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 landlocked region of Umbria in central Italy is studded with hilltop towns. Here summer is really summer, so if you arenít a fan of hot, hot weather you may prefer an October vacation. But donít be surprised if the nights are chilly, especially in the hills. Start the month in Assisi, a city of 27 thousand, the birthplace of Italyís beloved patron saint, Francis of Assisi. The most special celebrations are held on the 3rd and 4th of the month in commemoration of his death on October 4, 1226. During Octoberís first week Citta di Castello, a city of 40 thousand on a slope of the Apennines and the flood plain of the river Tiber, hosts the Palio dell'Oca (Palio of the Goose), a goose race. The first Sunday of the month the town of Trevi, population 8 thousand situated on the lower flank of Monte Serano, hosts the Palio dei Terzieri in which three horse-drawn agricultural wagons race to the city center as they have done since 1214.
The hilltop city of Todi overlooking the Tiber river, home to 17 thousand presumably very happy people, has been called worldís most livable city. The second Sunday of every month an antique and flea market is held in the Piazza del Popolo. That Sunday (but only in October) the double-walled city of San Gemini, home to fewer than 5 thousand, presents a Giostra dell'Arme (Jousting Tournament) in which three riders from each of the two opposing neighborhoods compete against each other. Each rider tries to capture a tiny ring onto his lance while riding at a full gallop, and then throw it against a noble coat-of-arms-shaped target divided into areas with different scores. There is plenty of music, fine food, and wine.
The stunning medieval regional capital of Perugia, home to 160 thousand, is chocolate town. From Friday of the third weekend through Sunday of the fourth weekend of October it hosts the EuroChocolate Festival in which 300 thousand visitors indulge themselves with 50 tons of this treat. Entrance to the Perugia Chocolate Museum is free during festival week. Sculptors convert thousand kilogram (2200 pound) blocks of chocolate into art along Corso Vanucci. Yes, you can eat the slivers of chocolate that fall from the carvings. You may want to get a room in the Etruscan Chocohotel, shaped like a gigantic bar of chocolate, with each square an individual room.
From the last weekend of October through the first of November the ancient city of Gubbio, situated on the lowest slope of Mt. Ingino and home to some 32 thousand, boasts its white truffle festival whose full name is Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco e die Prodotti Agro-Alimentari. Other offerings include meadow cheeses, spicy fruit marmalades, honey, local liquors, and a wide variety of artisanal objects.
And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Umbria 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 Umbria