Now that Summer is over and we are in full fall mode, what better way to get over the summertime blues than hitting up a sagra (festival) in Italy? No nation so excitedly celebrates summer like the Italians, so they need an equally exciting festival schedule to help face the realities of returning to the daily routine. Is there anything better than Chocolate, Wine, Cheese and Truffles to ease one back into the ROUTINE life? I think not. Keep on reading to discover some of Italy’s funnest festivals.
La Sagra dell’uva di Marino – The Grape Festival of Marino – Rome, Lazio
I mentioned this festival a while back, but I guess it is so hip, it deserves a second mention. Marino is a hillside town about 20 miles from Rome. Every year during the first weekend of October this town celebrates the wine produced in the area by letting it flow free from the fountain in the central square. This festival has been going on since 1925 problem free, but apparently in 2008, (as Susan from Timelsss Italy informed me) city officials made a mistake and misdirected the wine into the homes of the residents of Marino! Whoohoo! Must have been fun – wine on tap from the faucet at home. Life is good in the old country! Marino can be reached from Rome’s Termini station in 30 minutes.
Euro Chocolate Festival – Perugia, Umbria
This one is for every chocolate lover out there. Perugia, home to the hazelnut chocolates that include love messages properly called Baci (Kisses), hosts an annual festival every October. This jubilee attracts 900,000 visitors to the city and with good reason – a big chocolate party. The city comes to life with street performers, chocolate tastings and even sculptures made out of chocolate. Vendors come from all over the world to sell everything you could possibly imagine made with chocolate including: chocolate covered fruits, chocolate liqueurs and even chocolate doggie snacks! For details and dates see: www.eurochocolate.com
Cheese Festival – Bra, Piedmont
This celebration of the wonderful world of cheese takes place in the a region of Piedmont known not only for its cheeses, but also wines. So you get a nice glass of wine to accompany your cheese tastings. This festival takes place during the 3rd weekend of September once every two years during odd-numbered years (2015, 2017, etc…) and is organized by the city of Bra in conjunction with Slow Food. Over 150,000 people attend to mingle and to taste the cheeses from booths that are centered in the old town. www.cheese.slowfood.com
Firera del Tartufo – Truffle Festival – Alba, Piedmont
No, this is not another Chocolate festival. The truffles we are talking about here are of the fungus variety. An expensive fungus at that: upwards of $2000 per pound for the white truffles found in this part of Italy. Truffles have a nutty aroma and flavor and are typically served with risotto, pasta or even veal or chicken. Other items you will find at this festival include truffle oils, sauces and butters. For more information see: www.fieradeltartufo.org
Festa dell’Olio Montemurlo – Olive Oil Festival – Monetmurlo near Prato, Tuscany
There is noting like freshly pressed olive oil. Somehow it is just not the same as what you buy in the grocery store. In this Tuscan town you will find a world of olive oil as well as a big party, lots of people, great food and music too. Here is their website: www.festadelloliomontemurlo.it. Although in Italian, it is still helpful as you can find the exact dates of the festival which takes place in November.