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.
Sant'Efisio Sardinia huge traditional religious celebration.
Sardinia is an island to the west of mainland Italy in the Mediterranean Sea south of Rome and almost entirely south of Naples. Donít be surprised that spring starts early here. And it is beautiful, at least much of the time. Many people find the Sardinian spring weather more pleasant than that of the Sardinian summer. So you have yet another reason to vacation here during Primavera.
The small town of Sardara, population about 4500, is located some 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Cagliari, the regional capital in the south of the island. On March 12 it commemorates the death of its Patron Saint San Gregorio Magno in the beautiful early Fourteenth Century church of the same name. This is the religious ceremony. The festive version occurs on September 3.
Bring your yacht.
Cagliariís population is 160 thousand; its metropolitan area is home to some 400 thousand. On the fourth Sunday of April the city hosts the Cagliari Marathon that passes through some very spectacular coastline. You can actually apply to be part of this event, even if you arenít Sardinian.
The start of May in Cagliari is dedicated to SantíEfisio, an officer in Roman Emperor Diocletian's army who was sent to curb Sardiniaís Christian communities. He had a vision and converted to Christianity. After refusing to renounce his faith he was beheaded in 303 in nearby Nora. According to tradition in 1652 the Saint saved Cagliari from a plague that devastated the city, killing half of its inhabitants. The religious celebration lasts a full four days. Ceremonies start in Nora at noon on May 1 when his statue leaves the local church in a gold-plated Seventeenth Century coach drawn by oxen. Accompanied by traditional music the coach visits the local villages for three days. An estimated five thousand people participate in the procession which includes dozens of specially decorated ox-carts and traditionally dressed horsemen. On the fourth of the month the Saintís statue returns to Cagliari where it is greeted by thousands of torch carrying worshippers. The celebration ends with a huge banquet featuring Cagliari's excellent seafood. This is one traditional religious celebration, among the largest and most fervent in the world.
For a change of pace visit Porto Cervo, an upscale seaside resort in northern Sardiniaís Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) a major home away from home for the jet set, or should I say the yacht set? In mid May there is a Yacht Race, said to be the most exclusive sailing event in Italy. Of course the exact date and time of the race depends on the weather conditions. Try to get into the local observatory high on a granite cliff for an excellent view of the race and bragging rights. I am told that you, or at least a select few, can follow the race by car. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Sardinia 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 Sardinia