National Lasagna Day: My Favorite Recipe & Where to Find Lasagna Festivals in Italy

In honor of National Lasagna Day in the United States (July 29th)!

Lasagna_romagnola
Lasagne Romagnola

Just looking at a picture of lasagna makes my stomach rumble! It ignites my savory cravings and when I eat it, rarely can I stop at just one serving. Made of sheets of pasta layered in a baking dish with different ingredients and sauces, the classic lasagna version hails from Bologna in the Emilia Romagna but the Naples version from Campania is just as famous. The variations are endless!

1251187022_9c611920d4_b
Baked Lasagna (Lasagne al Forno)

While traveling throughout Italy, I noticed that lasagne (Lasagna in Italian) is different than what I have experienced in your standard, run-of-the-mill Italian-American family restaurant. It’s probably closer to what you find when invited to the homes of friends and relatives of Italian descent. I prepare lasagna several times a year, typically when I have a large group for dinner at my home. (Friends, I reveal my secret recipe below!)

6423659177_865e669134_b
Making Spinach Lasagne Pasta

In 2011 my husband and I were dinner guests at the family home of our friend Andrea in Forli, Emilia Romagna. We had been traveling in Italy for several weeks and eaten some fine lasagne in restaurants. We were delighted when Mamma Pasini served up her personal lasagne recipe. In an attempt to determine why what we were tasting was so different than what I had encountered back home, I took the opportunity to ask about the ingredients (with Viviana translating). Mamma Pasini’s recipe differed in four key ways: it was light on tomatoes, had no ricotta, didn’t have as many layers of pasta sheets, and, perhaps most importantly, it was made with bechamel sauce. (Note: southern Italian recipes tend to be heavier on the tomatoes, so if they are a problem for you try a central/northern Italian recipe like the link below, instead).

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Serving up Lasagne

Upon our return to States, I feverishly searched for a recipe I thought resembled what had been discussed in the kitchen back in Forli.  (Que drumroll…)  I zeroed in on one called “Giorgios Tuscan Lasagna” (see link below).  So now my secret is out! The lasagna friends have been enjoying at my home for several years is a fantastic recipe I found online. Whether it’s a group of friends or family, lasagna is always a winner in my book – Happy National Lasagna Day USA!

LASAGNA FESTIVALS

To sample Lasagnas from different regions of Italy, attend one of these festivals dedicated to Lasagna throughout Italy:

May – Oricola, Abruzzo

May – Montenero d’Orica, Tuscany

May/June –  Arci di San Lazzaro, Bologna, Emilia Romagna

June/July – Bosio, Piemonte

August – Mercato San Severino, Salerno, Campania Lasagna & Meatballs Festival!

NOTE: dates/months may change each year – always confirm!

TIP: To find your own, search on “Sagra della Lasagna”

#NationalLasagnaDay #lasagna #lasagne #italyfestivals #italianfood

INFORMATION

Giorgios Tuscan Lasagna by Squirrel_Nut from Austin, TX

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, travel services, custom itineraries, and small group tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides or lisa@lisastravelguides.com

BROCHURE: Fun with Food & Festivals Tours!

PHOTO CREDITS
Lasagne Romagnola   by Sambawamba via wikimedia commons
Baked Lasagna   WordRidden via Foter.com / CC BY
Serving up Lasagne   by Roger469 via wikimedia commons
Making Spinach Lasagne pasta  manu flickr2010 via Foter.com / CC BY

67th Ladispoli Artichoke Festival

7431108814_d95073529a_b (2)

The Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco in Ladispoli outside of Rome, claims to be the first festival honoring the artichoke in the world.  Ladispoli is just over twenty miles northwest of Rome on the Mediterranean coastline along the ancient Roman road, the Via Aurelia.  Named after Ladislao Odeschalci who founded the city in 1888, Ladispoli a coastal resort town in the Lazio region.  There were settlements in the area since Etruscan times.Started in 1950 to promote artichokes, particularly tourism in Ladispoli, the festival has endured and is held in early April each year over a three day period.

