Candelara by Candlelight in Le Marche


A Snowy Night in Candelara


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Marche region of Italy this weekend. The Italian medieval village of Candelara in Pesaro is bathed in candlelight 8 nights each November & December. “Candele a Candelara” (Candles to Candelara) is an Italian Christmas Market devoted to Candles. At 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM, all of the electric lights are turned off in the town and it is basked in the warm glow of candles for 15 minutes.  70 wooden houses line the streets and sell different, locally made goods and, of course, candles!  There are candle-making demonstrations, jugglers, violinists and other live entertainment. Each year, their own Santa Claus band, made up of 35 musicians in Santa Claus costumes, leads a procession through the streets in honor of Santa Lucia (Santa Claus is Babbo Natale in Italian). Several restaurants also serve dinners by candlelight, to continue the festivities inside.

Candelara in Pesaro is only about 10 km from the Adriatic Coastline, in the northernmost part of the Marche region. It is an area of rolling hills that transition into the coastline and known for its terrific beaches. Candelara has several interesting churches and a castle dating back to 400 AD. If you are interested in learning more about Candelara in depth, Il Ponticello, a local tour company is offering a walking tour that begins and ends at the candle market celebrations, includes local highlights and even a wine tasting stop (see Il Ponticello below) for 15 Euro.

“Candele a Candalara” takes place over eight days straddling the last weekend of November, and the first two weekends of December. The market is open from 10AM – 9PM on the following dates in 2016: NOV 26 & 27, DEC 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 & 11. Admission is 2.50 Euros for ages 13 and over (12 and under enter free).


Candele a Candelara Website

Candele a Candelara Full Program

Il Ponticello Walking Tour


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.


CANDELARA BY CANDELIGHT MONTAGE   Augustine Alessandroni, Edward Serretti, Silvano Spadoni via Pro Loco Candelara
 #destinazionemarche #candelara @pesaroeurbino @ilponticello


Il Baccanale of Imola in the Emilia-Romagna

Leonardo DaVinci’s Map of Imola Created for Cesare Borgia

Imola should be on your itinerary if you want an “off the beaten tourist track” location in the Emilia-Romagna region with good food and historical sites. Il Baccanal of Imola is a series of events within an event held throughout the month of November. Its name pays homage to Bacchus, the Roman name for the Greek god Dionysus for the grape harvest and wine. Each year there is a theme that runs through the exhibitions, wine tastings, olive oil tastings, cooking school, restaurant specials, and entertainment. This year the theme is “chicchi, grani e farine” (beans, grains, and flour). There is some type of eating, market or activity offered most days in November. This weekend the local olive oil is the focus; open from 9am – 7pm there is a local olive oil market with olive oil tastings and products.

Rocca Sforzesca – Sforza Castle

Unless you are a Formula One or motorcycle racing fan, you may not have heard of Imola. Like many locations in Italy, Imola sits on the remains of an old Roman town. The duomo of Imola was originally erected in the 12th century and endured various renovations. It’s current facade dates to the 1850’s and inside it has a 16th-century baptismal font and 15th-century wooden crucifix above the altar. The Rocca Sforzesca (Sforza Castle) sits right in town and dates back to 1261. It is a very fine example of medieval and renaissance fortification-type architecture. in 1480 it was expanded by Girolamo Diario and his wife, the famous Caterina Sforza. In addition to walking through the castle itself, visitors can view the ceramics and weapons museums housed here.

Duomo di Imola – Basilica Cattedrale di San Cassiano Martire

Of course, if you ARE a Formula One racing fan, a visit to the Enzo & Dino Ferrari Autodrome is a must; in fact, for all car enthusiasts, it’s possible to take a few laps around the track in a Ferrari for 800+ Euro or attend the Lamborghini Academy on site. Whether its food, castles or cars that interest you, you can’t go wrong with Imola.

On the Track at Imola: The Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari



Bacchanal Imola Event Website

Visiting Imola Website

Museum Rocca Sforzesca

Motorsport Maranello at Imola Autodrome

Lamborghini Experience


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.


LEONARDO DA VINCI’S MAP OF IMOLA   Leonardo DaVinci via Wikimedia Commons
DUOMO di IMOLA   GiovaneScuola2006 via Wikimedia Commons

@visitareimola @ERtourism @RegioneER


Wine in Sardinia – More than Just Beaches

Glass of Red Wine

Sardinia has long been known for its extensive Mediterranean coastline of sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. In the summer, these beaches serve as an escape for the rich and famous, visitors and locals. But Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian) is more than just beaches. Like other parts of Italy, Sardinia is home to archaeology sites, fabulous sheep’s milk cheeses, and wine production.

Milis is a village of less than 2,000 people on the Campidano plain, just inland from the west coast city of Oristano. This weekend, Milis is hosting a wine festival accompanied by the “Taste of Street Food” with stands of local foods offered at very reasonable prices. The “Rassegna Vini Novelli Sardegna” (Review of New Sardinian Wines) is an event that promises “a good opportunity to combine culture, wine, food and fun.”

Traditional Folklore Costume of Milis

One of my all-time favorite books about Italy and Italian cuisine is Fred Plotkin’s “Italy for the Gourmet Traveler” detailing specialty food, wine and fun facts about each region. It’s a must-have bookshelf item for every Italophile and foodie. Mr. Plotkin summarizes several wines/grapes in his chapter on Sardinia and recommends keeping in mind “Cannonau and Vermentino” when seeking out local vino to try. Go beyond the beach, and explore all Sardinia has to offer.

