The tradition dates back to 1981 and consists not of a physical tree, but rather of a dazzling string of lights covering a large portion of Mount Ingino.
The Guinness Book of World Records has recognised the enormity of the undertaking, which is truly stupendous. The surface area occupied by the star alone measures some 1,000 square metres, and in all, more than 8,000 metres of connecting cables are needed to light up the slope in brilliant neon green. 650 metres tall, the Gubbio Christmas tree features over 700 separate lights and requires more than three months of preparations by local volunteers.
Although the tree remains on display for weeks, the best time to visit the Umbria region is on 7th December as that is when the official lighting ceremony takes place. At the 2011 lighting ceremony, the tree was lit by none other than His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who performed his role from his home in the Vatican, by means of modern technology.
Those visiting Gubbio in the Christmas season may well wish to take in some of the town’s other sights while they are there. These include a Roman theatre built from local limestone during the 1st century, a Roman mausoleum reputed to belong to Pomponius Graecinus, a senator during the reign of Augustus, and the Duomo Cathedral, which was constructed during the waning years of the 12th century.
For more information about Gubbio and its stupendous Christmas tree, those interested are invited to visit http://www.alberodigubbio.com/Index.aspx?idmenu=2288, where additional details about all of the Christmas festivities are available.
Those looking for holiday accommodation in and around Gubbio should visit www.QualityVillasItaly.co.uk where they will find a selection of short term holiday rentals.