There's great skiing in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy.
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 winter vacation, describing regional spectacles, tourist attractions, and special events, and sometimes skiing and other winter sports. Italian winter 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 winter festivals. When we say winter, we mean November to February; spring comes early in Italy. Donít look here for information about Italyís marvelous Carnivale; we are planning a separate series covering regional Carnivale celebrations. Talk about planning; start organizing your Italian winter holidays now. Keep reading.
The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeastern Italy borders on Austria and Slovenia. This lovely Alpine region shares more than a border with these two countries, Friuli is one of the most multicultural areass of Italy. Youíll taste and see the difference in Friuliís food, wine, and festivals. Given its location donít be surprised that there are lots of opportunities for excellent skiing. This article presents other winter attractions.
Kids, choose between Santa and Krampus.
Trieste, the regional capital, holds its Christmas market, Fiera di San Nicolo, during the first week of December. Many Alpine towns and hamlets celebrate the Krampus festivities during the first two weeks of December. Young men disguised in hideous masks roam the streets and frighten children. Unlike Saint Nicholas who gives gifts to good children, Krampus warns and even punishes the bad children. Youíll also see traditional Nativity Scenes everywhere in Friuli. New Yearís Eve festivals include Alessioís Twenty Year Festival, La Koleda in Resia, and Cicigolis (Pulfero). Or you may prefer celebrating this holiday in Trieste at the seaside Piazza dellíUnita díItalia (Italian Unity Square), the largest seaside plaza in Europe. I canít promise you good weather.
January 6 is the feast of Epiphany. Many of the towns and villages hold traditional, colorful celebrations. Gemona del Friuili hosts the Epiphany of the Thaler, a historical parade of dames and knights that accompany the townís Mayor to the Duomo (Cathedral) where a special Mass is recited. Paularo hosts a bonfire known as La Femenate. Tarcentoís Pignarul Giant Bonfire Festival dates back for centuries. A venerable old man tells stories and at the top of a hill lights a bonfire. Legend says that the direction of the smoke serves to predict the nature of the year to come. Other local Epiphany events include Cividaleís Historical Pageant and Costume Parade and Gemonaís Messa del Tallero (Medieval Pageant).
Every February the town of Pordenone holds a Costumed Kangaroo Court. Pracchiuso is known for its celebration of St. Valentine's Day. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Friuli wines including Ramandolo.
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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Winter events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in Friuli, Italy