San Giovanni di Sinis Beach near Oristano


Sardinia/Sardegna Tourism

Rassegna Vini Novelli Milis


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.


Glass of Red Wine   JMVerco via / CC BY-NC
Piazza Martiro in Milis   Tonietto at Italian Wikipedia (Transferred from it.wikipedia to Commons.) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Traditional Folklore Costume of Milis   By Tonietto (dalla mia collezzione personale) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Villa Pernis in Milis   By Tonietto (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
San Giovanni di Sinis Beach near Oristano   Marco Menu via / CC BY-NC-ND

@rassegnavininovellimilis #novellimilis2016


November Festivals of Brisighella

brisighella_ra_pano_2Brisighella is a beautiful town situated on a hillside about one hour southeast of Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It hosts many wonderful food and folklore festivals throughout the year and in November there are four food festivals, one every Sunday to enjoy. These celebrations are collectively referred to as Quattro Sagre per Tre Colle (Four Feasts for Three Hills) referencing the hills that are part of the Brisighella landscape.

4817960056_646ea7e5a8_b-2NOVEMBER 6 – SAGRA del PORCELLO – Festival of Pork Products

The market opens at 8:00 AM displaying a variety of products made with pork. Later int the morning, from 11:00 AM and until 8:00 PM, food stands serve up pork prepared in the local traditions of the Faenza Apennines (mountains). In Piazza Carducci, expert butchers will give two demonstrations (at 10:00 AM & 3:00 PM) on how to work with/butcher pork. There will be folk performers and games throughout the town during the day. Nine different restaurants are participating in the festivals via menus highlighting pork products.

pera-volpina2NOVEMBER 13 – SAGRA della PERA VOLPINA e del FORMAGGIO STAGIONATO – Festival of Volpina Pears and Seasoned Cheese

This autumn fruit market highlights pears and cheese. Volpina pears are smaller, rounder and harder than the pears we are used to buying at our local supermarkets. They are boiled, cooked in wine, or baked before being eaten. Formaggio Stagionato is a hard, aged pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese that is often enjoyed in combination with the pears.

11433752756_2b124dab53_b (2).jpgNOVEMBER 20 – SAGRA del TARTUFO – Festival of the Truffle

Sua Maestà il Tartufo (His Majesty the Truffle) of both the black (nero) and white (bianco) varieties are showcased on Sunday, November 20th. Dishes are served up at both food stands and restaurants all around town with truffles as the highlight.

olive-oilNOVEMBER 27 – SAGRA dell’ULIVO e dell’OLIO – Festival of Olive and Oil

There are two types of extra virgin olive oil manufactured in the Brisighella area: “Il Brisighello” and “La Brisighella“. The Brisighella product (ending in “A”) is a PDO Product (Protected Designation of Origin). PDO product designations guarantee the product was made in a certain geographic location and not falsely reproduced somewhere else. There are currently 138 DPO products from throughout Italy protected by this designation.


Brisighella Map

Brisighella Information


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.


Panorama of Brisighella   By Revol Web from Bologna, Italia (Brisighella (RA) Pano) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Pork Products Display via / CC BY-NC-ND
Volpina Pears   Brisighella Ospitale
White & Black Truffles   Michela Simoncini via / CC BY
Olive Oil with Olive Branch   USDAgov via / CC BY
Brisighella Castello Summer   Revolweb via / CC BY-SA
Brisighella Food Stands   Brisighella Ospitale
Brisighella Castello Winter   gminguzzi via / CC BY-SA

#Brisighella @BrisighellaBlog


Four Weekends of Fun: Truffles in the Heart of Tuscany

Tagliatelle with Truffles
Tagliatelle Pasta with Shaved Truffles; [Photo credit: jit bag / / CC BY]

This is the second of four weekends of fun in San Miniato. During the “45th Mostra Mercato Nazionale Del Tartufo Bianco Di San Miniato”, you can sample food designed to highlight this expensive fungus. Shaved over pasta, infused in oil, truffled pecorino cheese, truffle tapenade; the variety of truffle products and dishes available practically ensures there’s a truffle in your future.

These precious white truffles command quite a price; approximately $1,200 per pound! They pack a punch of flavor in every bite and it doesn’t take much to flavor a dish. In addition to the restaurants and street food showcasing these tubers, there are cooking demonstrations, a market and parades (consult the program at the link below for schedule and locations).

San Miniato Buildings
San Miniato Buildings
[Photo credit: <a href=””>Michela Simoncini</a> / <a href=””></a&gt; / <a href=””>CC BY</a>]

Even if you aren’t a fan of these fabulous fungi, the drive to San Miniato is a scenic treat and convenient to other places you might like to visit. Sitting atop three hilltops of Tuscan fall splendor, San Miniato traces its origins back to the Paleolithic area. The Romans knew it as Quarto and has a strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes: Pisa to the West, Florence to the East, Lucca to the North and Siena to the South. The FONDAZIONE SAN MINIATO PROMOZIONE has produced and excellent brochure outlining the various attractions and highlights of San Miniato; a link is included below.

San Miniato Area Landscape
View of San Miniato Area Landscape
[Photo credit: <a href=””>anniejay</a&gt; / <a href=””></a&gt; / <a href=””>CC BY-SA</a>]


San Miniato Information

45th San Miniato Truffle Fair Brochure

San Miniato Brochure