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Touring Italy In Winter Vacations - Sardinia

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by: Levi Reiss
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Word Count: 403
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2013 Time: 2:52 PM

The beautiful island of Sardinia east of the Italian mainland has a relatively mild winter. But you won't want to sit in your shirtsleeves in a seaside café sipping a local wine. That pleasure will have to wait for the other seasons. November 1 is the day of the Dead, and in Nuoro many families prepare a feast and leave room at the table for departed loved ones. They cook lots of extra food and share the meal with their less fortunate neighbors. Then the people join the holy procession to the Madonna delle Grazie sanctuary, where village from neighboring villages sing hymns. The village of Desulo holds a 'Mountain Products Agricultural Fair' with handicraft and painting exhibitions during the first week of November.

Santa Lucia is a beloved saint whose December 13th festival is celebrated in several towns including Nurachi Tempio. The regional capital Cagliari hosts a Christmas Fair for two weeks in December that features traditional crafts, food, and wine.

Alghero is a great place to spend New Year's Eve, especially in the Old Town whose piazzas host live music concerts culminating in a grand firework display over the harbor. There are firecrackers in the streets, and most bars remain open until at least 6 am the following morning! St. Anthony's Day is widely celebrated in Sardinia on January 16 and 17. Ancient tradition tells us that the saint, like Prometheus, stole into hell and brought back fire, so a bonfire is at the center of the festivities. Each of the towns places different herbs and fruits atop their own blaze, creating a unique aroma. The local women bring sweets and dark fruity loaves of pane nigheddu, while the men enjoy wine and aquavit. The most spectacular celebration is said to be in Mamoiada, where 12 frightening masks called mamuthones represent the months of the year. I guess that you might think it's a warm up for Carnivale, discussed in another article.

Every weekend from early January to mid February Alghero holds its Bogamari Sea Urchin Festival that dates back to the days when Sardinia was ruled by Catalonia; this town's nickname is still Barcelonetta and the old people still speak a form of Catalan. The local restaurants offer specials such as Spaghetti al Riccio di mare (Spaghetti a la Sea Urchins) best enjoyed with indigenous white wine. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Sardinia wines including Vermentino di Gallura.

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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