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.
Vinitaly, just one reason to visit Veneto in the spring.
The region of Veneto lies on the Gulf of Venice in northeastern Italy. Its capital Venice is home to an extremely popular Carnival and is one of the world’s top tourist spots year round. As in so many other places, spring here is more of an April and May thing than a March thing. But Venice is still Venice. And as you will see below, the region of Venezia offers more than just Venice.
The historic city of Venezia (Venice) has a population of only some 60 thousand in a much larger urban area. Venice has always had a special relationship with the water, both the canals and the sea. On March 25 the Doge, that’s the city’s chief of state, tosses a wedding ring into the sea in a symbolic marriage ceremony saying “We wed you, Oh sea, as a sign of true and perpetual dominion.” On the last Sunday of March the resort city of Cortina d’Ampezzo (population 6 thousand) in the Dolomites not far from Austria hosts the fourth and final leg of the Italian Winter Triathalon that includes foot racing, mountain biking and skiing. Previous sites were in Piancavallo (Friuli-Giulia Venezia), Malles (Trentino-Alto Adige) and Courmayeur (Val d’Aosta).
Bassano del Grappa, asparagus and more.
Verona is a city of about 250 thousand. From several days in early April it hosts Vinitaly, said to be the number one Italian wine festival of the year. Just to get an idea of its magnitude there are more than 3 thousand exhibitors and an estimated 100-150 thousand participants from almost 80 countries. This exhibition is accompanied by an Agrifood exhibition, an olive oil exhibition, and a showcase of technological applications for wine and olive oil.
The city of Bassano del Grappa, population about 40 thousand located some 20 miles (35 kilometers) north of Venice hosts an Asparagus Festival from the end of April to the beginning of May. The celebration focuses on white asparagus, grown here for centuries after a hailstorm forced farmers to harvest part of the crop underground. In the interest of full disclosure this city is also a major production center for Grappa, a grape-based brandy containing from 37% to 60% alcohol.
On the first of May Venice celebrates Vela Venezia, a day consecrated to sail boats held in the lagoon just off of St. Mark's Square. On May’s first weekend it’s off to the medieval walled city of Montagnana for their Piacere Montagnana, a gastronomic festival showcasing the local prosciutto ham accompanied by music and I daresay some local wine. Both the city walls and the ham are said to be among the best in Europe. I can’t say the same for the local wine. For about ten days in early May the small town of Cimadolmo celebrates their Festival of White Asparagus including music, dancing, and soccer tournaments. The best wine for Asparagus is said to be the Gruener Veltliner an Austrian. If you want to go with an Italian I would try a Falanghina from southern Italy. If you want a Venetian wine go for Soave Superiore, but make sure to get a good one. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Veneto 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 Veneto