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 visiting northern Italy in May, 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; May is almost upon us. We start our virtual tour in Lombardy, head east to Trentino-Alto Adige, and cross Veneto which we will visit soon, and still heading east stop in Friuli-Venezia Giulia on the border with Austria and Slovenia. There are so many things to see and do in northern Italy in May that this is the second of three articles.
On May’s second weekend the city of Brescia, Lombardy hosts the Mille Miglia (Thousand Mile Race), a non-competitive version of that classic auto race from the 30's and 40's. Literally hundreds of thousands of spectators watch almost 400 classic cars as zip through the city streets in a thousand mile (1600 kilometer) race throughout northern and central Italy. The city of Legnano, population about 60 thousand, holds its Carroccio Festival & Palio delle Contrade on May 23rd to honor a military victory in 1176. You’ll see hundreds of people marching in medieval costumes followed by a horse race. A few days later the city of Caravaggio, population 16 thousand, plays host the Madonna of the Fountain celebration that commemorating Madonna’s miraculous appearance in 1432 when she was said to console a young woman in distress. Spend May’s last Sunday in the beautiful walled city of Bergamo, population 120 thousand, situated about 60 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Milan at the Bergamo Marathon. You may even apply to run this race. I’d rather watch.
The city of Trento, population over 100 thousand, is home to the the Trento Film Festival that focuses on Mountain, Exploration, and Adventure films for approximately ten days starting at the end of April. For a few days in mid-May the local capital Bolzano hosts a fine wine exhibition in the Mareccio (Maretsch) Castle located close to the city center. Finish the month at the Speck Festival, showcasing the local specialty, cured and seasoned raw bacon. You’ll find plenty more local foods and wines as you listen to musicians in traditional costumes.
By early May the weather warms up in Friuli-Venezia Giulia as elsewhere in northern Italy. On 2nd of May the town of Coseano, approximately 52 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of the local capital Trieste, hosts the annual “Coseano Vie d’Artista” festival where over two hundred artists display their paintings on the town streets. The kids will love “Il Paese dei Balocchi” (Toyland) in the town of Rive d’Arcano, population about 2,500, also located some 52 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Trieste. Pinocchio will be there along with lots of music and games. In mid-May the mountainside church of S. Pietro Zuglio some 70 miles (110 kilometers) from Trieste hosts the Kissing of the Crosses Celebration. After a parade numerous crosses from all the churches in the surrounding valley are assembled in this hilltop church. Participants march in single file and touch the cross of Saint Peter to symbolize Peter's devoted kiss to Jesus. Other May festivals in lucky Friuli include the International Chair Salon in Udine, the Sapori Pro Loco gastronomical festival in Villa Manin di Codroipo, a poetry festival in Monfalcone on the coast, and a musical festival in Pordenone. There’s even a sundial festival in Aiello.
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 Northern Italy