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 Italian holidays now. Keep reading.
Aosta Valley, great skiing for much of the year.
So you are thinking of visiting northern Italy in November, but you’re not sure what to see and what to do. Don’t 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; November is almost upon us. We start our virtual tour in the northwest and work our way east.
Alba Truffle Festival, don't miss the local wines.
We start our November Italian tour in the bilingual Aosta Valley tucked in the mountains between France and Switzerland. On November first the village of Cogne at the edge of the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso celebrates the Cantes Festival, dedicated to its boys. They are offered wine and food and participants sing until sunset. About a week later Perloz celebrates the final of the Concours Bataille des Chevres (Goat Fight). Local breeders exhibit their best animals classed into three categories. The winners are awarded "tchambis", maple and walnut collars hand inlaid with the traditional bell. There are lesser prizes for eight other goats in each category.
The Piedmont region of northwestern Italy is famous for wine and food. You haven’t tasted “mushrooms” until you’ve tried their white truffles, but bring your wallet. Fiera del Tartufo Bianco di Alba (White Alba Truffle Fair) may be the ultimate truffle festival. It runs for over a month starting in early October and has been around for nearly eighty years. Alba is famous for its wine as is its traditional competitor, the nearby town of Asti. Alba also hosts the Regional White Vezza d’Alba Truffle & Roero Wines Fair in late November. Other truffle events include the Peccati di gola - Fiera regionale del Tartufo, Overindulgences – Regional Truffle Fair at Mondovi from late October to early November and the San Sebastiano Curone Truffle Festival in November. For more than truffles visit the Truffle Regional Fair in mid-November at Murisengo’s “Trifola d’Or” (Golden Truffle) Fair with about a hundred booths that feature traditional food, wine, and handcrafts from the surrounding area.
For nearly five centuries the town of Nizza Monferrato southeast of Asti hosts its annual Fiera di San Carlo. Check it out in early November. You may want to come back to visit its Antiques Market on the third Sunday of every month. In between the two, on the second Sunday of November the town of Alessandria near Piedmont’s capital Turin hosts a wine exhibition. And Piedmont, Italy is world famous for its wines.
The Lombardy region of northwestern Italy is a great place for winter sports. The winter is fairly cold and even rainy in the mountains. But don’t let that stop you. In early November the capital Milan hosts the Sei Giorno di Ciclismo (Six days of cycling). Lombardy is home to many cycling clubs such as the Viale Monza group that meets four mornings a week to cycle from the Piazzale Martesana (in front of the Gaetano Pini). Perhaps the best news: All levels of cyclists are welcome. The last Sunday of every month (except July and August) Milan hosts the open air Naviglio Grande Antiques Fair. The little town of Casteggio holds a White Truffle Festival in November. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine local wines.
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.
Feel free to reprint this entire article which must include the resource box
November events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in northern Italy