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

 

Roasted Chestnuts and Savory Sausage South of Rome

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Panorama of Prossedi

The smell of roasting chestnuts wafting in the air always reminds me of the holidays. Tonight, that aroma is accompanied by the smell of grilled sausage for the residents of Prossedi at their annual sausage festival. The Sagra della Zazzicchia (Festival of Sausage) began at 7:00 PM in the central Piazza Umberto, filled with dancing and music.

Sausage contains a variety of meat and seasonings. The sausage served at Sagra della Zazzicchia  includes a seasoning of chili, salt and orange peel that is mixed in and sits overnight to marinate in the seasoning before being stuffed into its sausage casing the next day. The sausage cures for up to 4 days then is grilled and served with broccoli.

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Panorama of Prossedi Countryside

The Baronial Palace of Prossedi sits proud and dominant on Piazza Umberto. At one time the palace boasted a moat and a drawbridge. It has passed through the hands of several families and continues to be privately owned. Prossedi was founded in the 7th century by refugees from neighbor Priverno.  It sits on a hill overlooking the Amaseno Valley, less than two hours south of Rome.

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Palazzo Baronale in Prossedi

INFORMATION

Map Prossedi, Lazio Region, Italy

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

Panorama of Prossedi   Croberto68 via wikimedia commons

Panorama of Countryside at Prossedi   andynax via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Palazzo Baronale  Raoul De Michelis via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Clocktower Entry Gate on Piazza Umberto   SignorC via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Sausages on the Grill   Julien Menichini via Foter.com / CC BY

Roasted Chestnuts   paolo.r via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

@Visit_Lazio

Savory Salame & Gnocco Fritto Fantasy

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Gnocco Fritto with Salame and Lard Appetizers

Gnoccho, Salame e Fantasia” is a savory food feast dedicated to the gastronomic delight of salame on gnocco fritto (batter fried into a cracker). Rubiera hosts this food event as part of their December-long calendar of holiday events. When you see the word Gnocco your mind may travel immediately to gnocchi, the potato filled pasta. However, what we are talking about here is Gnocco Fritto, a crispy, fried dough in the shape of a cracker or pillow served as an appetizer with meats or lard. It has different names with slight recipe variations throughout the region: Gnoccho Fritto in Rubiera, Pinzino in Ferrara, and Chisolino near Piacenza. Flour, bacon fat or oil, milk, water, yeast and salt are mixed together to form a dough that rises over time. It is then rolled into a sheet, cut into triangles and rectangles and boiled in lard. The results are small pillows or crispy, cake-like crackers.

 

Rubiera is a town set in the countryside of the Emilia province of Emilia-Romagna with beautiful, portico-lined streets. Its original name was Corte de Herberia translated as “in the middle of the plain” in Celtic. Located along the ancient Via Emilia, it is about 30 miles northwest of the University city of Bologna. The Via Emilia is an ancient Roman trade route running from Piacenza to Rimini on the Adriatic Coast, where in ancient times, it connected to the Via Flaminia route to Rome.

Rubiera can easily be reached by car off of the A1 motorway that runs between Parma and Bologna off the Modena Nord exit. Consider visiting some nearby balsamic vinegar producers or visiting the Ferrari Museum in Maranello.

LINKS

Gnoccho, Salame e Fantasia Event Link

Rubiera, Reggio Emilia, Emilia Romagna Region on the map

Emilia Romagna Tourism site

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

Gnocco Fritto with Salame and Lard Appetizers   artnbarb via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Rubiera Porticos   Turismo Emilia Romagna via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Rubiera Street  Turismo Emilia Romagna via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Gnocco Fritto, Salame & Wine   thepinkpeppercorn via Foter.com / CC BY

Gnocco Fritto, Salame & Olive Oil   hotelrealfini via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Forte di Rubiera   By I Sailko via Wikimedia Commons

Piazza Padella, Rubiera   I Sailko via Wikimedia Commons

 #Rubiera #TurismoEmiliaRomagna @ComuneRubiera @turismoER

 

Candelara by Candlelight in Le Marche

 

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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).

INFORMATION

Candele a Candelara Website

Candele a Candelara Full Program

Il Ponticello Walking Tour

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

A SNOWY NIGHT CANDELARA   Niki Giada via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
SANTO STEFANO IN CANDELARA   Gaspa via Foter.com / CC BY
STREET IN CANDELARA   Gaspa via Foter.com / CC BY
CANDELARA BY CANDELIGHT MONTAGE   Augustine Alessandroni, Edward Serretti, Silvano Spadoni via Pro Loco Candelara
 #destinazionemarche #candelara @pesaroeurbino @ilponticello

 

EVENT: New York Times Travel Show January 28, 2017

lisa-m-vogeleI am excited to announce that I will speaking at the New York Times Travel Show on January 28, 2017, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City!

This show is the “largest consumer travel and trade show in North America” with an estimated 30,000 attendees expected. Visit the show if you are trying to decide on your next vacation destination, love food & cultural demonstrations or simply want to come hear me share my love of combining festivals and travel.

MY 3 EVENTS AT THE SHOW

I’ll be part of 3 events at this year’s show:

NYTTS DISCOUNT FOR MY BLOG & SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS

$3 off pricing
Enter discount code:  SPEAK133

food-folklore-a-year-of-italian-festivals-lisa-vogeleCAN’T MAKE IT TO NEW YORK? CHECK OUT MY ONLINE SALE & SIGNING

I am having an online book signing and sale for the rest of 2016 – makes a great stocking stuffer, holiday gift or hostess gift! Click here to buy now direct from me.

TRAVEL WITH LISA!

My 2017 & 2018 Tour dates are available here. Look for detailed itinerary announcements in the next several weeks. If you would like to receive an email of my tour brochure, send me a note: lisa@lisastravelguides.com.

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.

Il Baccanale of Imola in the Emilia-Romagna

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

INFORMATION

Bacchanal Imola Event Website

Visiting Imola Website

Museum Rocca Sforzesca

Motorsport Maranello at Imola Autodrome

Lamborghini Experience

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

LEONARDO DA VINCI’S MAP OF IMOLA   Leonardo DaVinci via Wikimedia Commons
ROCCA SFORZESCA   Marc G.C. via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
DUOMO di IMOLA   GiovaneScuola2006 via Wikimedia Commons
ON THE TRACK AT IMOLA  FabioCasadei via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

@visitareimola @ERtourism @RegioneER