Italy is enchanting any time of year, but the spring season is something else entirely. Called the 'shoulder’ season by travel insiders, early spring draws fewer crowds because summer vacation for families hasn't started yet. For those that can get away a few months earlier, this means cheaper airfare, reduced hotel rates, and fewer people at the top sights. If you’re ready for an authentic experience, here are some of our favorite springtime traditions in Italy:
Alfresco Dinner Parties
Springtime in Italy is the perfect weather for enjoying dinner Alfresco on a balcony or terrace. Wherever you happen to be this spring, bring the flavors of Italy to your dinner table with an authentic menu that includes all the essential courses, from antipasti and the main dish to dessert and espresso. You'll find everything on your shopping checklist at Supermarket Italy, the top online source for authentic Italian cuisine. For entertaining ideas, check out our blog Under the Tuscan Sun: Top Alfresco Dining Tips.
Festa Della Liberazione
On April 25th, the streets and roads all across Italy are packed with lively parades and parties to celebrate the end of Nazi occupation during World War II. The capital city of Rome is where you'll find the most elaborate celebrations, such as the annual presidential visit to the Ardeatine Caves mausoleum where hundreds of Romans were killed by Nazis in 1944. Liberation day also calls for a special meal that starts in the late afternoon and continues into the evening. Of course, there will be lots of singing and dancing in between courses.
Italy's iconic version of artisanal ice cream, gelato is delicious any time of the year, especially springtime, a season that bestows the land with an abundance of sunny days and pleasant temperatures. If you can make the trip over the pond, the gelato museum in Bologna, the town where it was first introduced, celebrates the rich and storied timeline of this classic frozen dessert. Gelato is also served in regions throughout Italy and select gourmet stores in the U.S. that carry specialty imports. A fun activity on a warm spring afternoon, try all the different gelato flavors and discover which one is your all-time favorite.
Wine Tasting in Tuscany
The heartland of Italy, Tuscany produces some of the finest wines in the world, along with a bevy of made in Italy products from the Old World culinary canon. For locals and visitors alike, spring is the time to celebrate nature in full bloom, which also includes a bountiful harvest. Locally grown produce and handmade pasta are just begging to be paired with premium wines of the region. If you can't make the trip over the pond, you can order Tuscan imports from Supermarket Italy's online shop, a convenient way to experience all the flavors of Italy.
Roman Artichoke Season
When in Rome, respect the seasons; that's the secret to a successful artichoke harvest in Italy. Artichoke season usually falls during Easter and coincidentally, the revered vegetable is showcased with lamb in a classic holiday dish called coratella con i carciofi. The most ancient cultivated vegetable in Rome, artichokes are prepared in a variety of ways. The traditional Jewish recipe calls for deep frying it whole until golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. For authentic Roman-style artichokes, try La Valle from Supermarket Italy, which are roasted in herbs, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. When cooked to perfection, sweet and tender artichokes reflect the fresh and vibrant flavors of spring. They pair especially well with melted mozzarella and bacon as flavorful pizza toppings. You can also add artichokes to pasta for bright pops of flavor, which makes a satisfying contrast to starchy pasta.
Flowers in bloom, perfect weather, a sunset over the Tuscan countryside; that's the quintessential spring season in Italy. When you add good food, good friends, and good wine, it's pure magic.