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 September vacation, describing regional spectacles, tourist attractions, and special events, and sometimes sports. Italian fall holidays have several advantages: You won’t 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 Piedmont region of northwestern Italy borders on France, Switzerland, and Val d’Aosta, a tiny Alpine French-speaking enclave. Here summer is really summer, so if you aren’t a fan of hot, hot weather you may prefer a September vacation. To save space all locations are in The Piedmont unless Val d’Aosta is specifically mentioned. On the third and the fourth of September the village of Monterosso Grana, population about 570 hosts its provincial folk festival. Then head to the small city of Moncalvo, population 3300, for its Boiled Meat Festival, including an exhibition of local wines and an all-you-can-eat contest. The village of Castiglione Tinella, population about 800, is home to a Moscato Wine Festival during the first week. Frankly, when you are in The Piedmont you can do better than Moscato. On September 8 the Val d’Aosta village of Verrayes, population about 1300, hosts a gastronomic festival. Around September 9 look for a wine festival in the village of Barolo, population under 700. Barolo is known as the king of wines, and the wine of kings. There are castles as well.
During the first two weeks of the month, Asti, a city of about 75 thousand holds its Douja d'Or Wine Festival named for an ancient local wine container. You’ll get a chance to sample some fine wines from all over Italy. In addition there are seminars, exhibitions and an abundance of food stalls. On the second Sunday of September Asti honors the Contadino of Monferrato, a symbolic Italian peasant, a true symbol of Italy until the 1950s. There are over 3 thousand costumed participants some of whom arrive in carts pulled by oxen, horses, and goats. That same weekend the little village of Acceglio on the French border whose population is well under 200 celebrates the cows and cowboys who are returning from the Alps before the cold takes over. Or you can go to the city of Rivoli, population 50 thousand, and view their “Once upon a time there was a King” celebration in which over 2,000 costumed people transform the main city piazza into a scene from the 30s, the 1730s. That Saturday the village of Castellinaldo, population less than 900, honors Arneis wines, along with food and music.
If you are in the region capital of Aosta, population 35 thousand, visit its traditional gastronomic autumn exhibition. On the third weekend the city of Ceva numbering less than 6 thousand hosts its Mostra del Fungo Festival, attracting an international crowd and over 400 varieties. That Sunday Cherasco, population over 7 thousand, hosts its Mercato di Antiquariato e Collezionismo boasting 650 exhibitors covering 5 kilometers (about 3 miles). The Palio of Asti running that weekend claims it to be the oldest in Italy. This inter-neighborhood competition started in 1275 and boasts 1200 exquisitely costumed people and 300 horses.
The small town of Moncalvo, population 3000, holds a similar donkey competition on September 25. The last Sunday the Val d’Aosta village of Chambave, population under a thousand, hosts a traditional grape festival including folklore exhibits and a masked parade whose participants are festooned in historic, traditional local dress. In The Piedmont September’s final weekend is quite busy. The village of Carema, population under 800, hosts their Festival of the Grape and Wine as does the medieval town of Costigliole Saluzzo, population 3000, that also boasts three ancient castles. Or you can enjoy a donkey race in the village of Villalvernia, population 900, complete with a castle and medieval costumes.
And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Piedmont and Val d'Aosta 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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September events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in Piedmont and Val d'Aosta