Nero Norcia 2017: Umbrian Black Truffles

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View of Norcia, Umbria

The Umbrian town of Norcia sits at the foot of the Monte Sibillini in the Valnerina River Valley. It’s about 45 minutes east of the famous music festival town Spoleto and near the Umbrian border with the Lazio and Le Marche regions. An ancient settlement, Norcia has found traces of human occupation from the Neolithic Age (approximately 10,000 BC – 2,000 BC). It’s a great base for hiking mountains and walking through the beautiful natural scenery of the Santa Scolastica plain.

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Piazza San Benedetto in Norcia;   Left: Palazzo Communale;   Right Church of San Benedetto

The shade of trees in the forests nearby harbor these fragrant and expensive mushrooms. Used raw or cooked they are often tossed with rice or pasta. Norcia’s foodie highlights are more than just it’s truffle production; the famous Norcinos (butchers) and their salumerie shops are not to be missed for further tastebud exploration.

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Nearby Castellucio di Norcia

#neronorcia #eventiumbria #umbria #italyfestivals #norcia

INFORMATION

2017 Nero Norcia Information

Umbria Tourism

@umbriatourism

Umbria Tourism on Facebook

ABOUT

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!

 PHOTO CREDITS:
VIEW OF NORCIA FROM FIELD:   LAVALNERINA.IT VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY
BLACK TRUFFLE:   MOEDERMENS VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY
EGG WITH SHAVED TRUFFLE:   NOCIVEGLIA VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY
TAGLIATELLE AL TARTUFO NERO:   UMBRIALOVERS VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-SA
PIAZZA SAN BENEDETTO:   STEVECADMAN VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-SA
CASTELLUCIO DI NORCIA:   PHOTO CREDIT: MOYAN_BRENN VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY

The Great Italian Food Fight

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Battle Aftermath

Oranges are the ammunition of this battle royale in the northern Italian town of Ivrea. Referred to as the “largest food fight” in Italy, the Battle of the Oranges engages over 5,000 participants inflicting pain by hurling 60 tons of blood oranges at each other. Ivrea, north of Turin and west of Milan, imports an entire train full of oranges from Sicily each year for the event.

The Battle is based on stories of real people from the rebellion 900 years ago. At this period in time, the “right of the first night” or jus primae noctae allowed the local Lord to sleep with a bride the night before her wedding. As the story goes, the mugnaia (miller’s daughter), went to the castle the night before her wedding, wielded a knife, murdered the Lord and cut his head off. The locals then started a three-day rebellion which is represented by the throwing of the oranges.

398726005_a7c96d4e35_bActivities for this Carnival period celebration started in January and culminate today and tomorrow with historical parades, feasts and of course, the famous orange fight this afternoon. Aranceri (orange handlers) on fifty carts battle the aranceri from the nine pedestrian teams. Spectators are strongly advised to purchase and wear at all times the beretto frigio; this red stocking cap identifies the innocent onlookers hoping to escape errant oranges. Nets are strung throughout the parade route with designated areas for spectators to gather beneath for protection. The orange throwing spectacle can be seen on Sunday (last night) and Monday nights (today) before dinner, refer to the full program schedule below for parade map and times.

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Castello di Ivrea

Historical Carnival of Ivrea – Information

Photo Credits:

BATTLE AFTERMATH – SEBASTIANO ROSSI VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-ND
ORANGE THROWERS (LEFT) – SEBASTIANO ROSSI VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-ND
ORANGE THROWERS (RIGHT) – PIGLIAPOST VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-SA
SBANDIERATORI (FLAG THROWERS)- GIÒ-S.P.O.T.S. VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY
CASTELLO DI IVREA – GALLI LUCA VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY

 

It’s Gnocchi Friday (& More) in Verona!

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Carnevale Parade in Verona

If you are looking for an alternative to the carnevale crowds in Viareggio and Venice, Verona may hold the ticket. Gnocchi Friday in Verona is kind of like Fat Tuesday in New Orleans. It’s the first of FIVE days of celebration as the fun carnevale period ends and the Christian abstinence period of Lent begins. Verona is a city in the northern Italian province of Veneto, often thought of when Romeo and Juliet are mentioned.

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Il Papa del Gnoco

GNOCCHI FRIDAY  “Venerdi Gnoccolare” Starting around noon on Friday floats start to gather for their journey through downtown, starting around 2pm. Led by “Il Papa Gnocco” (the Father of Gnocchi), 70 floats participate along with bands and entertainers in front of 100,000+ strong crowd. The 6 km parade ends at Piazza Bra, but head over to Piazza Zeno where the real fun begins in my opinion (FOOD!). Gnocchi is made by mixing potatoes and flour, cutting into small squares and then boiling in water. It can be served with a variety of toppings; the Veronese eat it with a meat ragu and even have their own word for the after-effect of eating too much, GNOCCOLONITA!

