Autumn is a great time to visit Gozo for anyone wishing to enjoy the island without the summer crowds and with mild weather that allows swimming till well into November, without the scorching sun. While the excitement and bustle of summer may seem to have ebbed away, Gozo is still replete with wonder as the first rains start giving the island a new lease of life as the warm weather generally persists. People are still enjoying swimming and diving continues unabated, the outdoor summer life lingers on as winter seems to be willingly postponed. Patrons still eat out enjoying the open terraces of the various dining places spread around the island, or on beaches where delicious local snacks of fresh bread, tomato paste, pickled onions and goat cheeselets fill the air and tempt the senses.
Indeed whilst Gozo’s tranquillity still provides a charm for every visitor to the island, slumber is surely not a word to be associated with Gozo, where cultural life is in full swing during this season. Three of the main cultural events of the island take place during autumn. The two main opera theatres in Victoria (the Astra and Aurora opera theatres) hold two operas during the month of October and they brim with activity as groups of volunteers gear up after months of preparation, for the staging of operas that have established themselves as key cultural events in Gozo, receiving international critical acclaim. The healthy injection of competition between the two Victoria band clubs (owners of the theatres) has guaranteed to all opera lovers along the years, a series of operas complete with internationally acclaimed artistic directors and singers. In April 2014 Opera Now commented: “If only English National opera and Covent garden had that sense of cutthroat competition how much edgier London’s operatic life would be.” Indeed some of these have proved to be a launching pad for the careers of many a talented artist. Joseph Calleja, the Maltese internationally renowned tenor made his operatic debut, aged 19, in Gozo as Macduff.
November also sees the staging of the Festival Mediterranea, which like the operas, has become an established event in Gozo’s cultural calendar. The festival is organised annually by the Astra Theatre in Victoria. The festival uncovers Gozo in all its facets including classic and symphonic music, archeology, history, folklore and cuisine. As showpieced by its organisers, “Festival Mediterranea unveils Gozo as a mosaic of Mediterranean civilisation, heritage and art. It is indeed a showpiece of a hundred things our own, an opportunity for a break from the routine of conventional life; a chance to immerse oneself in the mellow world of Gozo’s autumn, and explore and live the cultural tradition of its 7000 years of history.” If you would like to enjoy cultural life in its full essence, Gozo definitely is the place to be in Autumn.