Not my idea of winter fun.
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 winter vacation, describing regional spectacles, tourist attractions, and special events, and sometimes skiing and other winter sports. Italian winter 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 winter festivals. When we say winter, we mean November to February; spring comes early in Italy. Don’t look here for information about Italy’s marvelous Carnivale; we are planning a separate series covering regional Carnivale celebrations. Talk about planning; start organizing your Italian winter holidays now. Keep reading.
Liguria on the Italian Riviera is a major tourist destination for much of the year. Not surprisingly, it is fairly quiet during the winter months. There are, however, some activities to enjoy even during the winter. For example, the San Remo Yacht Club holds winter championship regattas on many November, December, and January weekends.
As everywhere else in Italy, Christmas is a very important time for most Ligurians. Ligurian villages and towns that offer living nativity scenes include Calizzano, Diano Arentino, and Roccavignale. Ligura’s capital and major city, Genoa, is home to NATALIDEA-IDEANEVE for about a week in mid-December. This is a major Christmas market fair and you’ll find a wide variety of handicrafts, food, wine, and many other items for sale.
Visit this beautiful town any time of year.
Christmas time is also a feast for the ears. Outside churches and in many city squares in Naples, other locations in southern Italy, and even Rome you’’ll hear bagpipe and flutes played by zampognari and pifferai often dressed in multicolored traditional costumes with sheepskin vests, long white stockings, and dark cloaks. Naples hosts a December Christmas market near Via San Gregorio Armeno, known for its many nativity workshops. Some vendors are dressed in traditional shepherd costumes.
Every January San Remo hosts a festival of street artists and buskers. It’s also the site of a Flower’s Festival and Flowers Parade in which every city of the Italian Riviera presents an original composition of flowers displayed on a Carnival/Mardi-Gras style float. Don’t be surprised that this beautiful city is known as “The City of the Flowers.” Late February in San Remo means the Italian Song Festival which is the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest. While you are in San Remo make sure to visit La Pigna (The Pine Cone), the medieval city.
With a little luck, the local weather will start getting better in February. Be sure to visit the town of Taggia that hosts a Historical Parade when February turns into March. They have been doing so since 1626, and even if you don’t know Italian you’ll enjoy the short stage plays. Why not visit Taggia’s center and compare it to the San Remo version? And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Liguria wines including Cinque Terre, Rossese di Dolceacqua, and Riviera Ligure di Potente.
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 Liguria, Italy