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Arena di Verona

The best of the rest:

HISTORICAL REGATTA (SATURDAY)  “Regata Storica Sull’Adige”  Since the fifteenth century, Prince Reboano arrives by canoe on Saturday afternoon and leads a masked carnival procession through the Filippini district and ending in Piazza Bra.

CARNIVAL ON LISTON (SUNDAY)  “Carnevale sul Liston”  A Carnival party begins in Piazza bra late in the morning and moves through the other districts of the City in the afternoon.

FEAST OF SANTO STEFANO (MONDAY)  “Luni Pignatar”  Traditional soup and plenty of music are on tap Monday afternoon in the Santo Stefano District of Verona.

FAT TUESDAY  “Martedi Grasso”  An afternoon party in the Porto San Pancrazio district on Shrove Tuesday begins at 2:30 pm and carries into the night.

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Gnocchi with Ragu

INFORMATION

Carnevale Verona Official Website (Italian)

Verona on Google Maps

ABOUT

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!

PHOTO CREDITS

Arena di Verona   rick ligthelm via Foter.com / CC BY

Gnocchi with Ragu    I am Jeffrey via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

All other photos from Carnevale Verona Official Committee

 

connect. experience. savor. Lisa’s Travel Guides 2017 Tours

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SIX DAYS & NIGHTS OF FUN WITH FOOD & FESTIVALS!

Sign up for one of our scheduled tours or inquire about a custom/private one! The Brochure for our 2017 tours based on the book FOOD & FOLKLORE: A Year of Italian Festivals is now available!

2017 BROCHURE:   2017-lisas-travel-guides-tour-brochure

WELCOME to Lisa’s Travel Guides. Our guided travel experiences are designed to help you “go local” at a moderate pace and savor the moment. They are personally curated to create special memories in a small group setting:

  • experience local festivals
  • connect with locals
  • explore the countryside & hilltowns
  • drive past vineyards and sip the wine they produce
  • taste locally cultivated olive oil
  • learn how history shaped the region
  • stay in historic homes on working estates
  • meet artisan cheesemakers and sample their products
  • visit the family workshop of local leather artisans
  • tour with professional licensed, multi-lingual guides

See our brochure for further details www.lisastravelguides.com

Lisa Vogele, Chief Travel Addict, lisa@lisastravelguides.com or 970-987-4096

 

 

EVENTS: A Year of Italian Festivals – FEB 15 in Boulder & FEB 16 in Edwards, CO

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 @ 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Changes in Latitude Travel Store – 2525 Arapahoe Ave. Boulder, CO – 303-786-8406

Thursday February 16, 2017 @ 6:00 – 7:00 PM  – The Bookworm of Edwards
295 Main Street C101, Edwards, CO – 970-926-7323

Have you ever just arrived in Italy and missed out on a cool local food festival or historical reenactment? Colorado author Lisa Vogele will introduce you to a diverse collection of food & folklore festivals highlighting various regions. This presentation will interest foodies, history buffs, Italophiles and offer tips for incorporating festivals into your travel planning.

The presenter, Lisa Vogele is an Italophile, festival-lover, and travel-addict. Her blog “Lisa Loves to Travel” has been created to share her love of festivals with fellow travelers and enthusiasts. She loves hearing suggestions, recommendations, and experiences around festival travel. The “Food & Folklore” series is published by Lisa’s Travel Guides and highlights food, fun, and festivals to help others go local as a traveler, not a tourist. Author book signing to follow.

http://www.lisastravelguides.com. 

Feb 15 2017 Changes in Latitude – Boulder, CO Link

Feb 16 2017 Bookworm of Edwards – Edwards, CO Event Link

 

EVENT Feb 10th Denver: A Year of Italian Festivals

Hosted by the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver – February 10, 2017 @ 7:30 PM Mt. Carmel Parish Hall – 3549 Navajo St., Denver, Colorado 

Have you ever just arrived in Italy and missed out on a cool local food festival or historical reenactment? Colorado author Lisa Vogele will introduce you to a diverse collection of food & folklore festivals highlighting various regions. This presentation will interest foodies, history buffs, Italophiles and offer tips for incorporating festivals into your travel planning.