2160339830_ec04030e94_b (2)

This festival celebrates the Romanesco variety of artichoke, which is globe-shaped and purplish in color.  Leading up to the event, the restaurants in the area highlight the use of artichokes and offer fixed price menus.  Two popular ways to prepare and eat artichokes are Carciofi alla Romana and Carciofi all GiudiaCarciofi alla Romana are stuffed with mint, garlic and parsley and then cooked slowly in olive oil. Carciofi alla Giudia, a classic Roman Jewish dish, they are flattened and deep fried to a golden crispy finish.

 

The 67th festival runs today thru Sunday. There will be stands for tasting the artichokes as well as musical entertainment and cooking demonstrations.  It’s an easy start or finish to your vacation if you are arriving in Rome via Aeroporto Fiumicino and easily accessible by train from Rome or Pisa.

Carciofi alla Giudia
Carciofi all Giudia
Carciofi alla Romana
Carciofi alla Romana

Ladispoli, Lazio on Google Maps

Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco info Pro Loco Ladispoli

Photo Credits:

Carciofi Romanesco   Stefano Pellicciari via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Carciofi for Sale   blucolt via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Fried Artichokes   fugzu via Foter.com / CC BY
Carciofi alla Giudia   SignorDeFazio via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Carciofi alla Romana   lisa_shen via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

 

 

 

 

 

Go Nuts at the Almond Blossom Feast of Agrigento

5319289953_a7b32f51c6_b (2)Spring has already sprung in Agrigento, Sicily. Originally founded as a Greek colony in 581 BC and called Akragas, Agrigento has been, at various times, ruled by Byzantines, Romans and Arabs. The Greek presence is perhaps most felt at the Valle dei Tempi, home to five temple ruins that draw visitors from around the globe.

100368123_9a4141ac52_o (2)

The Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiori celebrates the almonds of the area. Today is the last day of the festival celebrations in 2017. Various restaurants participate in fixed menus that incorporate the use of the almond as the highlighted ingredient. Today at 10:00 AM (the last Sunday of the celebration each year) there is a parade of folk groups, Sicilian carts, and both Andalusian and Friesan horses.158866175_c32dd433b4_o (2)

Eager for more local dancing and entertainment? Not only is this the 72nd Feast of the Almond Blossom, it’s the 62nd International Folklore Festival. This is the last weekend of three.

2288237183_7a07bcf902_b (2)

Sagra del Mandorlo Official Website

Visit Agrigento Tourism Website

#italyfestivals #sagradelmandorlo #agrigento #sicily

Photo Credits:
Temple of Concordia:  archer10 (Dennis) (67M Views) via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Sicilian Horse Cart on Parade:   cL4uDj via Foter.com / CC BY
Piazza Municipio at Night, Agrigento:   cL4uDj via Foter.com / CC BY
Almond Blossoms:   beamillion via Foter.com / CC BY

 

 

 

The Great Italian Food Fight

5517384800_182ac3a5b2_b

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.

8737767635_3f349bf2be_b
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!

g0290450
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.

papa-del-gnoco-01.jpg
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!

22165647338_825605b41f_b-1
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.

6932953786_03472063fd_b
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

 

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

 

Roasted Chestnuts and Savory Sausage South of Rome

1024px-panoramaprossedi-2
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.

panorama-prossedi
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.

palazzo-barrone
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

Candelara by Candlelight in Le Marche

 

4334483465_9352c952e4_b-2
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

 

Il Baccanale of Imola in the Emilia-Romagna

leonardo_da_vinci_-_plan_of_imola_-_google_art_project-2
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.

16278322226_b9d727fe8b_b-2
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.

imoladuomo-2
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.

8633047754_f91aaa1291_b-2
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

 

Dreaming of a Trip to Italy? Virtual Bookstore SALE & Signing – Order Now!

food-folklore-a-year-of-italian-festivals-lisa-vogele

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 Festivals makes a great gift, stocking stuffer or addition to your travel bookshelf.

To celebrate the first anniversary of my Lisa Love’s to Travel blog, 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!

Click Here for Online Sale Details

*shipping to continental US destinations only via USPS media mail