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Culture and Folklore
in Italy

Sardinian Festivals

May is a big month in the island of Sardinia, off the Western coast of Italy. It opens with the Sagra di Sant'Efisio in Cagliari, the capital of the region, situated on its southern coast, and continues with the equally famous Cavalcata Sarda, in the northwestern city of Sassari.

The Festival of Sant'Efisio takes place every year on May 1-4 to celebrate the legendary intervention of the Saint to rescue the citizens of Cagliari from the plague in 1652. In fulfillment of the promise they had made when pleading for his help, every year since 1655 the statue of the Saint has been carried to the town of Nora (the site of his martyrdom), in a colorful 4-day procession. The central event of the festival is the huge parade that starts the journey in Cagliari. Five thousand people and dozens of carts and floats participate, accompanied by the joyful sound of the "launeddas," typical wind instruments. At the end of the procession, four days later, participants can be heard parting with the traditional formula: "Atrus annus"-"until other years."

The Cavalcata Sarda takes place in Sassari on the second-to-last Sunday in May. Its origins go back to the 1700s, although it didn't become a regular event until 1950. Horseback riders open and close a parade of over 3,000 people in traditional costumes that are dizzying in their specificity and variety: female and male costumes, clothes for Sundays and holidays and everyday clothes, those of rich and poor, fishermen and shepherds, those worn by married women and widows. Dancing and singing accompany the procession.

The Famous Caffé Pedrocchi in Padua Restored The café made famous by Stendhal and mentioned in travel journals from Musset to the Goncourt brothers is again open to the public after extensive restoration. Among the spaces that make up this legendary venue, the Music Room (dedicated to composer Gioacchino Rossini) and the Egyptian Room, complete with sphinxes.

Art News

Bologna Museum Passes The city of Bologna, named "European City of Art" for the year 2000 by the European Commission of Ministers of Culture, has introduced one- and three-day museum passes. One-day passes will cost 12,000 lire (about $7) and three-day passes Lit. 16,000 (about $9). An integrated bus-and-museum pass will be valid for unlimited travel on all the city buses as well as entrances to all museums. It will set the visitor back about $15.
What to see with your Bologna museum pass? For instance, an exhibit of about 30 works by contemporary artist Anselm Kiefer, at the Galleria d'Arte Moderna until August 29. The exhibit, named "Shooting Stars," is open daily except Mondays from 10 am to 6 pm and costs about $5. The phone number for the Galleria d'Arte Moderna is 011-39-051-502859.

Phoenician art and artifacts will be on display at the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome starting on April 16. The large exhibit includes ceramics, jewelry, silver items, coins, and votive statues on loan from museums in Sicily and Sardinia. Tuesday-Saturday 9 am-7 pm, Sunday 9 am-2 pm. Tickets are about $7. The museum's phone number is 011-39-06-48903500. www.rcs.it
The well-known spa town of Abano Terme, near Padua, hosts "Water Women: Beauty, Myth and Senses from Cranach to de Chirico." The paintings, which trace the theme of the relation between water and feminine beauty over four centuries, hang in the unusual but undoubtedly appropriate locale of a 19th-century spa building. Galleria Comunale al Montirone, Tel. 011-39-049-8245374, April 16-June 13. Open Tuesday-Friday from 10 to noon and from 5 to 10 pm, on Saturday and holidays 10 am to 10 pm. Tickets are $2.

Galleria dell'Accademia - A large collections of drawings, some of which have been inaccessible to the public since 1910, will be on exhibit in Venice, at the Galleria dell'Accademia, from April 24 to July 25. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Dürer, and Canaletto are represented. The exhibit is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm, Sunday and Monday from 9 am to 2 pm. You can call the Galleria dell'Accademia at 011-39-041-5222247.

Jubilee Countdown - An Invitation for the Jubilee year - "Giubileo 2000: More Italy than Ever" is the mantra that will accompany the Italian Government Tourist Board's promotional activities in the next eighteen months or so. The slogan emphasizes the unique opportunity represented by the Jubilee year to explore yet lesser-known areas of Italy, to take advantage of the wealth of cultural events that will span the country, and to participate fully in the intensity of this very special occasion.

Malpensa-Milan Rail Link to Open in May - The preparation for the influx of tourists in the year 2000 continues fast and furious. The new Malpensa2000 airport, inaugurated a few months ago, will soon be linked to downtown Milan by "Malpensa Express" trains. The trains will take about 40 minutes and will take travelers to the Cadorna station in the very heart of Milan. They are expected to run from about 7 am to about 9 pm.

Where in Italy do you want to go?

Learn about the people and history of Italy
Palazzo Grassi - Venice
Museo Morandi - Bologna
Museo Nazionale del Bargello - Florence
Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore - the Cupola
Palazzo Mannaioni
San Gimignano
Siena Area
Siena Area
Bagni Di Lucca

What ever your choice, contact About Family Travel and let us design your vacation with your personal needs in mind.

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