The presenter, Lisa Vogele is an Italophile, festival-lover, and travel-addict. Her blog “Lisa Loves to Travel” has been created to share her love of festivals with fellow travelers and enthusiasts. She loves hearing suggestions, recommendations, and experiences around festival travel. The “Food & Folklore” series is published by Lisa’s Travel Guides and highlights food, fun, and festivals to help others go local as a traveler, not a tourist.

http://www.lisastravelguides.com. 

February 10, 7:30 p.m. at Mt. Carmel Parish Hall, 3549 Navajo St., Denver.

MAP 3549 Navajo Street Denver

 

Spain’s Five Day Fiesta of Saint Blaise in Bocairent, Valencia

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Panoramic of Bocairent Spain

Bocairent is located in the Spanish province of Valencia. It’s five days of fiesta honoring Saint Blaise occurs annually February 1st – February 5th. Costumes, fireworks, food and folkloric dance demonstrations provide exciting entertainment. This is the town of Bocairent’s main festival day of the year and everyone turns out to line the streets and celebrate together. During the fiesta, the town’s population swells significantly with over 2,000 participants in a town of only 4,500.

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Dancers in Bocairent Spain – by Amedeo Campili

The town of Bocairent has been celebrating this patron Saint of bodily ills and portraying the historic Moors and Christians characters for so long (158 years) it even has its own museum. The museum opened in 2003 and displays the typical dress for each group represented in the village. Historic festival photos and written histories line the walls and document this culturally rich event.

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Soldiers in Moros y Cristianos Procession from Above by Amedeo Campili

Moors and Christians (Moros y Cristianos) festivals happen throughout Spain at different times of the year but are particularly numerous in the Valencia area. They commemorate the battles between the Christians and Moors during the Reconquista period in Spain (8th – 15th centuries).

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Market in Bocairent Spain

@bocairenturisme

INFORMATION

Bocairent, Valencia, Spain Official Tourism Site

Moors & Christians Festival Museum in Bocairent

Bocairent, Valencia, Spain on Google Maps

ABOUT

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.

PHOTO CREDITS

Panoramic of Bocairent Spain   alcebal2002 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Dancers in Bocairent by Amedeo Campili via Facebook

Procession from Above by Amedeo Campili via Facebook

Market in Bocairent Spain   XuRxO via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

A Traveling Polenta Feast in Lazio

 

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Making Polenta in Sermoneta

William Caetani returned to his hometown of Sermoneta in 1503 after the death of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI and exile in Mantua and America. He brought with him maize (corn) seed, beginning a long history of polenta production in Italy. If you’ve ever made polenta, you are familiar with the long, continual stirring while cooking to prevent lumps from forming. It can be eaten hot like a porridge or allowed to cool and solidify. Once solid, it can be sliced and then grilled, fried or baked.

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Sagra della Polenta in Sermoneta

The local Polentara are polenta professionals with years of experience (and strong arms from all that stirring!). Though there are different varieties of polenta preparation and combinations with other foods throughout Italy, here in Lazio, the two most popular are topped with a tomato-based sauce enriched with pecorino cheese and a white sauce with garlic, olive oil, sausage, chiles, and bacon.

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Castello Caetani in Sermoneta

Sermoneta’s annual celebration of polenta occurs on the weekend closest to Sant Antonio Abate day (January 17th). This last Sunday, the 22nd, was the big day in Sermoneta and Droganello,  but the festival moves to nearby communities of Pontenuovo on the 29th of January, Sermoneta Scalo on February 5th and Tufette on February 12th.

INFORMATION

Official Program Sermoneta Polenta 2017

Google Map of Sermoneta

ABOUT

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 about Lisa’s books, custom itineraries and small group tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.

PHOTO CREDITS

MAKING POLENTA IN SERMONETA    Erik il Rosso via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
SAGRA DELLA POLENTA IN SERMONETA   Erik il Rosso via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
CASTELLO CAETANI IN SERMONETA   Erik il Rosso via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
 @SermonetaTurism @Sermoneta_ @visit_lazio

 

Bonfires for the Saint

 

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La Focara in Novoli

January 17th marks the celebration of Saint Anthony the Abbot throughout Italy. Also known as Saint Anthony the Great, he was born in Egypt and credited with being one of the founders of Christian Monasticism. He is the patron saint of animals and infectious diseases of the skin. He is often depicted with a pig in historic paintings and live re-enactments. The celebrations include ceremonies for blessing animals, enormous feasts, and tons of history.

