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.
Beautiful Forni Avoltri near Carnic Alps.
So you are thinking of visiting northern Italy in March, but you’re just not sure what to see and to do. Don’t you 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; March is almost upon us. We start our virtual tour in Friuli-Venezia Giulia on the border with Austria and Slovenia and then head southeast to Veneto. We continue south to Emilia-Romagna. There are so many things to see and do in northern Italy in March that this is the third of three articles.
Veneto is more than Venice.
Given its northern temperature Friuli festivals and events start slowly in March. The village of Forni Avoltri, population 700, situated on the Austrian border some 80 miles (130 kilometers) northwest of the capital Trieste plays host to an unusual traditional celebration; every March 19 the young folk throw circular burning pieces of wood, called lis cidulis, down from the hilltops. The city of Pordenone, population 50 thousand, will host its annual festival Dedica 2010 from March 13 to March 27. The 2010 festival dedicated to the German writer, Hans Magnus Ezensberger.
The historic city of Venezia (Venice) has a population of only some 60 thousand but its metropolitan area is much larger. From time immemorial Venice has always had a special relationship with the water, both the canals and the sea. On March 25 its head officer, known as the Doge, tosses a wedding ring into the sea in a symbolic marriage ceremony and he says “We wed you, Oh sea, as a sign of true and perpetual dominion.” On March’s final Sunday the resort city of Cortina d’Ampezzo (population 6 thousand) in the Dolomites near the Austrian border hosts the fourth and final leg of the Italian Winter Triathalon that includes foot racing, mountain biking and skiing. The previous sites included Piancavallo (Friuli-Giulia Venezia), Malles (Trentino-Alto Adige) and Courmayeur (Val d’Aosta).
Around the middle of Lent the town of Forlimpopoli, population about 13 thousand celebrates Segavecchia, which means the burning of the effigy of “Old Woman Winter.” This is quite a bloody story; in one version a woman is sawed in half by her husband and sons but after they repent she comes back to life. On the second or third Sunday in March the small town of Casalfiumanese, population about 3 thousand hosts the Bologna Ravioli Festival. Here Bologna means the province and not the city or you know what. Did you know that the city of Bologna is famous for its tortellini?. On or about the 25th to 27th March, the city of Cavriago, home to about 9 thousand, hosts the Festival del Bue Grasso, a two hundred-year-old cattle fair with demonstrations of old traditional crafts and tastyfood stands. The small town of Rocca San Casciano, population about 2 thousand, located about 40 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of Bologna hosts its Festa dei Falò (Bonfires Feast), which is said to originate in Celtic Pagan rites. 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