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 Abruzzi 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 Latium on the western coast and then proceed north to Umbria. There are so many things to see and do in central Italy in May that this is the third of three articles.
On the second Saturday of during the month of May the medieval Latium city of Vetralla, home to some 18 thousand, hosts the Wedding of the Trees. Two huge oaks are decked out for a wedding. This festival commemorates a papal decree of 1470 which ceded ownership of a local forest to the people. Youíll enjoy nuts, candy, and other food even if you donít get a chance to chat with the bride and groom. Towards the end of May head to the city of Albano Laziale, population about 40 thousand, in the suburbs of Rome to enjoy the Festa delle Minenti. In case you donít know the minenti are the finest, most beautiful girls in town. This festival includes mandolin concerts, horse races, and allegorical floats festooned with flowers. There is a wine tasting and the election of the beauty queen, a queen among queens, who will ride on the floats as she surveys her realm.
The city of Assisi, Umbria population about 25 thousand is situated some 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of regional capital, Perugia. Assisi is home to the National Antique Trade Fair that starts about the 20th of April and runs into the first week of May. This is one fine antique show and one great tourist city, which attracts several million tourists annually. I donít have to tell you that the crowds here are much more manageable in spring than in summer. In mid-May beautiful Lake Piediluco, dominated by the ruins of the medieval fortress and its walls, hosts the Paolo D'Aloja Memorial International Rowing Regatta which opens the international rowing season. Many world and Olympic champions compete.
The city of Gubbio, population 33 thousand, located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Perugia hosts the Ceri Race Festival on May 15, the eve of the anniversary of the death of its patron St. Ubaldo. Young people transport on their shoulders three gigantic wooden structures weighing about 400 kilos (about 900 pounds) from the historic town center to the top of Mount Ingino. An enthusiastic crowd cheers them on. This is one very emotional religious event. The Ceri of Gubbio have been adopted as the coat-of-arms for the Region of Umbria. You might want to finish the month (May 28) at the crossbow Palio, a medieval fixed crossbows target-shooting contest between Gubbio and the Tuscan city of San Sepolcro. Of course the competitors and many spectators are decked out in historical costumes? When the contest is over a large parade winds its way through the torch-lit streets.
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