For Americans the Thanksgiving Holiday normally centers around food and football. The traditional Thanksgiving basics of Roasted Turkey and pumpkin pie are found on most tables that day. While Italians do not typically celebrate Thanksgiving as Americans do, there are many religious holidays La Festa del Ringraziamento (Festival of Thanks) celebrated throughout the year. Traveling to Italy for Thanksgiving might seem like an odd time to travel, but it can be an adventure in both culture and cuisine for the non-typical traveler.
Flying out on Thanksgiving could save a lot of money and time. Most people that have accidentally traveled on a Holiday discover the absence of people in the airport and on the plane. If saving money to spend on shopping and experiences sounds ideal, finding a flight out on Thanksgiving Day would be a great idea. Otherwise, consider flying out the weekend prior to avoid colliding with travelers trying to make their way to Thanksgiving dinners in the U.S.
If missing the meal is a downside, there are many places in the larger cities that serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Many fine dining establishments offer a fixed course of turkey and trimmings and some pubs offer turkey complete with watching football and sporting events, allowing a connection between travelers on this Holiday. These experiences are only available with a reservation so securing them in advance is necessary. If the plan is to stay in and cook while travelling, ordering a turkey in advance from a local butcher is an option. Finding ingredients for the meal could be problematic as canned pumpkin and cranberries are often not available. Cooking a fresh pumpkin and swapping out Lingonberries from a local Ikea might be a great substitute for the cranberries.
An alternative way to spend the day is learning to cook an authentic Italian meal. Many people come to Italy with a hurried pace to try to see everything. But Thanksgiving is a reminder to slow down and give thanks and slowing down is the Italian way. Many different cooking schools offer a variety of menus and often a typical Italian Holiday menu involves Fish or Pasta. Choosing the experience ahead of time will ensure time is spent on enjoying rather than planning. Whether the choice is to eat out or cook, Thanksgiving can be spent enjoying the moment and savoring the sites and tastes that Italy offers.
Jennie Olson Six
Cultural Italy Staff Writer