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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Love Touring Italy - Springtime In the Sardinia Region

Costa SmeraldaImage via WikipediaSardinia is an island located to the west of mainland Italy in the Mediterranean Sea south of Rome and almost entirely south of Naples. Don't be surprised that spring starts early here. And it is beautiful, at least much of the time. Many people feel that Sardinian spring weather is more pleasant than that of the Sardinian summer. So you have yet another reason to vacation here during Primavera. The small town of Sardara, population about 4500, is located some 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Cagliari, the regional capital in the south of the island. On March 12 it commemorates the death of its Patron Saint San Gregorio Magno in the lovely early Fourteenth Century church that carries his name. This is the religious ceremony. The festive version occurs on September 3.

Cagliari's population is approximately 160 thousand; its metropolitan area is home to some 400 thousand. On the fourth Sunday of April the city hosts the Cagliari Marathon that passes through some very spectacular coastline. You can actually apply to be part of this event, even if you aren't Sardinian.

The start of May in Cagliari is dedicated to Sant'Efisio, an officer in Roman Emperor Diocletian's army who was sent to curb Sardinia's Christian communities. He had a vision and converted to Christianity. After refusing to renounce his faith he was beheaded in 303 in nearby Nora. According to tradition in 1652 the Saint saved Cagliari from a plague that devastated the city, killing half of its inhabitants. The religious celebration lasts a full four days. Ceremonies start in Nora at noon on May 1; his statue leaves the local church in a gold-plated Seventeenth Century coach drawn by oxen. Accompanied by traditional music the coach visits local villages during three days. An estimated five thousand people participate in the procession that includes dozens of specially decorated ox-carts and horsemen in traditional garb. On the fourth of the month the Saint's statue returns to Cagliari where it is greeted by thousands of torch carrying worshippers. The celebration ends with a huge banquet featuring Cagliari's excellent seafood. This is one very special traditional religious celebration, among the largest and most fervent in the world.

For a change of pace visit Porto Cervo, an upscale seaside resort in northern Sardinia's Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) a major home away from home for the jet set, or should I say the yacht set? In mid May there is a Yacht Race, which is said to be the most exclusive sailing event in Italy. Of course the exact date and time of the race depends on the weather conditions. Try to get into the local observatory high on a granite cliff for an excellent view of the race and bragging rights. I am told that you, or at least a select few, can follow the race by car.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but would rather drink fine French, German, or other wine, paired with the right foods. He loves teaching computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel, wine, and food website and his wine, diet, health, and nutrition website



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