Mount Sibilini, often snow covered until late spring.
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.
The Marche region of central Italy borders the Adriatic Sea. The winters get fairly cold and the mountains have plenty of snow. You know what that means. This region is relatively unspoiled; if you want to visit the “Real Italy” the Marche can be a good choice, even in winter.
Kiddies, what will it be, sweets or coal?
The Marche is truffle country. Acqualagna is a town that calls itself the "truffle capital." It holds a white truffle fair on weekends starting at the end of October through mid-November. You’ll find another truffle fair on weekends, mid-October through early November in Sant'Angelo in Vado. On Saturday nights there is live music as well. Pay careful attention to the full town name; Italy is home to several Sant’Angelos and to my knowledge the other ones are not truffle territory.
One Christmas tradition that occurs all across Italy are the Nativity Scenes called Presepi. There’s a fine example called Citta' dei Presepi in the town of Loreto. This town is best known for its Santuario della Santa Casa (Shrine of the Holy House), a Catholic pilgrimage site. In addition to Easter week, Loreto greets many pilgrims on December 10, the Feast of the Holy House. The Museo Tipologico del Presepio (Nativity Scene Museum) in Macerata boasts a collection of more than four thousand nativity artifacts including a Seventeenth Century masterpiece from Naples.
According to Italian tradition, the Befana is a good witch who brings sweets to the good children and coal to the bad ones on the 6th of January. According to local residents she lives in the town of Urbania. Residents start the celebration about January 2, but the high point is the parade on the night of January 5. Once you are there, you will want to check out the town’s many attractions and visit the beautiful Renaissance hill town of Urbino, a UNESCO World Heritage site only about 10 miles (17 kilometers) away. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Marche wines including Rosso Conero Riserva, and Vernaccia de Serrapetrona.
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 Marche, Italy