Things are heating up on the event front in Italy this November, as John Bensalhia reports...

November may bring the Autumn season to a close, but it also delivers a slew of excellent events. Ahead of the Christmas hullapalooza, it's a chance to experience a variety of festivals. Educating about science and books, tempting the taste buds or building bonfires, there's plenty to experience in Italy this month!

Peccati di Gola in Mondovì

1st- 4th November 2018

If the weather's causing a chill in the air, then some great Italian food festivals will warm you up. One good example is Peccati di Gola and the 21stedition of the Mondovì Truffle Fair, which kicks off the month for four days.

All kinds of local foods will be available through the streets and squares. As well as this, you can quench your thirst with some fine drinks including wines and craft beers. If you're interested in becoming a certified foodie, then it's worth attending the event, as there will be some extra activities such as cooking demos, tastings and workshops. Pick up some ideas for recipes and new cooking methods, while enjoying some of the finest local food around.

JazzMi

Milan, 1st- 13thNovember 2018

Italy can warm up the late Autumn and Winter months with some of the best jazz music festivals in the world.

JazzMi is relatively new to the sector, celebrating its third birthday this year. But already, it's an event that can command 500 artists and 210 events all happening and playing in Milan in the first half of November 2018.

It's an event that isn't confined to the stage. All kinds of interesting locales will play host to a series of performances and initiatives, including cinemas, museums and even libraries. No shushing, there!

Music festivals such as this go beyond traditional performances to educate attendees about the genre. JazzMi will put on a wide scope of documentary screenings, masterclasses, photo exhibitions and conferences. There will be lots of events for youngsters, educating and introducing children to the wonders of this great music.

An impressive line-up of guests includes pianist Jason Moran, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, bassist, Ron Carter and Bahraini-British trumpet and flugelhorn player, Yazz Ahmed.

Saffron Market Fair

Cascia, 1st- 4th November 2018

Like Donovan, you'll be just mad about saffron this November.

The Saffron Market Fair will kick off the month for four days in Cascia, Perugia. All kinds of products and foods will be infused with saffron available in the local and streets and shops of the region. It's a celebration of the picking of the crimson stigmas of the saffron crocus, and is one of the most valuable of its kind.

Pop into one of the local restaurants to sample some specially saffron-infused dishes. Some of these recipes are traditional, while others have been specially changed to include this unique flavour. After eating, visit one of the local shops, which will be selling a number of saffron-infused products such as biscuits, yoghurts and ice creams.

FestivalScienza

Cagliari, 8th- 13thNovember 2018

Who says that science is confined to boring school lessons with musty test tubes, bunsen burners and boffin-type teachers?

FestivalScienza makes science learning fun! It's coming to Cagliari this November in its 11thedition. This informative but entertaining festival draws the pick of local and international science experts, who are on hand to provide talks and discussions on a wide range of subjects. These include the wonders of the universe, genetic engineering and materials. Such topics are discussed and explained in an accessible way, meaning that all ages can take something away from the event.

It's an event that's geared to both adults and kids, and also the 'not we' who know little about science. Talks, workshops, interactive exhibitions and performances are excellent means of teaching everyone about science. There are also contests, which will test your grasp of the scientific concepts at play.

Gemona, formaggio… e dintorni

Gemona del Friuli, 9th- 11th November 2018

Fans of traditional Gemonese dairy goodies will enjoy the November Gemona, formaggio… e dintorni exhibition market.

Lining up some of the best local cheeses and dairy products, the event generously extends to other regions including Apulia, Sardinia and Marche, which will also be showcasing the best of their dairy kind. Special happenings include a Regional Raw Milk Cheese contest and a Regional Dairy Cattle Exhibition, with prizes awarded to the victors.

As well as sampling the local cheese, visitors can also enjoy a selection of delicious local foods and drinks, gourmet stalls, local music, and special entertainment to keep the young ones entertained.

All in all, there's plenty to cheese... sorry, plenty to please in this fantastic festival!

Saint Martin Bonfires

Predazzo,11th November 2018

November means Bonfire Night time! One of the most spectacular can be seen in Predazzo, Trento, which holds a massive bonfire event on 11thNovember each year as a celebration of St Martin and the centenary history of the Feudal Rule.

The Predazzo region provides quite the spectacle with this event, as a historical tradition would see the city districts construct large piles of wood that would then be set alight – to mark the end of the agricultural season. That tradition carries on today, with each district aiming to achieve the highest bonfire when lit at precisely 8pm.  

Whichever district wins, everybody celebrates. From the mountains comes a parade which makes its way to the centre of town. Once there, the festivities begin in earnest, with plenty of music, colour, and of course, food and drink. Take your pick from many local dishes, chestnuts, tea, and mulled wine to warm the night away!

Bookcity Milan

15th- 18th November 2018

Hey you, put away your tablet! You there, look up from your smartphone! Over there, enough with the endless online TV streaming!

Because sometimes there's nothing better than curling up with a good, old-fashioned book. Milan will be extolling the virtues of the humble tome in a three-day festival that arranges more than 1000 events all over the region.

All kinds of books will be explored from antique editions to brand new publications. A broad line-up of events will be held including public readings, exhibitions and performances. There will be four key points to see and experience the Bookcity events, which are Triennale di Milano, Museo nazionale della scienza e della tecnologia “Leonardo da Vinci”, Mudec – Museo delle Culture, and Franco Parenti Theatre.

It's a festival that encourages reading in schools, universities and for pleasure. All ages can discover the wonders of previously undiscovered books.  

Grass Pea Festival

Serra de’ Conti, Marche, 23rd- 25th November 2018

The humble Grass Pea gets its own festival this November in Marche. Following its initiation during planting in April and harvesting in the Summer, the grass pea can be enjoyed on many levels. A soup to accompany a main meal or as an appetiser. A specially made sauce. Or as part of a tasty vegetable medley.

With many more options to choose from, the Grass Pea offers a great cholesterol-free source of protein and fibre. The historic centre of Serra de’ Conti will be the host for this enjoyable festival which lines up street entertainments, performances, handicrafts and educational areas.

It's an ideal location, as there are some great local restaurants and inns that will allow you to sample some tasty traditional recipes such as vincisgrassi and bustringo. Be sure to visit some of the local wine cellars too, where there will be some tastings of the best local brews around.

Friuli Venezia Giulia White Truffle Fair

Muzzana del Turgnano, Udine, 24th- 25th November 2018

Another event this month to mark the local pickings – in this case, the Muzzana white truffle, which comes to fruition two weeks prior.

The Muzzana white truffle is picked in Bassa Friulana forest, old woods that have survived and endured conditions such as the Ice Age. It's a special location that yields an equally special truffle, and you can learn more about its history through a series of presentations and talks from truffle experts attending the show.

In the centre of the area, a restaurant will offer five truffle-based dishes, while the event boasts some delicious traditional recipes from the local area. Take away some special souvenirs from the stalls which sell items such as jams, cheeses and handcrafts. And be sure to sample some of the top wines from Friuli Venezia Giulia!