Donít 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 October vacation, describing regional spectacles, tourist attractions, and special events, and sometimes sports. Italian fall holidays have several advantages: You wonít fight the crowds, hotels and other accommodations are easier and cheaper to find, and every region has its own fall festivals. Start organizing your Italian fall holidays now. Keep reading.
The small region of Abruzzi lies on the Adriatic Sea in central Italy. It is quite traditional and so is a fine location to see the ďrealĒ Italy. Here summer is really summer; so if you arenít a fan of hot, hot weather you may prefer an October vacation. As the month proceeds expect colder weather, especially at night and in the mountains. You might start the month at the village of Bisenti, population 2 thousand, which hosts a Montonico revival featuring grapes and wine of Bisenti's hills along with folklore, theater, and traditional dances. The central date is the first Sunday of the month. Look for Montonico white wines, some of which are made from grapes whose vines are 200 years old. You might want to celebrate Saint Francesco's Day on October 4th in the village of Castelvecchio Subequo, home to 1200, or the small town of Balsorano, population 4 thousand.
In early October the village of Navelli, population 600, holds a Donkey Palio, an inter-neighborhood competition that usually features costumed horses and riders. The donkeys come from a 3000-acre (over 1200 hectares) donkey ranch near Sulmona, Abruzzi where a Roman psychologist is doing his best to save the Italian donkey from extinction. Navelli is world famous for its saffron production that dates back to the Thirteenth Century but once again, traditional ways are threatened by progress.
On a mid-October weekend the village of Villa Santa Maria, population 1500, hosts a two-day Sagra dei Cuochi (Festival of the Cooks) to honor its culinary traditions. The local patron saint, San Francesco Caracciolo, was a cook from Naples who settled here in the Sixteenth Century to escape the summer heat. He launched the first cooking competition, a popular pastime among the Neapolitan nobility. Today almost one out of four locals is a professional cook, perhaps working in a fine restaurant almost anywhere in the world. They return for the festival, feeding thousands of people in the main piazza on Saturday night in an alfresco dinner set to music. The following day after a church service honoring the saint the rocky main street is transformed into a buffet almost half a mile (two-thirds of a kilometer) long. The festival ends with awards for the best cooks. Given the local roads and wine, get a professional to drive you around.
On October 20, the coastal (Adriatic) city of Vasto, home to about 40 thousand, hosts the Toson d'Oro, reenacting the 1723 combat between the Marquis of Vasto and the Prince Fabrizio Colonna. This battle ended a dynastic order of knighthood that had been established almost three centuries earlier. Three days later the well-preserved village of Capestrano, population under one thousand, hosts a gastronomic festival honoring Saint Giovanni's Day. The local specialty is delicious cannellini white beans. Finish the month in the small town of Carsoli, population about 5500 at its Chestnut festival held on the 31st. Make sure to try the fettuccine paglia e fieno (colored pasta flavored with a rich meat sauce).
And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Abruzzi or other Italian 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.
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October events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in Abruzzi