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.
Nesso Lombardy on Lake Como, spring or all year round.
So you are thinking of visiting northern 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 Lombardy and then head east to Trentino-Alto Adige. There are so many things to see and do in northern Italy in March that this is the second of three articles.
Practice your Italian and your German.
The first Monday of March the village of Nesso, Lombardy, population 1300, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Milan hosts the Fiera di Marzo, a country fair of merchandise and animals on a bank of Lake Como. Right around March 18 the small town of Lezzeno, population 2 thousand, also about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Milan hosts its annual Palio dei Falo (Bonfire Competition). This is a centuries old tradition in which neighborhoods compete to present the largest, loveliest, and the most unusual bonfire.
The town of Castelleone, population 9 thousand, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Milan starts their Bonfire of San Guiseppe early on March 19. Runners transport a small statue of the saint from the Sanctuary of Caravaggio to the Church of Santa Maria of Misericordia. Then a large parade carries the statue throughout the town streets. At night youíll enjoy a giant bonfire accompanied by food and wine. Brembio, population 2400, approximately 28 miles (45 kilometers) southeast of Milan hosts a Rabbit Show with hundreds of those furry creatures around March 19. On March 31 Zogno a city of 9 thousand 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Milan celebrates the Ciacciata di Marzo (Kicking March Out!) Festival; the local youth take to the streets in the afternoon and evening, ringing cowbells to say goodbye to Old Man Winter.
You might start your spring visit of Trentino-Alto Adige in Bressanone, called Brixen by German speakers, a city of some 20 thousand approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Bolzano. Enjoy its Gastronomic Week that runs for more than two weeks starting in early March. For over 30 years the local restaurants in Bressanone and the neighboring Valle Isarco/Eisacktal showcased Tyrol food specialties that are best savored with a local wine. Castelrotto (Kastelruth in German), population about 6 thousand of which 80% is German speaking, is located about 12 miles (20 kilometers) northeast of Bolzano. Beginning on Marchís second Sunday it hosts A Week of Nostalgia, attracting competitive skiers from all over Italy and many areas of Europe. Whatís makes this event extra special? The skiersí clothes and equipment are about one hundred years old. 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 Northern Italy