Here's our monthly round-up of festivals, shows and exhibitions taking place in Italy throughout March 2014.
March is always a sign of optimism. It's the first month that heralds spring, which means that there are six whole months of longer nights and better weather ahead. In Italy, there is a diverse calendar of events, offering something for everyone, whether they are interested in wine, running, comic books, science or film.
WINE IN THE SPRINGTIME – Rovescala (Pavia), from 2nd March continuing every Sunday in March
The Holy Grail of Italian wines? Bonarda wine is a mild but fruity and very tasty red wine. It's also a wine that's elusive in most of Italy, unless you happen to pay a visit to Rovescala, where it has been produced for more than 800 years. Rovescala's hills house over 150 farms, and a great deal of these are responsible for this delicious wine.
To celebrate this, the small area of Rovescala becomes a hive of activity in March. Every Sunday, Rovescala organises a festival called Wine In The Springtime, which offers a host of things to see and do. In addition to market stalls providing food and wine, there are tastings, arts, crafts, parades, concerts, vintage car rallies, children's fun and games, not to mention historical guides through the Rovescala vineyards to give visitors a clearer picture of the origins of the Bonarda wine.
CARTOOMICS - Fiera Milano, 14-16 March
Thanks to the continued interest in fantasy and sci-fi films, books and TV (not to mention this genre enjoying a promoted renaissance thanks to the American hit comedy, The Big Bang Theory), there has never been a better time to get interested in this area of escapism.
Cartoomics celebrates all things comics, movies and games. Taking place in the middle of March, this year's show will boast comic areas, stalls and memorabilia, with focuses on a diverse range of people and franchises including LucasArts, Battlestar Galactica and an exhibition of comic book writer Claudio Nizzi.
PALIO DEI SOMARI - Torrita di Siena, 15-22 March
The donkey race has become something of a tradition, dating back to 19th March 1966, when a festival was created to mark St Joseph (the patron saint of carpenters) for Father's Day. This year's festival looks set to be another hugely memorable occasion with a diverse line-up of entertainment.
One of the main draws of this festival is how it looks back to the traditions and customs of the 15th century. The donkey race is flanked by period motifs such as costumes and coats of arms. The mid-March events also include medieval markets, banquets and music concerts to give a real taste of life in the 15th century.
Beginning on the 15th March, this year's selection of events includes a Cinderella show (complete with jesters, jugglers and acrobats), a festival of young drummers and flag bearers, a procession and of course, the Palio itself, which takes place on 22nd March.
ROME INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL - Rome, 16-23 March
Today, someone, somewhere has what it takes to be one of the great filmmakers of tomorrow. Today's burgeoning film talent is being spotlighted at the 13th annual Rome Independent Film Festival, which takes place in the middle of March.
Entrants have been put forward from all around the world, spanning countries such as France, Israel, America, Spain and Poland. Categories have been included for a broad cross-section of film types. These comprise Feature Film (plus National version), Documentary (Plus National version), National and International Shorts; Student Short; Animation Short and Experimental.
A true celebration of independent film-making talent, this year's festival looks set to discover some stars of the future.
ROME MARATHON - Rome, 23rd March
It's time for the ultimate keep fit programme as the Rome Marathon gears up for its 20th edition.
Since 1995, the Rome Marathon has taken place on the third Sunday in March. Competitors from across the globe have come to take part – last year's victors were Ethiopian Getachew Terfa Negari and Kenyan Helena Kirop.
To add to the momentum of this running spectacular, there is a wealth of entertainment to encourage the competitors. Concerts, bands, singers and DJs will be on hand to provide a musical backdrop. These include a DJ marathon and the Rome International Folk Festival, all adding a diverse selection of music.
This year's marathon has been brought forward by 10 minutes in order to accommodate the pilgrims going to celebrate the Angelus. The 20th marathon is raring to go, and will provide excitement for all spectators cheering on the competition.
LA SCIENZA IN PIAZZA – Bologna, From 28 March- 13 April
Science isn't just confined to the chemistry laboratory at school – as La Scienza In Piazza sets out to prove. This is a show that aims to get everyone interested in science, while exploring the links between science and culture.
The event will include a good cross-section of initiatives promoting science. Included in the line-up this year are conferences, shows, games, exhibitions, concerts and also creative workshops in the square. It's an event for all the family, especially the youngsters who can not only learn from the experience, but enjoy it greatly too – thanks to the interactive exhibitions and experimental areas. Science has never been so much fun!
MIART - Milan, 28-30 March
It's not just science on show this month – the best in contemporary and modern art will be showcased at Miart in Milan at the end of March. The exhibition also aims to look at how modern art intertwines with modern culture and knowledge.
There will be various sections that boast exhibitors from areas around the world, such as Berlin, Frankfurt, LA, New York and London. Established artwork will be showcased in addition to emerging talent, who will be showing the best in avant-garde and experimental art. In addition, there will be a showcase called THENnow, which looks at both older and younger generation artists. The Object showcase will promote contemporary design objects, which are either framed or “contextualised” as artworks. Finally, the Conflux showcase will feature projects from international, contemporary artists, either solo or two-artist.