Four Fabulous Food & Folklore Festivals

P1030040You have your pick of festivals to attend this weekend in Italy: lemons or fish on the Ligurian coast, rowing in Venice or running in Gubbio. Rather than choose between them, I decided to give you a taste of each.

This Saturday, food is the focus on the Ligurian coast. Monterosso al Mare is the northern most stop of the Cinque Terre (five lands) full of picturesque pastel-colored houses along the Mediterranean coastline.  The Festa del Limone in Monterosso highlights the lemon in food offered by vendors throughout the old town. Each year a special gastronomic walking tour is also offered and you can eat your way through each course at different stops in the old and new town, including a visit to a fragrant lemon vineyard. There is yellow everywhere as residents compete with elaborate window displays using lemons, children run lemonade stands, folk musicians stroll and street food to eat, including some awfully yummy porchetta! My friend Robin and I took the tour last year and weren’t disappointed in the quality of food or atmosphere; our group was expertly lead by Kate Little of Little Paradiso Tours and the plucky Valentina (the namesake of Villa Valentina in Levanto, a high-end B&B).

Also this Saturday, The Sagra del Pesce in Camogli has been held since 1952 and is a highly anticipated event. A huge quantity of fish is fried in a gigantic frying pan then shared with locals and visitors. The locals hope it will bring the generosity of the sea to the local fisherman. Retired frying pans are kept and displayed on a wall near the harbor.

Every May 15th since the year 1160, the City of Gubbio, deep in the green valleys of Umbria, holds the Corsa dei Ceri. Three guilds challenge each other to carrying three towering candlesticks, each weighing in the 800 pound range, on their shoulders up to the basilica of Sant’Ubaldo.  There are events for several days leading up to this grand finale.

7300023284_f1b26f15e5_bVogalonga literally means “Long Row”.  It’s a boat race from Piazza San Marco to Burano and back (20 miles/32 km roundtrip). Hundreds of boats take part with many participants in historical costumes. It is held each May 15th and this year is its 42nd celebration.

 

Pro Loco Monterosso (office at ground level of train station – tickets for gastronomic walking tour)

Kate Little of Little Paradiso Sommelier & Tour Guide

Villa Valentina in Levanto

Vogalonga Official Information

Corsa dei Ceri Information

Photo Credits:
Monterosso al Mare Festa del Limone all photos Lisa M. Vogele & Robin Russo
Retired frying pans of Sagra del Pesce: Jukk_a via Foter.com / CC BY
Fisherman in Camogli, Liguria:  Sangre-La.com via Foter.com / CC BY
Harbor of Camogli at Sunset: Sangre-La.com via Foter.com / CC BY
Corsa dei Ceri, Gubbio, Umbria: GregTheBusker via Foter.com / CC BY
Vogalonga, Venice, Veneto Participants: Old Fogey 1942 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Vogalonga on the Grand Canal, Venice: dalbera via Foter.com / CC BY

 

 

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Transported Back in Time: Venice Carnival 2016

16059773743_504b2143b2_bThe Venice Carnival festivities begin this weekend.  Over a period of two weeks there will be costumed parades, masquerade balls and costume contests. There are more than 50 related events in Venice and nearby providing entertainment, live music and theater. The 2016 Carnival theme is “Creatum -introducing Arts and Traditions”; honoring the craftspeople that have kept traditions alive. The amazing colorful costumes and elaborate masks are a feast for the eyes. Traces of the festivities we see today began as early as 1192. The modern-day Venice Carnival was instituted in 1979, after many periods of stop and start, including being banned by the fascist regime of Mussolini in the 1930s.12850358855_af1e71a3aa_bThe mask-makers, called “mascherari”, traditionally had their own craftsmen guild and set of laws. One of the main highlights is the beautiful mask contest “la maschera più bella”. Held the last weekend of the carnival celebrations, entrants are judged by a panel of international fashion and costume designers. 13444009994_26031bb62f_b
Venice will play host to over 3 million visitors during the Carnival period. Depending on the size of your wallet, you can choose how much or how little to participate. Spending only your time, you can view the costumed boat parade through the Grand Canal, great people-watching, and mask or costume contests. Tickets were still available to some of the masqueraded ball events next week; they range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on which ball and which level of ticket you purchase. Costumes and accessories are rented by the day and range from a couple hundred to a thousand dollars depending on the type of character you want to portray, how fancy you prefer to be and if you want to pay for professional makeup. 14219240489_e2e082a5bc_b
If the Venice Carnival is on your bucket list, you will feel transported back in time to an age when putting on a dress took more than one person and your position in society was literally worn on your sleeve.

Official Venice Carnival Information

Photo Credits:

1 – Three Blue Costumed Participants: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/salvatore_gerace/16059773743/”>Salvatore Gerace</a> via <a href=”http://foter.com/”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-SA</a>
2 – Costumed Couple on the Grand Canal: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/stemonx/12850358855/”>Stefano Montagner – The life around me</a> via <a href=”http://foter.com/”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>
3 – Parade of Costumed Participants: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/17989497@N00/13444009994/”>Monika Kostera (urbanlegend)</a> via <a href=”http://foter.com/”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-SA</a>
4- Gold and Blue Costumed Participants: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/9284966@N07/14219240489/”>guyjr1136</a&gt; via <a href=”http://foter.com/”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-ND</a>