Fish Festival in Positano

Positano at Dusk

This Saturday is the 25th anniversary of the Festa del Pesce (fish festival) in Positano. There was a hiatus from 1994-2005, but it was brought back to raise funds for non-profits, particularly the local Croce Rossa (Red Cross). Positano is part of the famous Amalfi Coast collection of steep, seaside villages. The festival is held along the Spiaggia Fornillo (Fornillo Beach). The towns of the Amalfi Coast are linked by the Sentiero Degli Dei hiking trail, ferries and what feels like a death-defying coastline drive.


Positano Beach View

At 5:00 PM the party begins in Piazza Dei Mulini and moves to the beach pier at 6:30 PM. At 7:00 PM the stands officially open on the edge of Fornillo Beach serving calamari, tuna tartare, fried fish, calamari with potatoes, penne with anchovies and walnuts, lemon sorbet and wine! The evening concludes with a concert on the beach stage.

Draped in wisteria throughout town, the “streets” are narrow alleys with a lot of steps. The beautiful architecture is a mix of cream, white and sun-kissed colors. The Santa Maria Assunta church contains a black Madonna dating back to the 13th century. Wander through the town and be rewarded with special views of the deep blue sea and sweeping panoramas of the coastline.



Festa del Pesce Official Website

Amalfi Coast Tourism 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 at Lisa’s Travel Guides.


Positano at Dusk   Eric Hossinger via / CC BY

Positano Beach View   Hi I’m Santi via / CC BY
Fried Calamari     Gaiux via / CC BY-NC-SA
Fried Fish   acroamatic via / CC BY-NC
Tuna Tartare   Shamballah via / CC BY-NC-ND
Positano Streetview 1 toastbrot81 via / CC BY
Positano Streetview 2 Patrizia Peruzzini via / CC BY

A Village of Beer and Beyond


Villagio Della Birra Poster by Elisa Meccheri

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.



“Vecchia Bastarda” Old Bastard Craft Beer by Birra Amiata Artigianale, a local Brewery (not participating in festival)

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.14289792_993545934091652_114655592984696124_oBUONCONVENTO, NEARBY & SIGHTSEEING

Upcoming Event: 48th Sagra della Val d’Arbia in Buonconvento Sept 16-25

Local Craft Beer: Birra Amiata 

Pianigiani Handmade Leather Bags

Sightseeing in the Val d’Arbia, Crete Senese and Beyond

Follow on this event on twitter @villaggiobirra


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

Vecchia Bastarda (Old Bastard) Craft Beer: Alex Scarcella :: via / CC BY-ND

Street Scene Buonconvento: ho visto nina volare via / CC BY-SA

Crests on Wall Buonconvento: ho visto nina volare via / CC BY-SA

Entry Buoncovento Wall: Pietro Valocchi via / CC BY-SA




gelato! Gelato! GELATO!

If you missed out on Rome’s big birthday bash yesterday, never fear, Gelato is here!  What a more perfect way to ring in spring than a stroll through Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence with a gelato in hand.  This weekend is the start of the traveling Gelato Festival.  Held at various locations throughout Italy and Europe, it’s a must-do for iced treat aficionados.  The festival kicks off this weekend in Florence and then has stops in: Parma, Rome, Naples, Turin, Milan, London, Berlin and Valencia before returning to Florence in September.

Have you always wondered what the difference is between gelato and ice cream? In general, gelato is lower in fat, lower in calories and contains less air than ice cream. The reduction of air gives it a dense, creamy goodness that makes you think you’ve died and gone to heaven. The sugar content is higher than typical ice cream, one of the keys that keep it from freezing solid.  If you’re serious about gelato and would like to open your own shop, you can attend Gelato University at the Carpigiani Gelato University and museum in Bologna, Italy to get your basics down.  Serious about gelato, but not that serious, Carpigiani’s flagship store is located just outside their administrative offices and museum where you can sample a variety of flavors served up by students attending the Gelato University.  Carpigiani has also started offering week-long courses in the United States; check out the link below for their calendar and course offerings.

Can’t make it to Europe? You are in luck! A Gelato World Tour is coming to Chicago, Illinois Memorial Day Weekend.  Sixteen artisanal gelato competitors will be competing for the North American Gelato Title at Millenium Park May 27-May 29.  This is both an industry and public event where hands-on workshops will be offered.  Three finalists will also travel to Rimini in 2017 to compete for “Worlds Best Flavor”. There will also be a West Coast stop in September, location and dates are to be announced.  Follow the links below for information and logistics to attend these two tasty events.

Gelato Festival (Florence, Italy & Europe)

Carpigiani Gelato University

Carpigiani Gelato Museum

Gelato World Tour (including Chicago)

Photo Credits
Gelato with Wafer: Bekathwia via / CC BY-SA
Two Cups of Gelato: B.Positive.2014 via / CC BY-SA
Gelato Cone: erickgonzalez50 via / CC BY-ND
 Piazzale Michelangelo Florence View Photos (all): Lisa M. Vogele
Carpigiani Gelato Musum, Tour & Flagship Store: Aidan M. Vogele, Mark R. Vogele & Lisa M. Vogele