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.
Street in Candelara
Santo Stefano in Candelara
“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).
I am excited to announce that I will speaking at the New York Times Travel Showon 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.
CAN’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 nowdirect 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
Know anyone dreaming about a trip to Italy? Or perhaps you know someone that has been to Italy before but wants to experience something local and different? Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivalsmakes a great gift, stocking stuffer or addition to your travel bookshelf.
To celebrate the first anniversary of myLisa Love’s to Travelblog, I’m having an online book signing event now through the end of December, 2016. All copies will be personally signed and shipped* at reduced prices in an all-inclusive flat rate.
One for $11 OR Three for $22 (Buy 2 get 1 Free)
Buy two for friends and get one free for yourself!
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.
Piazza Martiro in Milis
Villa Pernis in Milis
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.”
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.
Brisighella 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.
NOVEMBER 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.
NOVEMBER 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. FormaggioStagionato is a hard, aged pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese that is often enjoyed in combination with the pears.
NOVEMBER 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.
NOVEMBER 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.
While other towns and regions are busy with their fall chestnut, apple, and truffle festivals, the community of Chatillon in the Val d’ Aosta Region of Italy is celebrating honey in all its sticky sweetness. Stands featuring local honey, honey products, and a honey competition highlight the event. The festival began on Thursday and runs through Sunday, October 29th. Tonight features a Castle of Honey tour in the Castello Gamba with food & wine tastings and a fundraiser for Italian earthquake victims. Tomorrow at 11:00 AM you can enjoy a local parade and at 2:00 PM enjoy a walking tour that combines town history and local honey.
Chatillon is a town located just east of Aosta in the Val d’Aosta province, near the Italian border with Switzerland and the famous Matterhorn peak. The Castello di Ussel was built in 1350 and dominates the skyline. Once you’ve enjoyed your fill of honey, head over to the nearby spa town of Saint-Vincent for some rest and relaxation.
Marradi is a small village of 3,500 located 28 miles northeast of Florence and quite near the Tuscan border with the Emilia-Romagna region. Several trains will transport you to the Sagra delle Castagne (Chestnut Festival) in Marradi over four Sundays in October. Trenitalia runs additional trains from Florence (Firenze) on these Sundays and a special, historic steam locomotive runs (treni a vapori) from select cities on different Sundays.
The festival has activities spread throughout the town in seven different locations. There are stands selling different types of delicious pasta, food, cakes and jams made with chestnuts and chestnut products. This year, the post office has commissioned a special cancellation stamp for everything mailed from Marradi during the festival period. So if you decide to give this festival a try, bring your postcards to mail for an extra special touch.
Free from the tourist crush of nearby Florence, the Mugello region is north of Florence and was first settled by a Ligurian tribe named Magelli, hence the name Mugello. The countryside is a lush valley of rolling hills and home to many Villas, including Villa Demidoff in Vaglia, Palazzo dei Vicari in Scarperia and the two historic Medici Villas: Villa Medicea di Cafaggiolo in Barberino di Mugello and Villa Medicea del Trebbio near San Piero a Sieve.
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 SentieroDegli Dei hiking trail, ferries and what feels like a death-defying coastline drive.
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.
It’s my favorite weekend of the year in beautiful Snowmass Village, Colorado. Balloons, wine & Ferraris! As I sit on my deck with this awesome view of the balloons, the aspens have started to turn their autumn gold with hints of red here and there. The crisp fall air is perfect for being outside and enjoying all that Snowmass Village has to offer.
The weather is forecasted to be perfect for all three mornings that the balloons are scheduled to take flight. Friday morning is a balloon race down the brush creek valley, Saturday is an “x marks the spot” competition and Sunday the thirty balloons will be floating throughout the village. Saturday night is a special balloon glow in the base village when a kaleidoscope of colors will light up the night sky.
Tonight the Snowmass Wine Festival begins via a dinner pairing Sicilian wines with food prepared by the Viceroy Hotel kitchen. Tomorrow afternoon is the Grand Tasting event with local restaurants serving bite-sized portions of their tasty specialties and wineries/importers from Colorado and beyond offering a sampling of all types of wines. Outside of the event, a Ferrari car show will be on display. It’s great fun with lots of locals and visitors participating. For visitors, a side trip to the Aspen Farmers Market on Saturday and Maroon Bells on Sunday rounds out a spectacular fall weekend. Snowmass Village, Colorado… lucky to live here!