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Once upon a time Lucio, our beloved, gentle soul adorned with a warm, furry, brown coat, feeling the Christmas festivities approaching, decided to go to Rome.

He was still a lovely, cuddling cub full of curiosity and energy and with his best friend Gino the horse, got on a train in Abruzzo where he lived and headed to Rome.

The trip was amazing and while the train was moving up and down the mountains, he and Gino saw wonderful landscapes, snowy mountains, slow rivers, and streams rich in waters thank to the Autumn rains.

The train went through colourful villages whose roads and squares where full of Christmas lights and crowded with lots of people dressed in red.

Red… Emm, that was not a colour Lucio liked, at all, and could not make it why humans where so obsessed with red at Christmas… but, as we all know animals are often better, so he did not linger too long on the thought and stroke vigorously his  furry, brown coat that would never exchange  with nothing else in the world… ever.

The duo, flamboyant and loud, but shy and scared at the same time, since it was their very first time in a big city, or better, in the big, ethernal city, once getting off the train at Roma Termini decided to walk around and experience the real Rome 😊 on the best period of the year : Christmas eve.

Together, they planned to celebrate the festive season in grand style, sharing the joys of camaraderie and delectable Roman cuisine, because the young, as we all know, are always hungry.

As the days grew shorter and the air became crisp with anticipation, Lucio and his friend Gino embarked on an awe-inspiring journey through Rome’s iconic landmarks.

First, they visited the Vatican, because Sabrina, the squirrel, their furry friend that lived at Villa Borghese, arranged for them to go and see its towering pillars and its majestic architecture.

They did as they were told by Sabrina and were very grateful of that.

They gazed in wonder at the breathtaking artistry within the Vatican Museums, from the masterpieces of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel to the intricate tapestries that adorned the halls.

They marvelled at the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica, its magnificent dome reaching towards the heavens. Here Lucio felt, for the first time ever, a sense of serenity within the sacred walls, cherishing the moments shared with his dear friend Gino amid such historical magnificence.

People looked with curiosity at the strange duo: a bear and a horse had never been seen before in the Vatican museums strolling around. But they were so nice and well behaved that everybody left them alone.

Lucio and Gino were staying at a friends’ house: Testaccio, the elderly mouse and Pinsa the young cat that, that in spite of their being a cat and a mouse, loved each other tenderly and had been living in the same apartment for years.

As Christmas Eve approached, the aroma of sumptuous Italian dishes filled the air of Rome streets and Testaccio, the mouse, a real talent in the kitchen, prepared a feast fit for kings: pasta adorned with rich sauces, crispy bruschetta with ripe tomatoes, and delectable tiramisu were just a few delicacies on the menu. Lucio’s heart swelled with gratitude as he savoured each bite, feeling the warmth of friendship and the joy of the holiday season.

After their delightful feast, Lucio and his friends went out in the crispy air and strolled through the cobblestone streets, their bellies content and their spirits high. Amidst the twinkling lights and laughter echoing in the air, they stumbled upon Piazza Navona: the square was adorned with festive decorations, a large and tall Christmas tree and a sense of wonder that enveloped the entire place.

While entering Piazza Navona, to Lucio’s total amazement…there stood Father Christmas himself, greeting the merry crowd with his hearty laughter and lots of candies.

Surrounded by children, in the company of his loyal deers, Father Christmas, welcomed Lucio and his friends with twinkling eyes and a merry twirl, , spreading cheer and goodwill to all. The joyous atmosphere filled Lucio’s heart as he joined in the festivities, sharing laughter and merriment with everyone around.

And it was in the embrace of this magical moment that Lucio felt, for his first time, the true essence of Christmas—a time for love, friendship, a time for family, no matter if furry 😊

As the night drew to a close, Lucio bid farewell to Father Christmas and the lively square, his heart brimming with happiness and his eyes heavy with sleep.

Underneath the starlit Roman sky, while entering Testaccio and Pinsa’ s apartment, Lucio whispered a heartfelt wish for happiness and peace, not just for himself but for all creatures, big and small, near and far.

As he settled in for the night, surrounded by the love of his newfound friends, Lucio drifted into dreams filled with the promise of more magical adventures yet to come, while whispering… Merry Christmas to all of you.

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