Summer in Italy, never a dull moment (2)

sagra4 sagra2 sagra5Along with cultural activities such as concerts, outdoor film screenings and lectures, Italy’s towns – in particular the smaller ones – dedicated much of the summer months  (but the season can run from April to October) to what are generally called “sagre”, a word that was originally coined to describe some kind of an event with religious or spiritual overtones (it is very similar to the Italian word for sacred, sacro) and which now tends to be applied to food festivals of one sort of another. Sometimes they are called “fiere” fairs, but the “in” word is sagra.

Right now in towns around Bolsena, the lake town where I spend weekends and much of the summer, there are several underway. In tiny Torre Alfina (where there is a popular blues festival every July), they are now holding the “sagra” of pappardelle (broad noodles) and wild boor. Nearby Montefiascone is having it’s annual Fiera del Vino and in tiny  Sorana, in Tuscany, the  Sagra del Prosciutto e Formaggio started on August 8 and lasts until this coming weekend.

There is no limit to the kinds of food sagras (in Italian the plural is sagre) that some towns come up with, although sometimes these reflect local culinary traditions that may be unknown to people from other areas. I just found online a list of the “sagre” that the small town of Massarosa in the province of Lucca scheduled this year from April through October.

April and May:  

Sagra del Pesce and

Sagra of olive oil and olives

Sagra della zuppa alla contadina (farmers’ soup)


Sagra della Ranochiocciola (frogs and snails)

Festa del Pesce (Fish Festival, starring a kind of paella)

Sagra della bruschetta (which pronounced correctly is brusketta)

Sagra dello stinco”  (leg of veal) “Sagra del fungo porcino”

Sagra della Pupporina e del tordello, the first are pastries in the shape of a woman’s breast, the second a local kind of ravioli.

Sagra del fungo porcino (porcini mushrooms)

Sagra del quartuccio fritto e delle mondine (fried bread and chestnuts)


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