I Love Touring Italy - Springtime In Molise
Molise is a small region of central Italy that lies on the Adriatic Sea. The resort city of Termoli is home to 30 thousand people, many of whom are devoted to San Giuseppe and have altars to him in their homes. Here many celebrate his saint's day by praying and singing all through the night of March 18th. Traditionally people invite just about everyone the following day to enjoy a real feast.
The village of Capracotta, population about one thousand, at the other end of the region celebrates this day very differently when cross-country skiers from all across Italy meet and run a national relay race for the E. Angelaccio cup. The village of Montemitro, population about 500, celebrates its patron Saint Lucia on April tenth when a procession carries an ancient statue of the saint to a little rural church. This commemorates the arrival of Slavic refugees fleeing from Turkish domination about five centuries ago. The festival continues in the early afternoon with the auctioning of homemade products. You may want to finish the month in the town of San Martino in Pensilis, population five thousand, about 30 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of Campobasso as explained below.
The high point in the feast of Saint Leo (the town's Patron Saint) is the Carrese, a race in which trained oxen haul farm wagons. It is so exhausting that oxen teams change after two and a half miles (four kilometers). Historically this race started when various groups of people were arguing about the ownership of valued local relics. They put the disputed relics on a wagon and let the oxen decide
the route. Those wise oxen chose San Martino in Pensilis. Each cart includes three drivers accompanied by a horse and rider to ensure everyone's safety. The onlookers cheer their favorite team in Italian and Albanese, a version of Albanian spoken by many of the residents. There is lots of food and local wine. The winner leads a parade back into town.
Many Molise towns and villages start the month of May with festivals dedicated to Santa Maria, San Filippo and San Giacomo, often accompanied by fireworks. The little city of Larino, population about 7 thousand, hosts the Feste 'e San Pard (San Pardo Festival and Procession) towards the end of the month. This procession includes over one hundred carts, which belong to local families. Each cart is richly decorated with flowers and pulled by two white oxen. The parade starts off at the historic town center, passes by the cathedral and cemetery, and terminates at a historic church. You can ascertain the local pecking order by noting the carts' position in the procession.
Levi Reiss wrote or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but to tell the truth, 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. Check out his wine website http://www.theworldwidewine.com with a weekly column reviewing $10 wines and new sections writing about (theory) and tasting (practice) organic and kosher wines.