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.
Latium, also known as Lazio, is in central Italy on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its capital, Rome, is the center of the region. Here summer is really summer; but by October the weather definitely gets colder, especially in the hills. During the month of October do like the Romans and flee the heat of the city for the cool autumn air near the sea and the hills in Ariccia, a suburban town of some 18 thousand. Sit in an outdoor cafť and savor a porchetta romana, a sandwich filled with spit-roasted suckling pig, seasoned with rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic and then slowly cooked to a golden brown, ideally with crispy skin. Purists enjoy this simple delicacy cold in homemade bread accompanied by a glass of Colli Albani wine. Usually I recommend enjoying local food specialties with local wine, but in the case of Latium I am ready to make an exception. Latium, once the home of great wines, may someday make a comeback. Help the regionís innovative winemakers by avoiding low-quality wines.
Reserve ahead to visit the Oasi di Ninfa, world-famous gardens about an hour south of Rome via the Appian Way. It is open the first weekend of October from 9:00 to noon and 2:30 to 6. This garden, built by three women in the shell of a medieval stronghold where the fleeing Pope Alexander III was crowned, has been dubbed the Pompeii of the Middle Ages. Some say itís the worldís most romantic garden. Like many places in Italy, the town of Ninfa has known siege and malaria. Thereís a river, waterfalls, historic ruins, and a great collection of fauna and wildlife including Himalayan magnolias, Chinese adadias, cypresses, birch, bamboo groves, and Italy's tallest poplar to badgers, owls, kingfishers, herons, falcon, waterfowl. The riverís trout are said to descend from ancestors brought by the Romans.
Marino is a city of about 20 thousand in the Alban Hills approximately 15 miles (21 kilometers) south east of Rome. The first weekend of October it hosts a Sagre dell'Uva (Grape Festival) boasting over 100 thousand visitors in an annual party that started in 1925. The fountains switch over from water to wine. Take my advice, donít criticize the local libations and donít ask for a glass of milk if you are old enough to vote. The wine is accompanied by delicious food including porchetta sandwiches, here savored hot. The parade features a lovely young queen and her court surrounded by a sea of grapes. The festivities also celebrate the 1571 Battle of Lepanto when Christian forces defeated the Ottoman Turks. Enjoy the free grapes but keep an eye peeled for grape throwing battles. A very different Grape Festival is held in Piglio a small town of under 5 thousand in which animated figures seemingly made from grapes mingle in the crowd.
On Octoberís first two weekends the little city of Soriano del Cimino, population under 9 thousand, hosts a Chestnut Festival and Historical Parade featuring flag-weaving, archery contests, and jousting. From Octoberís first Sunday for a week Rome hosts an International Horse Show that is truly international. If you are into horsesÖ
The fourth Sunday of the month Rome offers an antique show in the Piazza Verdi with over 100 exhibitors. Towards the end of the month and in early November not far from the elegant Via dei Babuion youíll find the 100 Pittori in via Margutta (100 painters on Via Margutta).
And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Latium 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 Latium