They don't promise snow 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.
Umbria is a landlocked region of central Italy. Its winters are relatively mild. Of course, the higher the elevation, the more snow and wind. The Perugia Antique Trade Fair runs for about a week from the end of October in Umbriaís capital. Then go to the Citta di Castello Truffle and Forest Products Fair on the weekend that starts on the first Friday of November. In addition to peerless white truffles youíll find delicacies such as mushrooms, chestnuts, honey, wild-berry jams and some great oil, wine and cheeses. Towards the end of November visit the Torgiano Tasting of Italian Wines that focuses on Umbrian wine. Donít miss the local wine museum.
Perugiaís Christmas market starts in early December and runs for about a month. It includes crafts, movies, music, family shows and food. The Soul Christmas festival of gospel music starts a few days later in the theaters and churches of Lake Trasimeno. Mount Ingino, perched above the small town of Gubbio, Umbria, boasts a huge Christmas tree, the tallest in the world with some 500 lights. Itís about half a mile (800 meters) high and the star on top can be seen for almost 30 miles (50 kilometers.) The tree is lit on 7 December, the evening before the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
You may want to spend Christmas in Assisi, the home of Italyís patron saint, Francis of Assisi. Umbrian nativity scenes and holiday concerts abound; the list of towns and villages is too long to reproduce here. Cittŗ di Castello celebrates Christmas Eve on the Tiber River. Several canoeists, each dressed as Father Christmas, wend their lighted canoes to the Porta San Florido Bridge where a crib is suspended over the water. They exit their canoes and give small presents to the children.
Talk about a tree, this is the world's largest.
For several days starting in late, late December Orvieto is the site of the Umbria Jazz Winter Festival. There are concerts from noon until late at night in several locations including the Fourteenth Century Palazzo Soliano. Donít miss the New Year's Eve feast or, for a change of pace, the New Year's Day gospel concert held in the magnificent Cathedral.
The Umbrian town of Terni celebrates their patron saint, Valentino, with a jewelry exhibition and contest and a torchlight parade. On the third Sunday of February Spello hosts an Olive and Bruschetta Festival. The month of February ends with the Norcia Fair devoted to the Norcia Black Truffle and typical specialties from the Valnerina. Besides great food youíll enjoy music, dancing, crafts, folklore, and sports events. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Umbria wines including Montefalco Sagrantino, and Torgiano Rosso Riserva.
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 Umbria, Italy