What's on in Italy: ten things to do in November

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November is the time to try Italy’s renowned white truffles during the short period in which they are in season. Photo: Alessandro Giannini
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If you're short of ideas for what to do in Italy in November, we've gathered a list of ten events that are well worth checking out, especially if you like art, jazz, olives and truffles.

All of Italy: All Saints Day and All Souls Day – celebrated November 1st and November 2nd

All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, are two days in which Italians gather to honor all saints on the 1st of November, and then on November 2nd bring flowers to cemeteries in order to honor deceased relatives. During this widely celebrated holiday you’ll also find music and cultural festivals, truffle fairs and a host of events that mark the start of the performing arts season.

Tuscany: The Olive Harvest – usually on November 3rd, following All Souls Day

Italy is at the forefront of olive production, while the region of Tuscany is country’s premier maker of olives. For anyone who loves olives, it is almost a crime to miss the Tuscan olive harvest. It is here that you will find the freshest and most delicious olive products in the entire world. From the best oils, to olive-incorporated regional dishes, this is an event that every foodie should attend. 

Alba: Alba White Truffle Festival – runs until November 11th

Autumn is white Truffle season in Piemonte, and the annual Alba White Truffle Festival, which celebrates the famous "Tartufo Bianco" truffles, is one of the largest and most celebrated truffle festivals in the world. The festival gives some of the world’s most celebrated truffle hunters, from the 19 white truffle-producing towns and cities in Italy, the chance to sell their produce and engage in some friendly competition with their peers. If you consider yourself a truffle connoisseur, or just like good food, be sure to get to the Italian town of Alba before November 11th. 

Tuscany: San Miniato Truffle Fair - celebrated on the third and forth weekends of November

Celebrated on the medieval mountain village of San Miniato, in the Pisa province of Tuscany in mid-November, this is another opportunity to try Italy’s renowned white truffles during the short period in which they are in season. Twenty-five percent of the white truffles in Italy are produced in this region, and November is the height of the truffle-gathering season. During the fair, San Miniato is alive with entertainment, food and craft stands, while restaurants in the village will feature truffle-based menus. The Europe for Visitors guide has in depth digital tour of the festival for your convenience that can be found here.

Verona: Fieracavalli International Horse Show celebrated November 7th-11th

Looking for something equestrian in nature? The Fieracavalli International Horse Show is one the most respected horse shows in Italy and features some of the best riders and horses in the world vying for the title of Fieracavalli Champion. This year’s competition is based upon jumping and is expected to bring in more top tier riders than ever before. Here you can experience top international riders with their best horses in the highest classes of leaping and dressage.Setting up your trip to the event is easier than ever before thanks to Horse Sports Travel, which has several conveniently priced travel packages, making booking lodging, flights or both, a breeze, and can be found here.

Venice: Festa della Madonna Della Salute – celebrated on November 21st 

Not a tourist magnet, like many other Venetian festivals, the Festa della Madonna Della Salute is the commemoration of Venice’s 15th century bout with the plague, and evokes deep religious sentiments in the city’s inhabitants. Thousands of religious pilgrims travel to Venice on the day of the celebration to visit the famed Salute church, in order to thank the Virgin Mary for deliverance from the plague, and to feast on castradina, a mutton-based dish which is customary to eat on the holiday. If you’re in the mood to break away from the rest of Italy’s tourist crowd, and experience a holiday of deep cultural and religious importance to the city of Venice, The Feast of The Madonna Della Salute is about as authentic as it gets. 

Rome: Roma Jazz Festival – celebrated November 9th-30th

Meant to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the death of Duke Ellington and 70 years after the liberation of Rome, the Roma Jazz Festival is a revival of the popular jazz culture that became prevalent in Italy since the music was popularized by American soldiers who where stationed in the country following the Second World War. Celebrated for most of the month of November, the festival is a true Italian take on classic American jazz, and recreates the swinging atmosphere of 1930s Harlem in an Italian setting. The schedule outlining the entire event can be found on their website

Florence: Florence Art and Restoration Fair – celebrated November 13th-15th

The David, the Florentine Pieta, and countless other priceless works of art that are known throughout the world have been created in Florence. The Florence Art and Restoration Fair, which is in its fourth year, is the coming together of 300 institutions, private companies, schools and training programs all with the aim of keeping Florence’s great works in pristine condition so that they may be enjoyed by future generations. This non-profit, bi-annual event is perhaps the best opportunity for anyone wishing to see the art of Florence in one convenient setting. All proceeds go to the simple maintenance of the artwork.

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Rome: Roma Europa Festival – throughout November 

A festival that aims to be as big as Europe itself, the Roma Europa Festival celebrates all things that have come to define European culture, from and art and politics to the stories of immigrants who have made their home on the continent. This city-wide festival is celebrated at many different locations depending on the event, and is perfect for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the culture of Europe.

Rome: The Feast of Saint Cecilia – celebrated on November 22nd

Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of all musicians, and her feast is certainly a musical celebration, always filled with live music, and food that will make anyone’s mouth water. The feast is an all-day event that occurs in Basilica Santa Cecilia, in Trastevere, as well as the Catacombs of San Callisto. 

By Ben Potesky

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