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.
So you are thinking of passing your May holidays in Tuscany or elsewhere in central Italy. Donít despair; there are lots and lots of special spring events that simply arenít available in the good old summertime. Here are a few of them. Get rolling; May 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 on the Adriatic Sea. There are so many things to see and do in central Italy in May that this is the first of three articles.
One of Firenzeís best-kept secrets is the beautiful Iris Garden of Florence, a former olive grove on the eastern slope of Piazzale Michelangelo, which overlooks the city. As its name indicates, this garden includes a fabulous iris collection in addition to century old trees and an unforgettable view of the city of Florence and its surroundings. This lovely garden is open to the public only from May 2 until May 20; make sure not to miss it. The city of Pescia, home to about 20 thousand, celebrates Pinocchio's Birthday on May 25th. You may choose to celebrate it at the Pinocchio Park in the city of Collodi, population about 25 thousand, named for this author who unfortunately died without an inkling of the colossal success of his childrenís story. On the final weekend of the month the similarly sized city of Cortona celebrates the Archidado Games that commemorate an upper-class marriage, which took place in the late Fourteenth-Century. Youíll enjoy seeing townspeople dressed in traditional costumes. On Saturday there are religious ceremonies and processions and crossbow competitions pitting neighborhoods against each other on the following day.
On the first Sunday in May, the town of Tolentino, whose population is approximately 20 thousand, presents their historic Le Marche Festa. This is a military pageant recreating the Napoleonic period. The key activity takes place at the Castello della Rancia commemorating an 1815 battle which some historians and others consider to be the first battle in the war for Italian independence. Between the first and second weeks of May the town of Camerino, population 7 thousand, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of the regional capital Ancona, hosts their Fifteenth Century Le Marche Festa that just happens to coincide with the festival of the cityís patron saint, San Venanzio. A major festival highlight is the Corsa alla spada in which competitors race up the town's wonderful steep alleys and streets. Another is the Giostra della Quintana (historical jousting tournament). Youíll enjoy the local food and wine specialties.
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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May events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in central Italy