The Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco in Ladispoli outside of Rome, claims to be the first festival honoring the artichoke in the world. Ladispoli is just over twenty miles northwest of Rome on the Mediterranean coastline along the ancient Roman road, the Via Aurelia. Named after Ladislao Odeschalci who founded the city in 1888, Ladispoli a coastal resort town in the Lazio region. There were settlements in the area since Etruscan times.Started in 1950 to promote artichokes, particularly tourism in Ladispoli, the festival has endured and is held in early April each year over a three day period.
This festival celebrates the Romanesco variety of artichoke, which is globe-shaped and purplish in color. Leading up to the event, the restaurants in the area highlight the use of artichokes and offer fixed price menus. Two popular ways to prepare and eat artichokes are Carciofi alla Romana and Carciofi all Giudia. Carciofi alla Romana are stuffed with mint, garlic and parsley and then cooked slowly in olive oil. Carciofi alla Giudia, a classic Roman Jewish dish, they are flattened and deep fried to a golden crispy finish.
The 66th festival runs today thru Sunday. There will be stands for tasting the artichokes as well as musical entertainment and cooking demonstrations. It’s an easy start or finish to your vacation if you are arriving in Rome via Aeroporto Fiumicino.
Carciofi Romanesco Stefano Pellicciari via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Carciofi alla Giudia SignorDeFazio via Foter.com / CC BY-SA