The rise in popularity of craft beer has not left Italy untouched. This weekend an entire village with its own monetary system is constructed to celebrate an international array of craft beers. You enter the village, buy your official glass and tokens, then proceed to the beer stands using the tokens to purchase the tasting samples. This festival year, artisan beers (Birra Artigianale) from Italy, Belgium, Canada, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States are included. In addition to the great beer, there are food stands and entertainment each day. The festival expanded this year to include a Belgian edition and participated in a craft beer festival in Barcelona.
The festival is located near Buonconvento in southern Tuscany. Buonconvento is a walled medieval town set against a backdrop of the the Val d’Arbia area in the rolling hills of the Crete Senese, south of Siena. If you are not there this weekend, coming up over the next few weekends is the 48th Sagra della Val d’Arbia showcasing typical local foods from the area.
I love staying in and near Buonconvento; it’s a small town, not touristy, and serves as a great home base for touring and exploring the Val d’Arbia, Val d’Orcia, the ruins of San Galgano Abbey, Abbey Monte Oliveto Maggiore, Montalcino, Pienza and the hilltop town of Montepulciano. When I am in the area, I never miss a visit with Andrea at Bar Cattivi Frati for an Italian Spritz and Pianigiani Bags for a leather purse or accessory handmade by Bianca, Jacopo and the Pianigiani family. Both Cattivi Frati and Pianigiani (formerly La Dolce Vita) are located on Via Soccini in the walled, old town.BUONCONVENTO, NEARBY & SIGHTSEEING
Upcoming Event: 48th Sagra della Val d’Arbia in Buonconvento Sept 16-25
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Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals, a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. You can find out more information at Lisa’s Travel Guides.
Villago dell Birra Poster by Artist Elise Meccheri