 

In Abruzzo, the ritual feast called panarda is still alive in towns such as Villavallelonga and consists of 30-40 dishes, takes all night, and finishes early the next morning. What is the bonfire connection? It is thought that the bonfires were lit to encourage warmth for seeds to grow with spring being just around the corner; they are lit in church piazzas, at crossroads and scattered throughout towns. Here are three celebrations representing one each from the north, central and southern parts of Italy:

Saronno, Varese, Lombardia – Sant’Antonio di Saronno
If the name Saronno sounds familiar to you it may be because this is where the famed, Italian liqueur with an almond taste Amaretto di Saronno and Amaretti almond biscuits are produced. Saronno celebrates Saint Anthony two ways: with festival activities on the days leading up to the Saint’s day and a religious mass and feast on the actual Saint Anthony’s day, January 17th. The festival days include mixes of historical processions, folklore performances and typical food of the Lombardy region.

 

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Le Farchie in Fara Filioruim Petri

 

Fara Filiorum Petri, Chieti, Abruzzo – Le Farchie

Fara Filiorium Petri is a long name for a small town of less than 2000 people. But on Saint Anthony’s day, their bonfire is anything but small. Fara Filiorum Petri began to prepare on the 6th of January when the bonfire materials were gathered from the fields for assembly. On the night of the 16th, the 60-foot tall columns of kindling are hoisted into place and remain there through the mass and processions on the following day until the bonfires are lit at 5:30 PM on January 22nd. The resultant effect is columns of fire lighting up the town center.

 

Novoli, Lecce, Puglia – Focara di Novoli
All the way down on the foot of the Italian peninsula, the town of Novoli celebrates their annual Focara di Novoli for almost the entire month of January. Musical activities and entertainment are spread throughout the month in different venues. At 65 feet wide and 82 feet tall, this may be one of the largest of its kind in Italy. The lighting of the Focara is followed by fireworks displays lighting up the night sky.

FESTIVAL TRAVEL TIPS
There are many more celebrations for Saint Anthony the Abbot throughout Italy. To locate one, search on “Sant’Antonio Abate” and the name of the Italian town, city or region and you can find a celebration to incorporate into your itinerary. Celebrations for this day often begin several days in advance.

LINKS
Sant’Antonio di Saronno 
Le Farchie in Fara Filiorum Petri 
Focara di Novoli 

italy-map-bonfires-for-the-saint-jan-2017ABOUT

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 about Lisa’s books, custom itineraries and small group tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.

PHOTO CREDITS

La Focara in Novoli   ɯoop via Foter.com / CC BY
Saint Anthony Procession in Saronno   Gruppo Storico Sant Antoni da Saronn
Saronno Piazza and Church of Saints Peter & Paul   Lisa M. Vogele
Le Farchie in Fara Filiorum Petri   Cristian Roberti via Foter.com / CC BY-ND
Gathering Kindling in Novoli   Andreauuu via Foter.com / CC BY-ND
Gathering Kindling in Novoli 2   Andreauuu via Foter.com / CC BY-ND
Building the Focara   20centesimi via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
Lighting the Focara   ɯoop via Foter.com / CC BY
Map by d-maps.com

 

Sweet Sfincia in Sicily

 

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Sfincia Sprinkled with Sugar

Sicily is undoubtedly known for its fabulous pastry sweets. Sfincia, also called Spincia, are sweet, donut-like pastry treats served around festivals and holidays but in particular, for festivities honoring San Giuseppe. The sfinica are made by combining basic ingredients of flour, eggs, butter, salt, and water. There are slight variations of this recipe, but all are shaped into elliptical balls of dough, then deep fried golden brown. The Sfince are served several ways at the feast: sprinkled with sugar or filled with ricotta, cottage cheese or cream.

 

The town of Montelepre has been celebrating the Sagra della Sfincia for over 15 years. Montelepre is located on the outskirts of Palermo, trailing down a mountainside. It’s home to 6,000 residents and has a long history dating back to 1400. The Sagra della Sfincia in Montelepre usually takes place on January 6th but was postponed until January 8th this year due to bad weather. The festivities are centered around Piazza Principe di Piemonte from 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM. If you find yourself in Sicily at another time of year, visit Pasticerria in Palermo to give these sweet treats a try.

INFORMATION

ATMA Montelepre Event Information

Montelepre Map & Location

Scimone Pasticerria in Palermo

ABOUT

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 about Lisa’s books and “Fun with Food & Festivals” Tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.

PHOTO CREDITS

Sfincia Sprinkled with Sugar By Civa61 via Wikimedia Commons

Church in Montelepre serguei_2k via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Chiese di Montelepre By Dedda71 via Wikimedia Commons

Montelepre Street Scene By Dedda71 via Wikimedia Commons

Abandoned Train Station By SalvatoreI88 via Wikimedia Commons

Panoramic View of Montelepre By Missale P via Wikimedia Commons