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.
Traditional spring parade in Pontida, Lombardy.
The Lombardy region of northwestern Italy borders on Switzerland so you can well imagine that spring doesnít always start in early March. This region is home to the fashion and economic capital of Italy, Milan, and is also the lake region of Italy. You wonít regret a spring visit.
The first Monday of March the village of Nesso, population 1300, situated about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Milan holds the Fiera di Marzo, a country fair of merchandise and animals on a bank of Lake Como. On or about the March 18 the small town of Lezzeno, population 2 thousand, also situtated about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Milan hosts its annual Palio dei Falo (Bonfire Competition), a centuries old tradition in which neighborhoods compete for the largest, loveliest, and the most unusual bonfire.
Mille Miglia, hundreds of thousands spectators.
The town of Castelleone, population 9 thousand, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Milan starts their Bonfire of San Guiseppe early on March 19 when runners carry a small statue from the Sanctuary of Caravaggio to the Church of Santa Maria of Misericordia. Then a large parade carries the statue throughout the town streets. At night thereís a giant bonfire accompanied by food and wine. Brembio, population 2400, some 28 miles (45 kilometers) southeast of Milan hosts a Rabbit Show with hundreds of those furry creatures around March 19. On March 31 Zogno a city of 9 thousand 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Milan celebrates the Ciacciata di Marzo (Kicking March Out!) Festival, where the young people take to the streets in the afternoon and evening, ringing cowbells to say goodbye to Old Man Winter.
The city of Cremona, population about 72 thousand, some 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Milan holds an antique show called A Thousand Toys. Many of the toys are hundreds of years old. Whether or not you have kids circle the first Sunday in April on your calendar. On April 9 and 10 the town of Pontida, population 3 thousand some 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Milan hosts a costumed parade commemorating a local alliance to fight the head of the Holy Roman Empire, Federico Barbarossa. A little later in the month the city of Brescia whose population is about 200 thousand holds a firearms and accessories show.
On the second weekend of May Brescia hosts the Mille Miglia (Thousand Mile Race), a non-competitive version of the world famous auto race of the 30's and 40's. Hundreds of thousands of spectators watch almost 400 classic cars zip through the city streets as part of a thousand mile (1600 kilometer) race throughout northern and central Italy. The city of Legnano, population about 60 thousand, holds its Carroccio Festival & Palio delle Contrade on May 23rd to celebrate a military victory in 1176. Hundreds of people parade in medieval costumes followed by an ox cart and then a horse race. A few days later the city of Caravaggio, population 16 thousand, located 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of you know where, hosts the Madonna of the Fountain celebration commemorating Madonnaís miraculous appearance in 1432 to console a young woman in distress. Why not celebrate the final Sunday of May in the beautiful walled city of Bergamo, population 120 thousand, situated about 60 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Milan at the Bergamo Marathon? You may even apply to run. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Lombardy 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 Lombardy