I Love Touring Italy - Springtime In Apulia
Apulia, also known as Puglia, is a long thin region of southern Italy facing on the Adriatic Sea. Because it is a southern region, spring comes here fairly early. On March 19 the town of Cisternino located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Brindisi hosts the Festival of the Gnemerlidde held in honor of its patron San Giuseppe. In case you don't know, gnemerlidde are lamb giblets cut into strips and rolled up before they are skewered and grilled. Enjoy them with other local specialties including olives ricotta and pecorino goat's milk cheese. And don't forget the local wine. The community of San Marzano di San Giuseppe, population about 10 thousand, near the inside coast on the Gulf of Taranto holds celebrations based on local food specialties rooted in the population's Albanian origins.
April 23 is the feast of San Giorgio. In the costal town of Chieuti e Scalo, population 2 thousand, you can enjoy the ox-cart race pitting the town's five neighborhoods against one another. You can get imagine the race's importance when you consider that preparations start in October of the preceding year. Each cart is spotted by a horse and rider followed by three additional horsemen, all in the interests of safety. The winner leads a parade to the town cathedral. The celebration continues well into the evening. By the way, this is a bilingual activity, Italian and Albanese, the local version of Albanian.
The city of Locorotondo, whose population is approximately 14 thousand, also celebrates San Giorgio, but in two-day long festivities starting on April 22. Their celebrations include sports and gastronomical events. You might want to try the dry or sparkling white wines that carry the town's name. On the subject of about sports events, the town of Acquaviva delle Fonti, population 20 thousand, hosts the Marathon of the Mediterranean on the fourth Saturday of April. Applications are accepted.
The region capital Bari, population over 300 thousand, celebrates the Feast of Saint Nicholas, starting on May 7th and running through the weekend commemorating the return of the Saint's relics to Bari in 1807. On festival Saturday a parade in traditional costumes departs from the Twelfth Century Norman Svevo Castle to the Saint's Basilica. The following evening another parade wends its way through torchlit streets carrying a statue of the saint to a floating altar in a fishing boat. Unlike many other festivals, this one does not revolve around food. Marchers are issued a roll. But that doesn't stop them from participating and shouldn't stop you from enjoying the festivities.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet but he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, Accompanied by the right foods. He teaches various computer classes in 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.