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.
Carrese in Molise Italy, an exhausting race.
Molise is a small region of central Italy on the Adriatic Sea. The resort city of Termoli is home to 30 thousand people, many of whom are devoted to San Giuseppe and have altars to him in their homes. Here many celebrate his day by praying and singing all through the night of March 18th. It is traditional to invite everyone the following day to enjoy a real feast. The village of Capracotta, population about one thousand, at the other end of the region celebrates this day very differently when cross-country skiers from all across Italy meet and run a national relay race for the E. Angelaccio cup.
San Pardo Festival, Larino, Molise Italy.
The village of Montemitro, population about 500, celebrates its patron Saint Lucia on the tenth of April when a procession carries an ancient statue of the saint to a little rural church. This commemorates the arrival of Slavic refugees fleeing from Turkish domination about five centuries ago. The festival continues in the early afternoon with the auctioning of homemade products. You may want to finish the month in the town of San Martino in Pensilis, population five thousand, about 30 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of Campobasso as explained below.
The feast of Saint Leo (the town’s Patron Saint) centers on the Carrese, a race in which trained oxen haul farm wagons. It is so exhausting that oxen teams change after two and a half miles (four kilometers). Historically this race started when various groups of people were arguing about the ownership of valued local relics. They put the disputed relics on a wagon and let the oxen decide the route. Those wise oxen chose San Martino in Pensilis. Each carts include three drivers and is accompanied by a horse and rider to ensure everyone’s safety. The onlookers cheer their favorite team in Italian and Albanese, a version of Albanian spoken by many of the residents. There is lots of food and local wine. The winner leads a parade back into town.
The month of May begins in many Molise towns and villages with festivals dedicated to Santa Maria, San Filippo and San Giacomo, often accompanied by fireworks. The little city of Larino, population about 7 thousand, hosts the Fešte 'e San Pŕrd (San Pardo Festival and Procession) towards the end of the month. This procession includes over one hundred carts, which belong to local families. Each cart is richly decorated with flowers and pulled by two white oxen. The parade starts at the historic town center, passes by the cathedral and cemetery, and terminates at a historic church. You can learn a lot about the local pecking order by noting the carts’ position in the procession. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Molise 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 Molise