3. The Festivals—Italians don’t just enjoy spring fruits, vegetables, and blooms, they celebrate them. In festivals like Spoleto’s la Sagra degli Asparagi (Asparagus Festival) or Piedmont’s risotto festivals, favorite ingredients are showcased in week-long city-wide feasts. In Umbria, the Cantina Aperte (“Open cellar”) movement gets local vineyards to open their doors for a weekend of tastings, classes, and special meals. Florence even hosts a gelato festival each May!
4. The Farmers—It makes sense: during the time of year when vegetables are being harvested and grape arbors are being prepped, farmers spend a lot of time in fields. That means it’s a great time for you to cross paths with them while hiking. As our guide, Francesca, puts it, “Spring is the most important season for farmers preparing vines and soil to make the best wine. They spend enormous amounts of time choosing the best buds from each vine, too. We often happen upon vintners or farmhands while out on hikes.”
5. The Freshening Up!—Many hotels, restaurants, parks, and some museums close from November to March for a “resting” period after the fall high season. Owners use the time to re-model, update facilities, do some painting, visit family, or even just travel themselves. National parks perform trail maintenance and restore stone walls. Fishermen service their boats and mend nets. As a result, there’s a palpable energy when the spring season begins. Chefs, hoteliers, and guides are re-charged—excited to show off any new upgrades and greet a new year of guests.