The last weekend of April each year, Cordoba rings in the spring by throwing thousands of carnations in a spirited procession known as the Battle of the Flowers. At high noon, a cannon sounds as 20 floats decorated in colorful paper flowers are led by a local band, parading down the Paseo de la Victoria in Cordoba, Spain.
The participants on the floats hurl carnation flower heads at the spectators stacked several deep lining the sides of the wide boulevard. The colorful “Battle” ensues and the spectators return the flowery shots back at the floats. The “Battle” started in 1940 but has been taking place consistently since sometime in the 1980’s.
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. The second book in her Food & Folklore Series on Festivals of Spain will hit the shelves in 2017. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books, custom itineraries and small group tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.BROCHURE: Fun with Food & Festivals Tours!
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 67th 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 and easily accessible by train from Rome or Pisa.