• 2019.02.21
  • Candle Festival
There is a candle festival organized in a small town near Genoa, Manrola, a lovely medieval village perched on the Ligurian hills, and this tradition has now reached its twelfth edition. This is the first Italian town handicrafts market entirely dedicated to candles. The initiative is usually extended over three weekends in the month of February, the coldest month here in our region but also the last one with few daylight hours.
During this time of the year, many visitors from all over Italy and abroad come to admire the striking and colorful party of lights.
A candle festival that every year is enriched with fun events such as food fests which will take place at the same time, attracting even more visitors who come to taste local delicacies.
First of these events this year will be the Paranza fest, an event within the event dedicated to a typical Ligurian dish: Ligurian fish fry-up.
This mix of fried fish in the past used to be prepared with the leftover unsold fish because perhaps too small in size. But as history has taught us, from leftovers and from the wisdom of the fishermen, a tasty dish was born.
The term paranza derives from the dialect word ‘paro,’ meaning pair which indicated the two boats that used to fish in pairs to draw the nets, even if later in history the term was extended to the single traditional fishing boat. A combination of gastronomy and tradition will be proposed not only within the festival, but also at local restaurants in the area throughout the month of February.
For three quarters of an hour, twice every evening, the town will be completely illuminated by the warm and reassuring light of the candles during a scheduled village shutdown in which the shops and services will close down or keep on working using exclusively candle light.

The village lit by candles seen from afar

At the same time of the scheduled ‘candle hours,’ bright candle lanterns will be released and they will magically lighten the sky above the village. In this edition, the festival will offer visitors different attractions too, starting with the ‘crafts street,’ where visitors will be able to talk to the artisans, admire and buy candles in a variety of shapes and sizes, embellished with the most diverse materials (wax, wood, stone, terracotta, ceramics, silver and even cork), all handmade and ready to use (although they are too beautiful to be used and melted).
There will also be several workshops organized around town so it is possible to watch live the preparation of candles, made strictly and traditionally using natural beeswax, as was the case in the Middle Ages.

Creative candles are displayed and sold

The beekeeping tradition is indeed very strong in Liguria and in Voltri, another town surrounding Genoa, they have just started the first theoretical introductory course in apiculture.
The course - organized by a non-profit organization together with the municipality of Genoa Voltri - started this year and aims at giving basic training in breeding and caring of bees, to learn about the world of these insects and their products such as honey, soaps, propolis and indeed candles.
Another novelty of the candle festival this year is the snowy alley: a small alleyway inside the village where artificial snow will be fired and where everyone will be covered with soft foam.
In a small building inside the town walls there will be some video projections too on the history of this tradition and on the art of beekeeping.
The town becomes so picturesque and charming thanks to the thousands of flames that every night light up the village that there are also storytelling events and re-enactments in traditional costumes.

Candle making workshop


  • Patrizia Margherita
  • Jobtranslator, interpreter, teacher

Although she was born in Italy, she is half Italian and half American and she has become a "multicultural person" who can speak five languages. She has lived and worked in the US, Brazil, Australia, France and the UK so she considers herself a citizen of the world. When she is not teaching or translating, she likes cooking Italian food, hiking and traveling around the world...She has traveled to 80 countries and counting!

View a list of Patrizia Margherita's

What's New


What's New