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.
This Roman Forum was once the center of the world.
Latium, also called Lazio, is located in central Italy on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Pretty well smack in its center lies Rome, the Eternal City, the capital of Italy and according to its locals, the capital of the world. I don’t think you need any festivals or special events to visit Rome. We still choose to present some Roman events, as well as special attractions taking place elsewhere in Latium which represent the real Italy.
Try this delicious Latium specialty.
I don’t know how you feel about Julius Caesar but should you want to commemorate his murder by Brutus on March 14th, 44 B.C. You won’t have any trouble finding cultural events near his statue at the Roman Forum, pretty well in the center of the city. On the very same day the small town of Marta, population about 3,5000, located some 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Rome hosts the Barabbata, an ancient festival with a procession of farmers and fishermen representing their guilds, tools, and products. Announced by drum rolls, they pass the local church three times, stopping to taste the local wine and Ciambelle, a traditional bread whose snakelike shape is linked to pagan spring festivals. On the third Saturday of the month Rome hosts a Marathon with more than six thousand competitors representing about 50 countries, starting at the Forum and ending at the nearby Colosseum but taking the scenic route. This marathon event (pun intended) virtually closes the city.
The city of Sezze, whose population numbers about 20 thousand, is located some 55 miles (90 kilometers) south of Rome. On the final weekend of April it hosts the Sacre del Carciofo (Artichoke Festival) featuring artichokes from the local countryside as well as the well-known local breads. Be sure to try the “Carciofi alla Romana” (seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and mentuccia, a local member of the mint family) and “Carciofi alla Giudea”, cooked in the Jewish style, fried crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. As delicious as they can be, artichokes are considered difficult to pair with wine. The best choices are Gruener Veltliner from Austria and then Vermentino from the region of Liguria. If you want to stay with a Latium wine, go for a Chardonnay.
Towards the end of May head to the city of Albano Laziale, population about 40 thousand, in the suburbs of Rome to enjoy the Festa delle Minenti, (honoring the minenti, the finest and most beautiful girls in town). This festival includes mandolin concerts, horse races, and allegorical floats decorated with flowers. There is a wine tasting and the election of the beauty queen who gets to ride on the floats. On the second Saturday of May the medieval city of Vetralla, home to some 18 thousand, hosts the Wedding of the Trees. Two huge oaks are decked out for a wedding to commemorates a papal decree of 1470 that gave the people ownership of a local forest. There’s nuts and candy and other food. 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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Spring events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in Latium, Italy