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Wintering on the Riviera: Spring in January

The Nativity scenes aren’t even down yet – the Magi only arrived on Epiphany, January 6. And the mimosa is already in bloom! Allergens galore!! I meant to write a post about Nativity Scenes on the Riviera – some of Italy’s best are here, unsung. But that’ll have to wait until next year.

This is Signor Maggiolo’s presepe (Nativity scene) down the road from us, in San Rocco.

Back to the mimosa and spring.

Our neighbor’s lovely mimosa… with the Mediterranean in the background, 600 vertical feet below.

I’ve always wondered about the calendar in Italy. Independently of climate change (which has scrambled up seasons and temperatures), it usually starts to feel springlike in January, at least on this stretch of the Italian Riviera, east of Genoa. Everyone with a bike is out riding on the Via Aurelia (suicidal but they don’t seem to mind). People on the promenades in Genoa, Rapallo and Santa Margherita sweat profusely in their mink or shearling coats, in brilliant sun.

January and February are also about the best months for certain big Italian cities like Rome and Naples – unless you’re into sweltering heat, air pollution, and mobs. Not only are the crowds smaller in winter. The weather is also usually the way I like it: cool and breezy by day, often with lots of winter sun, and cold at night. That’s the best weather for sleeping.

It’s not just the mimosa that’s blooming here. The hazelnut trees and a zillion other deciduous trees are too. The killer pollens come from cypresses and bay trees, and we’re surrounded by bay laurels here (useful for cooking). Sniffle, sniffle. Happily the atmosphere and views and food and company are super-awesome (please note that this is the last time I will use “awesome” in this blog, because the word is making me ill).

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Published inFood Wine Italian Riviera

One Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Mimosa? In January? This sounds divine, especially here, in icy Chicago. As always, your writing pulls me right in. The Italian Riviera sounds most alluring and the thought of Rome or Naples with a breeze and not jammed with tourists is unbelievably appealing. Please keep writing these amazing posts. By the way, the word “awesome” by itself used to be respectable. Too bad it’s been bastardized!

    M. Littlefield

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