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.
The old city in Termoli, Molise.
So you are thinking of visiting central Italy in March, but youíre just not sure what you want to see and to do. Donít 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 Molise on the eastern Adriatic coast and then proceed in a clockwise direction heading to Latium and then Umbria. There are so many things to see and do in central Italy in March that this is the second of two articles.
Spring in the Eternal City.
The resort city of Termoli, Molise is home to 30 thousand people, many of whose contain altars to San Giuseppe in their homes. It is common to celebrate him by praying and singing all through the night of March 18th. On the following day the faithful invite all comers the following day for a real feast. The village of Capracotta, population about one thousand, at the other end of the region celebrates this day quite differently by hosting cross-country skiers from all over in a national relay race for the E. Angelaccio cup.
Whether or not youíre a fan of Julius Caesar you might want to commemorate his murder by Brutus on March 14th, 44 B.C. You wonít have any trouble finding cultural events near his statue at the Roman Forum, located in the center of the city. Also on that day the small town of Marta, population about 3,5000, situated some 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Rome hosts the Barabbata. This ancient festival is a procession of farmers and fishermen representing their guilds, tools, and products. Announced by drum rolls, they pass the local church three times, stopping to taste the local wine and Ciambelle, a traditional bread whose snakelike shape is linked to pagan spring festivals. The third Saturday of March Rome hosts a Marathon with over six thousand runners representing about 50 countries. This competition starts at the Forum and ends at the nearby Colosseum but taking the scenic route. This marathon event (pun intended) virtually closes the city.
Early March may be chilly, but before long youíll be enjoying Primavera, especially in the landlocked region of Umbria. Its capital and largest city, Perugia, hosts the Umbria Wine Festival in the second half of March. Look for Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG and Torgiano DOCG reds, the first of which may be passito (sweet). On March 20 and 21 take a trip to Norcia, a small town of about 5 thousand, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northeast of Terni for the Feast of St. Benedict, the townís Patron Saint. On the first evening a torch that was lit in a selected European capital arrives in town and is welcomed by many European ambassadors. The following day Norcia hosts a medieval celebration. 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