Spring gets into its stride with some great events this April. John Bensalhia reports.
A typically eclectic line-up for you this April. There's lots to enjoy both indoors and outdoors. Classic foods are showcased. Budding movie talent is discovered. Games are played. Plenty of fun for all the family this month with no April fools whatsoever! So let's get right to it!
Modena, 5th - 7th April 2019
A classic case of games without frontiers. Whatever your preference of game – card games, board games, video games... you're sure to enjoy this month's Play The Games Festival in Modena.
This year's annual games event features some new innovations. It's a festival that attracts large numbers of families and children, so with that in mind, a 2000 sqm pavilion is due to open for the first time. Offering an interactive experience for all the family to enjoy, the Play Kids pavilion is sure to delight all ages.
The 11th edition will also feature the first Dungeons & Dragons Open. It's an ambitious, eight-hour tournament devoted to this classic game. Meanwhile, fans of Panini Comics can look forward to some special guests including Marco B. Bucci and Jacopo Camagni, authors of Nomen Omen. Visitors can also see another special guest – legendary games creator, Eric M. Lang.
Ramacca, 5th - 14th April 2019
High in both health and taste value, the violet artichoke is a key staple of Ramacca village's harvest. It's about to be celebrated again in the 29th edition of Ramacca's artichoke festival, which spans the first two weekends of April.
A selection of tasty and creative meals containing artichokes will be available for visitors to sample. It's a great way of showcasing Ramacca's signature vegetable.
But as well as these artichoke offerings, Ramacca puts on a great spread of additional events, with live music, guided tours of local museums (the Music Bands of Sicily and the Archaeological Museum), and workshops all happening over the two weekends of 5th to 7th and 12th to 14th of April.
5th - 7th April 2019
It will take more than two to Tango this April as Molise's first Tango Festival will take to the dancefloor.
For lucky dance fans, this is the chance to enjoy some special lessons from six experts. Three pairs of dance instructors will be on hand to teach the Tango, as well as provide special lectures about their craft. The three pairs of teachers are Nora Witanowsy and Juan Carlos Martinez; Zaira Raucci and Dario Di Nunno; and Tania Grisostomi and Luigi Bisello.
So if you want to literally follow in the experts' footsteps, then you'll certainly look forward to this event at the Hotel La Fonte dell'Astore this April.
Sacile, 7th April 2019
With Spring in the air (incidentally, look out for my separate traditional Spring festival – coming soon!), one of the annual Sacile events is to reach its 72nd edition.
The Spring Birds Fair will be taking flight on 7th April, inviting visitors to come to and visit the special fair of birds, as well as plants and flowers. Local business people and local florists and farmers help to put on this popular event.
Visitors can also get some inspiration for their Spring and Summer gardens at the Exhibition of Ornamental and Garden Flowers and Plants (located at Piazza del Popolo). Whatever your fancy of flower or plant, there's sure to be something here to give you an idea of what makes a good Spring garden.
Vico Equense, 7th - 9th April 2019
One of the quintessential foods of Italy will be celebrated in the Naples coastal town of Vico Equense this April.
Appropriately titled Pizza in Vico, it's a good hearted, three-day event that marks the best in local pizza making. I say good hearted, as the proceeds have been donated to good local causes, such as to restore the local cathedral's facade. It's an event that brings out the local community to enjoy pizza, Vico-style.
If you're looking to sample the local, freshly made pizzas, then pop on over to the two main town squares. Even if pizza isn't to your taste, don't worry. There will be other locally made food goodies, as well as specially-made crafts. It's a great experience for all the family, with plenty of things to do and see for the youngsters.
27th - 28th April 2019
Now this is one for those who want a great outdoor keep fit experience.
Gargano boasts some stunning scenery, and it forms a suitably picturesque background for the popular running and trekking event. The Umbra Forest and the Gargano National Park are just two wonderful locations out of many.
Both running and walking will be put to the test in races that cover three key courses – respectively, 14, 34 and 80 km. Through forests. Over hills. By coast. All of the local natural splendour can be seen while taking on the races. A small-scale vertical race takes place overnight. A more ambitious trek spans the region, and there's also a Gastro Run that takes you through the local olive oil mills and fit walking classes.
Bari, 27th April - 4th May 2019
Going from strength to strength since its initiation in 2010, Bari's annual International Film Festival looks set to be another box office draw this year.
Bringing together some of the best recent films and the competition of the Federico Fellini Awards, it's a festival that marks both past and present. This year's edition will include a look back at the works of composer Ennio Morricone. There will also be a selection of short movies, previews, documentaries and special exhibitions and talks.
But there's also an opportunity to find the stars of tomorrow, as the awards pick out the best movie, and leading actor and actress. Who knows, some future big names could be gracing this year's festival with their presence!