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 spring vacation, describing regional spectacles, tourist attractions, and special events, and sometimes sports. Italian spring 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 spring festivals. When we say spring, we mean March to May; spring comes early in much of Italy. Start organizing your Italian spring holidays now. Keep reading.
Tropea Calabria, red onions plus.
Calabria is the toe of the Italian boot, kicking the football which is the island of Sicily. Calabria is almost surrounded by water; there is the Gulf of Taranto to the northeast, the Ionian Sea to the south, and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the east. Given that it is so far south, spring starts early here but you may be in for some surprises, especially in early spring. Calabriaís festivals fall into two basic categories: gastronomic and religious. Given this regionís strategic location it has undergone extensive Ancient Greek and Roman, Norman and Byzantine, French and Spanish influences. Talk about multiculturalism! Each conqueror left more than a trace. Youíll love the festivals and the food.
The month of March here means the Reggio Calabria Orange and Lemon Fair, including dried fruit and traditional wines of Calabria. This international exhibition is held in Reggio di Calabria, the regional capital and largest city whose population is about 185 thousand, just a short ferry ride from the island of Sicily.
Beautiful, medieval Badolato, Calabria. Visit in the spring.
The city of Corigliano Calabro, population about 40 thousand, located near the Gulf of Taranto in eastern Calabria celebrates their patron saint, St. Francis of Paola, on April 25. Old-timers in the Saintís native city of Paola, Calabria located on the western coast talk about a modern miracle. Towards the end of World War II the frightened populace was hiding in the Monastery of St. Francis of Paola. An almost 200 pound (80 kilogram) fell into the crowd, but did not detonate.
Who would associate camels with southern Italy? †During the first week of May, the town of Tropea, population about 7 thousand, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Reggio di Calabria, holds its Camel festival to commemorate the citizens' victory against the Saracens. It seems their leader was condemned and burned with his soldiers after riding a camel down the streets of Tropea. By the way, the town is beautiful, the beach is great, and the local red onions are delicious. I cannot comment on the local red onion ice cream, but next time Iím thereÖ
On the second Saturday of May†the village of Galatro, population 2 thousand, located some 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of the regional capital holds its annual Olive Oil Festival. In the evening youíll enjoy open-air jazz and the liquid to taste switches from olive oil to wine. The walled city of Badolato, population about 3 thousand, located on the eastern coast of Calabria hosts a Calabrian Renaissance Festival held on local beaches. Activities include the Joust on Horseback, the Living Chess Game, Earthquest's Birds of Prey, the Sturdy Beggars Mud Show, and an improvisational comedy of Ask the Village Idiot. You wonít believe the costumes until you see them. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Calabria 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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Spring events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in Calabria