Winter in Padova

Like fall, winter is not particularly a season I care for.  You get sick a lot, and there’s less light, and therefore less time for outdoor activities like cycling, which I love.

That said, winter in Padova isn’t so bad.  Well, conceptually, at least; if I could skip it, I would.  That said, though, it does have its charms. 

The locals hate it, but I actually like the fog – it may be damp and cold, but at least you can still walk around outdoors, or even go for bike rides, whereas in rainy Oregon, where I grew up, the drizzle more or less forces you indoors.  And to hear people talk, the fog has actually declined recently.  There used to be more of it, more often, and for longer.  In recent years, there has been a bit more rain, but also more cold, clear days, which can be quite pleasant.  Often, if the conditions are right, you can see the snow-capped mountains to the north, stretching in an arc from the Pasubio to Monte Grappa and then points east.

Traditionally, as in many agricultural societies, winter was not a pleasant time in the plains of the Veneto, as it was necessary to subsist on what had been set aside for the winter, which might not have been a great deal if the harvest had not been a good one.

These days, of course, there is plenty to eat, and eat they do.  The most important meal, of course, is at Christmas.  For instance, here is what my in-laws typically fix for lunch:

  • An appetizer, with a white wine to accompany it.
  • Hand-made ravioli, with a couple of sauces (ragu`, and something else, usually).
  • Several kinds of roast meat.
  • Desserts.

And of course there is plenty of good wine to wash it down.  This is all consumed over a matter of hours, so when you’re done, you’re well and truly stuffed, and could probably go for a week without food.

It doesn’t snow much in the plains of the Veneto.  Well, usually.  This year we got a couple of good snow storms, but it didn’t stick around for all that long.  However, if you visit during the winter, don’t let that fool you: the damp air can make a few degrees above freezing feel very cold indeed.  The moist, cold air “goes straight to your bones” as they say.  That said, even winter can be a nice time to visit, especially if you like to ski: the snow covered mountains are stunning, and, as with many things built by people in Italy, more often than not, the houses and villages are attractive and add to, rather than detract from, the natural beauty.

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