2022 is here, and with it, brings a number of happenings, some traditional, some seasonal – but all that can be enjoyed by the family, either as spectators or as participants.
However, while a new year dawns, alas the Covid-19 pandemic remains. So please note that these are provisional listings, with events subject to either change or even postponement, depending on circumstances at the time. Please check the websites and social media pages for any updates.
Tour de Ski
Val di Fiemme, 3rd - 4th January 2022
The new year gets off to a competitive start with the narrow cross-country skiing contest, Tour de Ski.
The two-day event challenges skiers to skilfully navigate the slopes with narrow skis, with the 3rd of January seeing the women's and men's race begin. The following day sees both categories attempt the last climb, with the challenge to traverse the slopes providing a great deal of excitement for spectators. The prizes are given to the victors at the end of the second and last day.
With the Covid-19 pandemic in mind, the event will be an open-door deal, with strict Covid prevention protocols in place.
Castellana, 11th January 2022
The annual bonfires of Castellana's Fanòve Feast represent the banishment of the 1691 plague, and in these current times, the event takes on an extra degree of poignancy.
Castellana's streets are lit with nearly 100 bonfires, using great big woodpiles, marking the miracle of freedom from the plague in the late 17th century. As well as this, the locals celebrate the milestone with music, food and a great sense of camaraderie.
Any visitors to the area are also recommended to pay a visit to the Castellana Caves, regarded as one of the most spectacular cave systems in the country. However, visitors are required to show a Green Pass to gain entry, as part of the Covid-19 pandemic rules.
Snow Sculptures International Festival
San Candido and San Vigilio, 12th - 19th January 2022
This year sees the 31st edition of the much-loved Snow Sculptures International Festival. As ever, the event is divided between two locations – this year, the festival kicks off in San Vigilio from 12th to 14th January, moving on to San Candido from 17th to 19th.
Using only the basic tools to create unique snow sculptures, the invited artists have to use their ingenuity, imagination and skill to turn a 3m cubed block of snow into something truly magical. The end results are left for the locals and visitors to see until Spring season. The tourists at the locations will judge which is the best of the sculptures.
As ever, it's worth visiting the sculptures at night time, with the colourful illuminations adding an extra dimension to the creations.
Castelrotto, 16th January 2022
There's nothing quite like a wedding, and in the case of Castelrotto's Peasant Wedding, the invitations are open to everyone.
This local tradition dates from the 19th century, with the modern world adhering to the styles and quirks of 1800-style peasant nuptials. The locals dress themselves in traditional period clothes, accompanying the bride and groom in a parade that begins at the local church of St Valentine and ends at Castelrotto's main centre.
After the parade is over, the wedding breakfast is served, with servings of local foods enjoyed by the guests, including the special wedding cake, the Hoazetkuchl.
Feast of Sant’Antonio Abate
Collelongo, Abruzzo, 16th & 17th January 2022
One of the oldest and best-known events in Collelongo, Abruzzo occurs again this January (although, as with all other events, please look out for any last-minute changes to plans).
The two-day event is another one that includes the lighting of bonfires, but in this case, this is to signify the transition from the Winter to the Spring seasons. All ages are invited to take part in a procession that begins at the local Parish Church, including children (who are given smaller scale torches), with the parade accompanied by music.
Following the procession is a large-scale meal for the locals of Collelongo, with an all-night dinner (panarda) that serves a massive quantity of food – with such great portions, the panarda is a tradition that was designed to feed poorer people, and offers a great sense of community and belonging, with food and drink available to everyone.
The second day sees another parade – this one for the girls, who bring a basin bearing sugared almonds (rescagnata), with the best one (and also the best dress) selected. A two-day event that proves to be one of the most important for the local community, recalling that sense of tradition and belonging for all.
Cross-Country Ski Race
Marcialonga, 30th January 2022
With ski season in full swing, one of the biggest cross country races sneaks right in at the end of January.
Marcialonga has been one of the best-known ski competitions in Italy since its initiation in 1971. Its creators – Mario Cristofolini, Giulio Giovannini, Roberto Moggio and Nele Zorzi – wanted to recreate the feel of a similar skiing race based in Sweden (Vasaloppet), spanning a considerable distance for competitors to try and complete in the fastest time.
The distance is 70 kilometres, encompassing a wide range of Trentino Alto Adige locations through the Fiemme and Fassa Valleys. A shorter alternative of a 45km race is also available for competitors to have a go, from Moena to Predazzo.
Coumba Freida Carnivals
Aosta Valley, January – February 2022
As well as ski season, late Winter marks carnival season. The Covid-19 pandemic still threatens the globe, so look out for any changes to the planned event – but, with the right precautions and rules in place, visitors can still enjoy this unique carnival collection, which spans the Valpelline and Great St Bernard valleys, AKA Coumba Freida.
In particular, watch out for happenings in the following regions: Ollomont, Valpelline, Bionaz, Doues, Gignod, Etroubles, Roisan, Saint-Oyen, Allein, and Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses,
The Coumba Freida Carnivals feature some of the more unusual costume designs, with inspiration taken, from among other things, Napoleon's troops. The hand-made costumes include an array of quirky and unusual elements and materials, even including a mirror that is said to ward off any evil spirits.