Colle Santa Lucia (Associazione Turistica Colle Santa Lucia Dolomiti)

Every year the evening of January 5 the century-old tradition of the “Donaze” comes back to life.  As soon as darkness falls, many bonfires of the so called “Pan e Vin” (literally bread and wine) are lit near the houses and right when the fires blaze in the night you may start hearing cowbells ringing and the “Donaze” streaming while approaching wildly. This tradition has been handed down since the dawn of time and it provides that a large group of boys dress up with leathers, old clothes and cowbells and cover theirs faces with a wooden mask (it is rigorously handmade by themselves or a sculptor). Then they walk along the streets of the villages looking for those who haven’t behaved well during the year. Together with the disguised boys called “Donaze” even the “Vegia” is supposed to appear: she is a cheerful old woman who, unlike them, doesn’t aim to scare anybody, but she plays pranks on those who dare to challenge her!

This occurrence is what is left of a tradition which on the occasion of the “Pan e Vin” bonfires was popular throughout the Alpine region, but which went lost over time in many places. In the village of Colle Santa Lucia this tradition still holds up instead and that’s the reason why, as a unique experience all over the Dolomites and beyond, it is worth seeing it live at least once in a lifetime!

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