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.
Piazza Walther (Waltherplatz) in Bolzano (Bozen).
The Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy sits on the border of Switzerland and Austria. It is largely mountainous territory and you wonít be feeling the spring in early March. But thereís a lot to do and see in any season and before very long the weather will be warming up. The food and the wine are often high quality. Thereís another interesting factor that you may not be aware of. This region, in particular the Alto-Adige subregion, is quite Germanic. In a sense youíll tour two countries for the price of one. Since we mentioned the word price, be forewarned, touring the Trentino-Alto Adige region does not come cheap.
Bolzano (Bozen) Spring Wine Festival
You might start your spring visit at Bressanone, called Brixen in German, a city of some 20 thousand about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Bolzano. Enjoy its Gastronomic Week, which despite its name runs for more than two weeks starting in early March. For more than 30 years the local restaurants in Bressanone and the neighboring Valle Isarco/Eisacktal have run this festival to showcase Tyrol food specialties. Enjoy them with a local wine. Castelrotto (Kastelruth in German), population about 6 thousand of which 80% is German speaking, is located about 12 miles (20 kilometers) northeast of Bolzano. Starting on Marchís second Sunday it hosts A Week of Nostalgia, a competition of skiers from all over Italy and many areas of Europe. Whatís so special about this event? The skiersí clothes and equipment are about one hundred years old.
The town of Egna (Neumarkt in German), population about 4500, situated about 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of Bolzano hosts the Alto-Adige Marathon on the second Sunday of April. This course is really beautiful, passing through the local mountain towns. At the end of the month Alto-Adigeís capital Bolzano (Bozen in German), population about 100 thousand, located some 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of the Trentino capital Trento presents the Festa dei Fiori, a century-old celebration of spring. This Festa is held in the automobile-free Piazza Walther (Waltherplatz) named for Twelfth Century German wandering minstrel Walther von der Vogelweide who lampooned the papacy and supported the Holy Roman Emperor. His statue was removed during the days of Mussolini but replaced after World War II.
Head to Trento, population over 100 thousand, for the Trento Film Festival whose watchwords are Mountain, Exploration, and Adventure for about ten days starting at the end of April. Bolzano presents a great wine exhibition in the Mareccio (Maretsch) Castle not far from the city center for a few days in mid-May. If youíre in the neighborhood at the end of May go to the Speck Festival, celebrating this local specialty, cured and seasoned raw bacon. There are lots of other local foods and wines as well as costumed musicians. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Trentino-Alto Adige 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 Trentino-Alto Adige