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 southern Italy in May, but youíre just not sure what to see and to do. Donít you 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 the island of Sicily southwest of the mainland and then head northwest to the island of Sardinia. There are so many things to see and do in southern Italy in May that this is the third of three articles.
The island complex of Favignana, population about 4500, located a short hydrofoil ride from the western coast of Sicily is well known for its tuna. On the second Sunday of May catch their tuna-fish fry. Even if you donít like tuna you will find other fish and seafood to your liking. About a week later visit to the city of Trecastagni, population 9 thousand, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of the regional capital Palermo for its SantíAlfio Procession of Costumes and Carts in honor of three saints. On the fourth Sunday in May, the city of Casteltermini, population about 9 thousand, situated about 45 miles (70 kilometers) southeast of Palermo hosts the Taratata Fair that presents costumes, cavalcades, and the reenactment of historic battles between the Normans and Arabs. Donít miss the Ballo del Taratata, a menís only dance with long swords and beating drums.
The start of May in Cagliari, Sardinia is dedicated to SantíEfisio, who had been an officer in Roman Emperor Diocletian's army sent to fight against Sardiniaís Christian communities. Efisio had a vision and converted to Christianity. After refusing to renounce his faith in the year 303 he was beheaded in nearby Nora. According to tradition in 1652 this Saint saved Cagliari from a plague that devastated the city, killing half of its inhabitants. The religious celebration honoring him lasts for four days. The ceremonies begin in Nora at noon on May 1 when his statue departs from the local church, transported in a gold-plated Seventeenth Century coach drawn by oxen. Accompanied by traditional music the coach visits local villages for three days. An estimated five thousand people participate in this procession that includes dozens of specially decorated ox-carts and horsemen dressed traditionally in traditional clothing. On May 4 the Saintís statue returns to Cagliari and is greeted by thousands of torch carrying worshippers. The celebration ends with a huge banquet featuring Cagliari's excellent seafood. This traditional religious celebration is one of the largest and most fervent in the world.
For a change of pace you may visit Porto Cervo, an upscale seaside resort in northern Sardiniaís Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) a major home away from home for the jet set, or should I say the yacht set? In mid May there is a Yacht Race, which is said to be the most exclusive sailing event in Italy. The exact date and time of the race depends on the weather conditions. If you want to brag and get an excellent view of the race try to wangle your way into the local observatory high on a granite cliff.
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 Southern Italy