You'll love Venice at any time of year, including Christmas.
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.
Donít expect mild winter weather in Veneto in northeastern Italy. But there you can still enjoy yourself while waiting for spring. The city of Verona hosts The International Horse Show on the second weekend of November. When they say international, they mean it. Try not to miss the costumed parade on opening day. Venice commemorates its deliverance from the plague in 1621 with the Festival della Salute held on November 21 at the Madonna della Salute Church.
For about a month starting in early December Venice hosts the Natale di Vetro, Christmas in glass on Murano Island. The festival starts by honoring San Nicolo the patron saint of glass blowers. There's a glassworks regatta, a glass blowing school including sessions for children, exhibitions, and even a wine tasting by invitation. The seaside town of Bibione holds a Living Nativity Scene at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in December. Trevisoís annual Radicchio Festival is also held in December. That would be a good place to answer the burning question: What wine with Radicchio? My offhand answer is an Italian Pinot Grigio. For Christmas markets try Campo Santo Stefano in Venice and Verona. Check the dates carefully; these markets may close earlier than you think.
Venice is a fine place to celebrate New Year's Eve, especially if youíre in love. The choices include expensive restaurants and a public celebration on St Mark's Square that includes music, a giant fireworks display, bellini brindisi (toast), and a huge group kiss at midnight. An estimated 60 thousand people participate in this group kiss and the companion one at in Piazza Ferretto in Mestre, Venice.
Read about La Befana below.
On New Year's Day you may enjoy a dip in the waters of Venice's Lido Beach. Be warned, itís pretty cold. But it may cure you of your hangover. According to legend a white haired witch known as La Befana arrives by broomstick during the night of January 5 and fills stockings with toys and sweets for the good children and lumps of coal for the bad ones. On January 6 Venice sports the Befana races in which men dressed as La Befana race boats on the Grand Canal.
Verona hosts an international display of nativity scenes in its Arena throughout January. For the first half of January the seaside resort of Jesolo presents sand sculpture nativity scenes in the Piazza Marconi made by top international artists. Charitable donations are requested. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Veneto wines including Bardolino, Recioto di Soave, and Soave 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 Veneto, Italy