Bright Blockbusters

Illuminations TourA Central Street home featured on the Illuminations Tour. Photo by Mary Kocol.

We profiled Lenny Rigione, one of the stars of the Arts Council’s Illuminations Tour, in our November/December issue. To give you a taste of what else the tour has to offer, we put together five more of the must-see homes on the annual tour. If you missed out on getting a ticket for the Dec. 16 trolleys, you can pick up a $3 map and walk the route.

12 OTIS STREET | JOHN RAGNO

John Ragno actually decorates not one house, but three. His two daughters live on Otis Street too—one next door and one across the street—and each year he decks out all three addresses. His home is the place to go if you want to see more traditional, religious Christmas decorations, while his daughters prefer secular looks and have plenty of Snoopy imagery. Ragno even strings lights over the driveway between his home and his next-door daughter’s house.

25 PRESTON ROAD | FRANK AND MARIA ARMATA

Frank and Maria Armata, who are from Italy, managed to inspire all of Preston Road to light up at the holidays. About 10 years ago, Mayor Joseph Curtatone decided to make a contest out of the Illuminations Tour, and Preston Road won. “The spirit trickled over” from the Armatas, Somerville Arts Council Cultural Director Rachel Strutt says. Now, five or six homes on the street get into the decorating. “The whole street is pretty megawatt,” Strutt says. Frank and Maria usually dress up their dog as Santa and come outside to wave to people on the trolleys, and even have an inflatable merry-go-round.

7 AMES STREET | ANGELO DIRUSSO

During the holidays, Angelo DiRusso’s house is covered from the third floor to the ground with big inflatable Santa heads. Yes, you read that right. DiRusso’s been decorating the Robinson Street home for 45 years, and the Santa heads are from the 1960s. The spectacle takes three weekends to assemble, and includes a yard that features a Santa’s workshop and that Strutt says is “chock full of inflatables” including a pig and a merry-go-round.

23 HIGHLAND ROAD | PAT AND DOMINIC OPPEDISANO

Pat and Dominic took over decorating this home from their father, Anthony, who moved there in 1964. It’s gotten more elaborate over the years, according to Strutt, and always features a statue of the blessed mother. Strutt says the Oppedisano house is “one of the real blockbusters.”

53 SPRINGFIELD STREET | CARVALHO FAMILY

Only in New England do you see a lobster trap serving as a nativity manger. This Springfield Street home’s the place to go for music, an illuminated Santa climbing up a ladder, and this uniquely Boston touch.

This story appears in the November/December print issue of Scout Somerville, which is available for free at more than 220 drop spots throughout Somerville (and just beyond its borders) or by subscription.

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