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.
Don't get out of the wheelbarrow.
The Marches is a narrow region of central Italy on the Adriatic Sea. Its capital and largest city, Ancona, population 100 thousand is a seaport in the middle of the region. This is the real Italy. Like many parts of Italy, the region warms quickly during the spring months. You may want to start your spring vacation in The Marches in the town of Porto San Giorgio, population about 16 thousand, about halfway down the Adriatic coast from Ancona. On the third weekend of March this city holds a Food Festival of typical regional products with literally hundreds of stalls and stands. One of the best wines in this region, the Rosso Conero Riserva DOCG comes from this area.
Fifteenth Century Camerino, Italy festival.
The city of Fermignano, population 8500, located about 40 miles (70 kilometers) west of Ancona, holds the Golden Frog Race (Palio) on the Sunday after Easter, for example on April 11, 2010 and May 1, 2011. In this race human competitors must keep their tiny racing frogs from leaving their wheelbarrows. This frog racing traditions seems to have started just over four hundred years ago. The late afternoon race is followed by a historical, costumed pageant and then fireworks. I wouldnít ask for frogs legs at a local trattoria.
During the final week of April the city of Marotta di Mondolfo, population about 11 thousand, situated approximately 25 miles (35 kilometers west of Ancona) hosts the Sagra dei Garagoj food festival. The term ďGaragojĒ is dialect for a special fish cooked by local fishermen on the beach. You might want to accompany this fish with a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC or a Verdicchio di Matelica DOC white wine but be careful, their quality varies greatly.
On the first Sunday in May, the town of Tolentino, population about 20 thousand presents the historic Le Marche Festa, a military pageant that recreates the Napoleonic period in its nearby Castello della Rancia commemorating the 1815 battle that some call the first battle in the war for Italian independence. The town of Camerino, population 7 thousand, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Ancona, holds the Fifteenth Century Le Marche Festa between the first and second weeks of May that coincides with the festival of its patron saint, San Venanzio This celebration features food, games, and wine. One of the highlights is the Corsa alla spada in which competitors race up the town's wonderful steep alleys and streets. Donít miss the Giostra della Quintana (historical jousting tournament). I canít promise you any Fifteenth Century wine. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine The Marches 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 The Marches