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 spring Italian holidays now. Keep reading.
Fortezza da Basso, Florence Italy convention center.
So you are thinking of visiting central Italy in March, but youíre just not sure what to see and to do. Donít you despair; there are lots and lots of special events that simply arenít available in the good old summertime. Here are a few of them. Get rolling; March is almost upon us. We start our virtual tour in Tuscany on the western Tyrrhenian Sea coast and then proceed in a clockwise direction heading to The Marches and then Abruzzi on the Adriatic Sea. There are so many things to see and do in central Italy in March that this is the first of two articles.
Porto San Giorgio, The Marches, Italy.
On Marchís second weekend the fabulous city of Firenze (Florence), population about 350 thousand within a metropolitan area of 1.5 million, hosts the Oleum, an Olive Festival which held in the Sixteenth Century fortress Fortezza da Basso. Even if you canít make this festival be sure to visit the Fortezza anyway. Itís something to see and it often hosts an exhibition. On March 18 the small town of Anghiari, population about 6 thousand, celebrates the Feast of Gambellaio, in which men offer all passersby delicious sausages. You arenít allowed to use your hands; you must pop them directly into your mouth. Leave room for Brustichino, a polenta (corn bread) with grilled sausages. The beautiful village of Montefioralle in the Chianti area of Tuscany holds a Frittelle Festival on the Sunday after St Peter's day which is March 19th. For your information, frittelle are fried rice cakes. These frittelle are prepared in a huge cauldron of oil in the historic town center. Make sure to tour Montefioralle; it is one of the best examples of rural village medieval architecture in Tuscany.
Why not start your spring vacation in The Marches in the town of Porto San Giorgio, population about 16 thousand, about halfway down the Adriatic coast from Ancona? On the third weekend of March this city hosts a Food Festival of typical regional products with hundreds of stalls and stands. One of the best wines in this region, the Rosso Conero Riserva DOCG comes from this area.
March 19 is the Festa di San Giuseppe's (Saint Josephís Day), celebrated in many parts of Italy including Abruzzi. The village of Rocca Pia, home to a mere 200 people, holds a religious ceremony accompanied by a traditional meal of beans and pork rind. In the small town of Fara San Martino, population 1600, celebrates with a huge bonfire. The village of Civitella Alfedena, population some 300, is situated in the heart of the beautiful Parco Nazionale díAbruzzo, Lazio e Molise which covers three regions and englobes some two dozen municipalities. On March 26 Civitella Alfedena holds an Exhibition of arts and popular traditions. 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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March events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in central Italy