Italian Traditions: the Three Days of the Blackbird

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Blackbirds in winter

I Giorni della Merla, that is the three Days of the Blackbird. All those who traveled Italy, know that the last days of January are traditionally the coldest of the year. But who of you knows their story?

Once upon a time, blackbirds were white

Popular tales said that it all began with a quarrel between a white female Blackbird and a short January. Well, once upon a time, blackbirds were white, the first month of the year counted 28 days and the second 31.

Every time our Blackbird left her nest to find food at the beginning of the year, mischievous January used to cause bitter cold on earth. So, one year, she decided to stay hidden until the 28 days of January passed.

Snow on the Dolomiti
Snow on the Dolomiti

Then, convinced to be safe, Blackbird started to sing loudly and to make fun of her enemy. But January heard her sought revenge, asking February three extra days to bring very freezing cold weather.

Blackbird had to hide again but, being far away from her nest, she found just a chimney stack for shelter. After three days, when going out, she had become sooty black.

The Alps
The Alps

And now, they are sooty black!

Starting this year, all blackbirds remain black, January has still 31 days while February just 28. And remember that, the coldest the Giorni della Merla are, the brightest springtime will be.

Val d'Aosta
Just waiting…

So, hold on, think about summer and start to plan your holidays! Have you already discovered our new Fantasia di Puglia, with its super sunny landscapes, characteristic small towns and iconic Alberobello and Matera?

If you prefer fresh air, instead, ask us for our escorted tour Fantasia North Lakes or write to our Premium Travellers Department at for a tailor-made unusual itinerary!

Sunny Lake Braies
Sunny Lake Braies

Photo credits blackbirds: by @stefanthimm, via Pixabay.