No ice skating here.
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 Lombardy region of northwestern Italy is a great place for winter sports. The winter is fairly cold and even rainy in the mountains. But you still can enjoy yourself. In early November the capital Milan hosts the Sei Giorno di Ciclismo (Six days of cycling). Cycling clubs abound in Lombardy. For example, the Viale Monza group meets four mornings a week to cycle from the Piazzale Martesana (in front of the Gaetano Pini). All levels of cyclists are welcome. The last Sunday of every month (except July and August) Milan hosts the open air Naviglio Grande Antiques Fair. The little town of Casteggio holds a White Truffle Festival in November.
Milan celebrates the Festa di Sant'Ambrogio (Festival of Saint Ambrose) on December 7, which coincides with the opening of the Opera season at the world famous La Scala. Make sure to visit the Oh bej! Oh bej! (oh how beautiful) street fair around the Basillica di Sant'Ambroglo. Unlike the opening of La Scala, you wonít need unattainable tickets for the fair.
Milanís historic center hosts a Christmas market from early December through January 6. Youíll find another Christmas market in the Livigno Resort of Sondrio, Lombarday on November and December weekends. In December this resort holds an Art in Ice competition in which ten international teams transform a huge block of pressed snow into a sculpture. These sculptures remain on display until the spring sun melts them.
Don't postpone your trip to the Art in Ice competition.
Milan celebrates Christmas with beautiful nativity scenes also found in many Lombardy towns and villages. Milan is a great city to enjoy New Yearís Eve. If you have recovered by January 6, celebrate Twelfth Night is celebrated with a procession between Sant'Ambroglio and Sant'Eustorgio.
Every February the town of Berbenno di Valtellina holds a medieval festival in celebration of Saint Benigno De' Medici. The festivities start with a procession in the morning and later on thereís music and great food. Saint Faustino's Day, February 15, commemorates the patron saint of Italian singles. He is also the patron saint of Brescia so thatís where youíll find the biggest celebration including a great fireworks display at night. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Lombardy wines including Franciacorta, Sforzato di Valtellina, and Valtellina Superiore.
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 Lombardy, Italy