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 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; May is almost upon us. We start our virtual tour in Veneto on the Gulf of Venice and head south to Emilia-Romagna. There are so many things to see and do in northern Italy in May that this is the third of three articles.
Right on the first of May Venice celebrates Vela Venezia, a festival devoted to sail boats which is held in the lagoon just off of St. Mark's Square. On the first weekend of the month head off to the medieval walled city of Montagnana, population about 10 thousand, and enjoy their gastronomic festival, Piacere Montagnana. This even showcases the local prosciutto ham, which is best consumed accompanied by music and local wine. The city walls and the local ham are said to be among the best in Europe. You probably wonít say that for the local wine. In early May the small town of Cimadolmo celebrates their Festival of White Asparagus for about ten days. This festival includes music, dancing, and soccer tournaments. Connoisseurs say the best wine to accompany Asparagus is the Austrian Gruener Veltliner. If you prefer an Italian I suggest a Falanghina from southern Italy. If you want a Venetian wine go for Soave Superiore, but spend a little extra and get a good one.
Now that you have gotten into the habit, start the month of May about a week early at the seaside resort of Cervia, Emilia-Romagna. It hosts an International Kite Festival from April 23 to May 2. Towards the middle of the month Cervia celebrates their Sposalizio del Mare (Marriage of the Sea) that commemorates the local Bishop who calmed a storm by pawning his pastoral ring way back in 1445. There is a week of celebrations that culminate on the day of the Ascension, when a historical procession accompanies the Bishop to the open sea. He blesses the Adriatic and tosses a wedding ring into it, in the presence of brightly-coloured historical vessels. On Mayís final Sunday youíll enjoy a Medieval Parade and Jousting Tournament near the fortress of Grazzano Visconti. The activities commemorate the late Fourteenth Century marriage of the daughter of the local bigwig to the king of Franceís brother. Say goodbye to May in the historic city of Ferarra, whose population is some 135 thousand, located approximately 30 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Bologna at their Palio di San Giorgio Medieval Parade and Race. This horse race ran continuously from 1279 (the worldís oldest Palio) to 1869. The ceremonies include one thousand locals dressed in traditional costumes.
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