Don't think of Italy as only a summer destination. There are plenty of things to do and to see during the Italian spring, fall, and even winter. This series of articles provides ideas for your Italian vacation, describing regional spectacles, tourist attractions, and special events, at any time of year. Off-season Italian holidays have several advantages: You won't fight the crowds, hotels and other accommodations are easier and cheaper to find. Whatever time of year you go, every region has its own special festivals. Plan your Italian holidays now. Keep reading.
Challenge of Barletta, historic challenge, historic poster.
So you are thinking of visiting southern Italy in February, but you’re not sure what to see and what to do. Don’t despair; there are lots and lots of special events that simply aren’t available in the good old summertime. Here are a few of them. Get rolling; February is almost upon us. We start our virtual counterclockwise tour in Apulia, the heel of the Italian boot. Then it’s northwest to Campania on the Tyrrhenian Sea and then south to the island of Sicily.
Catania, Sicily. What a magnificent processsion!
On February 13th, the coastal city of Barletta, Apulia hosts the Commemoration of the Challenge of Barletta, recalling the historic challenge between 13 Italian horsemen and 13 French horsemen first held on February 13th, 1503. This is one beautiful traditional ceremony. The small town of Vico del Gargano whose nickname is “The Village of Love” celebrates The Feast of Saint Valentine by decorating its main church and the statue of Saint Valentine with bay leaves and literally thousands of oranges. You won’t be surprised to learn that this area is known for its oranges.
The city of Mugnano di Napoli hosts the headquarters of the Pirotecnica Snc or Schiattarella fireworks firm. Can you guess how Mugnano di Napoli celebrates its Patron Saint Biagio? This family-run firm has won many national competitions so you may expect a really good show. For a complete change of pace visit Today's Spouse in the regional capital of Naples, especially if you are planning a wedding. This event is held starting on the second Saturday of February in the spectacular Twelfth Century Castel dell’Ovo overlooking the harbor in romantic but sometimes dangerous Napoli.
On February 4 Sicily’s second largest city Catania on the island’s eastern coast facing the Ionian Sea honors its patron saint, Saint Agatha with a festival that boasts what may well be the world’s second largest religious procession. Saint Agatha’s statue is placed on a “fercolo”, a 40,000 pound silver carriage, pulled up Monte Sangiuliano by an unbelievable 5,000 men. This festival lasts for two days and two nights and culminates in a huge fireworks display. Don’t forget to taste some of the marzipan specialties. Across the island on the western (Mediterranean) coast lies the town of Agrigento whose Almond Blossom Fair spans the first two Sundays in February. The ceremonies include an International Folklore Festival with complete with music, singing, parades, puppet shows and open-air performances. You’ll enjoy traditional Sicilian sweets based on almonds and other goodies. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine local wines.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.
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February events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in Southern Italy