness on 24 December 2013
Many stores keep shut, and also many restaurants, though you will find quite a number of good restaurants open to try a typical Christmas dinner, there are some variants here in the Veneto, and turkey actually plays a role here too.. (to be continued).
Winter vegetables presented in a festive manner in front of a restaurant near Campo San Luca
But by now, all has become quiet, and if you are out in the streets of Venice right now, you can savor the atmosphere of the darkest, most quiet and most peaceful Night of the Year.
Dark and still: Christmas night, view towards the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of the Sighs)
With our best wishes for a peaceful and quiet Christmas, health and happiness to all readers, from Venice !!