January Attractions In Northern Italy, Part I

Let's go to northern Italy this January...

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.

January in Aosta Valley

January in Aosta Valley Italy

Skiing can be great in the Aosta Valley in January.

So you are thinking of visiting northern Italy in January, 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; January is almost upon us. We start our virtual tour in the tiny enclave of Val d’Aosta in the Italian northwest on the border with France and Switzerland. Then it’s on to Milan, the capital of Lombardy. This article terminates with the Italian Riviera. A companion article looks at January attractions in other regions of northern Italy.

Painting of Liguria in Winter

Painting of Liguria in winter

Liguria in Winter, Henry Herbert La Thangue, 1906.

On the next to last Sunday of January the village of Donnas in Val d’Aosta hosts the Fiera del Legno (Wood Fair) which is quite similar to the event taking place in the regional capital about two weeks later. On January 30 and 31 the historic center of the capital Aosta celebrates the Saint Orso Feast Day, a woodcarver’s fair that first started some 1000 years ago. There you will find over seven hundred artisans displaying and selling their woodwork, soapstone, wrought iron and leather, weaving, and other fine work. The Fair is a traditional expression of the Aosta Valley’s historical and cultural environment. Attractions include music and food and wine tasting including mulled wine. The streets are full until dawn.

Milan celebrates Christmas with beautiful nativity scenes also found in many Lombardy towns and villages. Milan is a great city to enjoy New Year’s Eve. If you have recovered by January 6, celebrate Twelfth Night is celebrated with a procession between Sant'Ambroglio and Sant'Eustorgio.

Liguria on the Italian Riviera is a major tourist destination for much of the year. Don’t be surprised that this lovely area is fairly quiet during the winter months. But if you look you will find some activities that you can enjoy during the winter months. For example, the San Remo Yacht Club holds winter championship regattas on many November, December, and January weekends.

Every January beautiful San Remo, “The City of the Flowers,” hosts a festival of street artists and buskers. And it’s the site of a Flower’s Festival and Flowers Parade; every city and town on the Italian Riviera presents an original composition of flowers displayed on a Carnival/Mardi-Gras style float. Don’t be surprised that this beautiful city is known as While you are in San Remo make sure to visit La Pigna (The Pine Cone), the medieval city center. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine local wines.

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About the Author

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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January events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in northern Italy

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