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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

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Sweet Sfincia in Sicily

 

spincia-2
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

 

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. On Saturday at afternoon at 4:30 PM, a parade of folk groups kicks the evening off. Starting at 7:00 PM Sicilian street food will be served in Piazza Marconi. If you‘d like something more formal, various restaurants participate in fixed menus that incorporate the use of the almond as the highlighted ingredient. On Sunday at 10:00 AM don’t miss the 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 71st Feast of the Almond Blossom, it’s the 61st International Folklore Festival. This is the second weekend and it continues each weekend through March 13th.

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

 

 

 

Wine and Chestnuts with A Volcano View

Etna Eruption July 30, 2011; Photo credit: gnuckx / Foter.com / CC BY
Etna Eruption July 30, 2011; Photo credit: gnuckx / Foter.com / CC BY

Zafferana Etnea is a town on the eastern slopes of Mount Etna in the Catania province of Sicily. Etna is Europe’s highest active volcano and dominates the landscape of Eastern Sicily. This weekend the hamlet of Sarro within Zafferana Etnea is hosting their 25th annual wine and chestnut festival as part of their Feast of San Martino. Wine and chestnuts are the ritual food and drink to celebrate St. Martin and during Roman times chestnuts were eaten by shepherds and referred to as “Jupiter’s acorns”.

Fresh Chestnuts Photo credit: it1315922 / Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Fresh Chestnuts; Photo credit: it1315922 / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

There is an established tradition of this festival that offers all attendees free pasta and chickpeas but the offerings don’t stop there. On Piazza Padre Russo, the heart of the festivities, from 6:30 pm into the night there will be opportunities to purchase roasted chestnuts, sausage and homemade cakes. In addition, organized games and evening entertainment along with a raffle organized by a non-profit with proceeds benefiting the poor during the upcoming holiday season.

Piazza Zafferana Etnea by Day Photo credit: Leandro's World Tour / Foter.com / <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/
Piazza Zafferana Etnea by Day; The Baroque-Style Chiesa Madre to the Right; Photo credit: Leandro’s World Tour / Foter.com /

The Zafferanesi are resilient, rebuilding their town multiple times after angry eruptions of Etna over several hundred years. The town is a popular stopping off point for tourists on their way to the Park of Etna. Etna’s eruptions have provided very fertile agricultural land that supports the cultivation of grapes, almonds, citrus fruit and a variety of vegetables.

Piazza Zafferana Etnea at Night; Photo credit: Ask@Net / Foter.com / CC BY
Piazza Zafferana Etnea at Night; Photo credit: Ask@Net / Foter.com / CC BY

The nearby town of Sant’Alfio has a huge 2,000-4,000 year old tree called “Castagno dei Cento Cavalli” (the chestnut tree of 1,000 horses). Legend has it that this tree protected Queen Jeanne d’Anjou, Queen of Aragon, and her retinue of 100 knights during a terrible thunderstorm. It is the subject of various songs and poems and had a circumference of 190 feet when its measurement was recorded back in 1790.

Comune di Zafferana Etnea