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Touring Italy In Winter - Visit Tuscany

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by: Levi Reiss
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Word Count: 435
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2013 Time: 3:51 AM

The Tuscany region of central Italy is famous for wine and food. Tuscany is proud of their white truffles, one of the tastiest and most expensive "mushrooms" in the world. On the second, third and fourth weekends November, why not visit La Sagra del Tartufo Bianco (Festival of the White Truffle) in the medieval hilltop town of San Miniato? Besides the food you can enjoy craft displays, theater performances, and marching bands. You may be able to get a room at the Convento di San Franceso, and have more money to spend on those delicious truffles. San Giovanni d'Asso, near Siena, hosts a truffle festival the second and third weekends of November and is home to a truffle museum open on weekends.

The thousand-year old town of Suvereto holds a ten-day wild boar festival in late November culminating a feast on or about December 8. They showcase other local products including honey and olive oil. This festival includes historical reenactments, archery competitions and exhibitions, and other costumed medieval competitions. The traditional wines to accompany boar include Tuscany's Brunello di Montalchino and Barolo from neighboring Piedmont.

Florence Noel starts at the end of November and runs through the first week of December. This family event includes children's activities such as visiting Babbo Natale (Father Christmas). Everyone will enjoy the chocolate, food, music, and nativity village. You will find Tuscan Christmas markets in Florence's Piazza Santa Croce with a German touch, Siena, Lucca's Piazza San Michele, Arezzo, Montepulciano, and Pisa.

Barga, a beautiful medieval hill town in northern Tuscany, hosts a living nativity and Christmas pageant on December 23. Abbadia di San Salvatore, near Montalcino, celebrates the Fiaccole di Natale (Festival of Christmas Torches) on Christmas Eve with caroling and torchlight processions.

If you're touring Tuscany during January don't miss Il Palio di Sant'antonio Abate in Buti near Pisa held on the first Sunday after January 17. Festivities begin with a procession of people wearing their neighborhood's colors. The afternoon horse race pits local neighborhoods against each other. The winner is awarded the special banner known as the Palio.

The small town of Vernio hosts a Chestnut Polenta Festival at the end of February or the beginning of March called the Festa della Polenta o "Pulendina". It commemorates the 1512 famine, which was broken by the local count who gave the people chestnut polenta, cod, and herring. Don't sleep in, at 9 a.m. there is a medieval pageant with over five hundred participants along the town streets. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Tuscan wines including Chianti, Brunello di Montalchino, and Vino Nobile de Montepulciano.

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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