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Touring Italy In Winter - The Mezzogiorno (Apulia, Basilicata, and Calabria)

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by: Levi Reiss
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Word Count: 434
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2013 Time: 12:04 PM

The Mezzogiorno (midday) refers to Italy's three southernmost mainland regions. If we consider Italy to be a boot Apulia on the Adriatic Sea forms the heel, Basilicata with small coastlines on the Gulf of Taranto and the Tyrrhenian Sea forms the instep, and Calabria large coastlines on the Gulf of Taranto, the Tyrrhenian Sea, and the Ionian Sea forms the toe. These three regions tend to be quite traditional and don't get all that many tourists. So much the better for you. Because they are far south winter tends to be rather mild, but I won't tell you that you can sip a drink in an outdoor cafe for hours in mid-January. But you still can enjoy yourself, whether or not you are into winter sports. San Cesarea Terme, Apulia is a seaside town on the rocky coast of the Ionian Sea. It boasts unique Islamic architecture and every November holds a Historical Regatta.

December in Italy means Living Nativity Scenes. The Mezzogiorno is definitely no exception. Some of the most interesting can be found in Celico (Calabria), Paterno (Basilicata), and Pezze di Greco (Apulia). Be sure that you check the dates, the Pezze exposition extends into January. Lecce, Apulia hosts an antique market called Fiera dei presepi e dei pupi. You'll find hand crafted nativity figures and a lot more for about ten days extending to December 24. Other December events include Saint's Day Festivities in Diamante (Calabria), the Papier-mache Fair in San Cesarea Terme (Apulia), and the Pettole Festival in Montescaglioso (Basilicata.)

January is quite filled with festivals in this part of the world. A Palio is a horse race that pits neighborhoods against one another. Pignola, Basilicata hosts the Palio of S. Antonio Abate in mid-January. Villa d'Agri, Basilicata celebrates Befana Canterina. You might remember that Befana is an old woman dressed as a witch who gives sweets to the good kiddies and coal to the bad ones. In mid-January Rotondella, Basilicata hosts the Feast of Sant'Antonio Abate and Feast of Fire Festival on the very next day. Corigliano Calabro is home to the Calabria Orange Festival and Procession.

Don't think that February is quiet in the Mezzogiorno. This is Carnivale time discussed elsewhere. On the third day of the month the town of Tortora, Calabria holds a feast to honor its patron Saint, San Biagio. Rapolla, Basilicata celebrates the Feast of Candelora on February 2 and then the Feast of San Biagio on the following day. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Mezzogiorno wines including Aglianico del Vulture from Basilicata and Greco di Bianco from Calabria.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine with the right foods. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website and his global wine website featuring weekly bargain wine reviews.

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