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 spring vacation, describing regional spectacles, tourist attractions, and special events, and sometimes sports. Italian spring 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 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.
Segavecchia, Old Woman Winter, Emilia-Romagna spring festival.
The region of Emilia-Romagna stretches almost all the way across northern Italy from the Gulf of Venice on the east to Tuscany and Liguria (the Italian Riviera) on the west. As in so many other parts of Italy the spring months are not very pleasant in early spring but it warms up fairly quickly. This region is known for its food, even the perhaps unfortunately named provincial capital of Bologna.
Go fly a kite.
In the middle of Lent the town of Forlimpopoli, population about 13 thousand celebrates Segavecchia, the burning of the effigy of “Old Woman Winter.” This story can get pretty bloody; in one version a woman is sawed in half by her husband and sons but they repent and she comes back to life. On the second or third Sunday in March the small town of Casalfiumanese, population about 3 thousand holds the Bologna Ravioli Festival. Here Bologna refers to the provincial name. By the way, the city of Bologna is known for its tortellini. You don’t have to go very far in Italy to change the local pasta specialties. On or about the 25th to 27th March, the city of Cavriago, home to about 9 thousand, hosts the Festival del Bue Grasso, a two hundred-year-old cattle fair that includes many demonstrations of old crafts and great food stands. The small town of Rocca San Casciano, population about 2 thousand, located about 40 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of Bologna hosts its Festa dei Falò (Bonfires Feast), said to originate in Celtic Pagan rites.
Start the month of April a few days early in the city of Vignola, population 23 thousand with a cherry festival. You can eat all kinds of cherry dishes and drink cherry wine. There’s a free train ride from Vignola to Bologna and back where you can learn about the history of the cherry in the specially decorated train interior. This celebration continues until mid-April. The second Sunday of April means a very unique commemoration. The city of Montese, population 3 thousand, holds its Remembrance of Fallen Brazilian Soldiers dedicated to the more than 15,000 Brazilian soldiers who arrived in Napoli in July of 1944 to fight the Germans in the nearby Appenine mountains. The conflict lasted almost 8 months and over four hundred were killed and thousands injured but they were credited with helping in the victory at Montese and elsewhere.
Now that you have the habit, start the month of May about a week early at the seaside resort of Cervia at their International Kite Festival running from April 23 to May 2. You might want to stick around or return for their Sposalizio del Mare (Marriage of the Sea) commemorating a event in 1445 when, according to tradition, the local Bishop of Cervia calmed a storm by pawning his pastoral ring. On the day of the Ascension, after a week of celebrations, a historical procession accompanies the Bishop to the open sea, where he blesses the Adriatic and tosses a wedding ring into the sea, surrounded by brightly-coloured historical vessels. On the last Sunday in May there’s a Medieval Parade and Jousting Tournament near the fortress of Grazzano Visconti that you won’t want to miss. It commemorates the late Fourteenth Century marriage of the daughter of the local bigwig to the brother of the king of France. Finish the month in the historic city of Ferarra, population some 135 thousand, located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Bologna at their Palio di San Giorgio Medieval Parade and Race. This race ran continuously from 1279 (the world’s oldest Palio) to 1869. There are an unbelievable one thousand locals dressed in costume. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Emilia-Romagna 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.
Feel free to reprint this entire article which must include the resource box
Spring events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in Emilia-Romagna