Monday, November 3, 2008

Festivals of Umbria


When: May

Where: Assissi

The ancient rivalry between the two medieval wards, the “Parte di Sopra” and the “Parte di Sotto” continues. In a spectacular recreation of days past, medieval and Renaissance costumes bring the town to life. The challenge takes place in the form of theatre shows, songs and choruses, dances, processions, archery, crossbow and flag-waving displays. The districts compete in a singing contest among the incredible floral decorations, torches and candles.

Where: Gubbio

When: May 15th

Ceri Race Festival
It’s one of the most unusual religious events in Italy. The “Ceri” are three gigantic wooden structures weighing about 400 kilos ( about 800 pounds) each, topped by statues of St. Ubaldo, St. Giorgio and St. Antonio. The young men of the town carry them on their shoulders from the historic part of the town to the top of Mount Ingino, where the basilica of the patron stands.

Where: Narni

When: May 2-3 and two weeks preceding with festival

Corsa all'Anello
The main feast in medieval Narni was dedicated to the Patron Saint Giovenale, taking place each year on the 3rd of May. During this festival the whole town of Narni contributes to recreate the atmosphere of 1371, year of the first written city laws. Flags and torches adorn squares and streets, taverns and pizza ovens emanate into the streets typical fragrances of Umbrian meals and very good wines. The whole town hosts medieval sounds and colours.
Historical processions, art exhibitions, folk shows, concerts, competitions among the terzieri all combine to transform the town into a medieval picture.The town is divided into 3 parts or terzieri, named Mezule, Fraporta and Santa Maria and each has different colours to be recognized by everyone. The town crier reads the traditional ban and the taverns are open: this is the beginning of the feast, which dates back to the first half of the 14th century.
This festival comes to its highest point on the 3rd of May, when all the people in the town celebrate the Saint Patron of Narni -St.Giovenale. Following the rules and regulations prescribed by the medieval town laws, dating back to the year 1371, the riders participate in the historical “Race to the ring” - wearing their medieval costumes- riding their horses, trying to drive their lances through a silver ring. The riders come to the main square of the town, the present Piazza dei Priori, which once was called “Platea Maior”. Among the main events during the festival, we cannot forget the Offer of the Candles in the Cathedral, taking place on the 2nd of May. This evocative display reminds us of the city's authorities offer of candles (brought also by the representatives of castles and guilds) to the tomb of the Patron Saint Giovenale on the occasion of his feast.
During the two weeks preceding the race, the whole town turns to be the stage for religious and civic plays, and several medieval shows are organised by each “Terziere” (i.e. the part the town is divided into): from the blessing of the riders to the flag throwers’ shows, ending up with the historical procession on the last Saturday, just before the racing day.


When: End of June- Mid July

Where: Spoleto

Spoleto Festival
Established by Gian Carlo Menotti in 1958 with the aim of creating an opportunity for Italian, American and European cultures to meet and exchange ideas. Today is one of the most prestigious international artistic events and offers performances of theathre, dance, prose and lyrics performed in very unusual spaces such as the Cathedral Square, where the final concerts of the Festival take place.

When: June 27-July 13, 2008 & Jan 2-4 2009

Where: Perugia

Umbria Jazz
Launched in 1973, Umbria Jazz is one of the most important jazz music festivals in the world. The event lasts ten days during which, from morning to night, in the historic center of Perugia , concerts of all types of jazz take place. During the festival Perugia becomes a meeting point for tens of thousands of music lovers from all over the world. Tickets are available online.

When: August

Where: Montefalco

August in Montefalco Festival
Groups of strings and wind instruments fill the charming streets and squares of the hsitoric center with melodies, shows for kids and pleasant evenings in the the Taverns of the Town. All ending with a procession, the crossbow contests, the flag-wavers and the choreographic: "Flight of the Ox”. The ox - race takes place every year in Montefalco. It is a bloodless recalling of a folk manifestation quoted in the ancient city chronicles. In that period the game was a violent fight between some men and one furious ox, which, which exhausted by the cruel fight, inevitably was overwhelmed. On Christmas Day its meat divided up among all the families. Now the procession takes place with the absolute respect for the animals. The bull of each quarter, properly trained during the year, competes against the men. Check out the website listed above for lots of places to stay and other festivals. There is a small English flag at the top of the page for the English version of the website.

Where: Foligno

Italian First Courses Festival

A Festival promoting quality first courses in Italian cuisine: pasta, rice and soups. It is divided into various sections, such as the tasting of first courses at taverns in the historic center, guided by chefs, and the cooking school of the Great Masters. Shows with comedians and artists in the 15th Century setting of the Auditorium San Domenico, with the tasting of the first course dishes.

When: September 29 – October 5th 2008

Where: Orvieto

Orvieto with Taste
“Orvieto con Gusto” is a prestigious enogastronomic event that celebrates this fall its 11th edition. “Palazzo del Gusto” (The Palace of Taste), an ancient monastery, will be the center of several gastronomic and cultural meetings. It will offer you the opportunity to taste special dinners with 4/5 course local menus starting Saturday September 29th through Sunday October 7th.Friday October 5th “Palazzo del Gusto” will host a special ethnic evening. You will taste and enjoy Serbian cuisine, Balkan culture, music and entertainment.
Among the cultural events please don’t miss “Pomona ottocentesca”. It is an exhibition of a prestigious collection of wax fruit made by 19th century craftsmen. The exhibition will be inaugurated Saturday September 29th and will be open to the public until Sunday October 7th. The fruits of the season will be celebrated in a special “fruit dinner”. Together with the International Slow Food movement, Good, clean and fair food, the Orvieto event will offer at “Palazzo dei Sette” an exhibition of Slow Food books and magazines along with wine tasting and happy conversation around Umbrian food and wine.
Saturday October 6th and Sunday October 7th are the most fun days to taste, to meet new friends and enjoy Orvieto life style. “Orvieto con Gusto” promenade will offer food and wine lovers the discovery of 5 major sites of our ancient town, in a very special enogastronomic walking tour around the city tasting a 5-course menu specially prepared in each single location. In those same days, the Claudio Faina Etruscan Museum will host a magic moment: discovering the Etruscan world toasting with a glass of the “Muffe Nobili” sweet wines. A special visit to the ancient Etruscan caves along with a tasting of traditional appetizers and wines will be available in “Pozzo della Cava” and “Pasticceria Adriano”. And through all the “Orvieto con Gusto” period, local restaurants will be offering typical Orvieto menus.

When: October 18-26 2008

Where: Perugia

Eurochocolate a great event dedicated to the lovers of the “ Food of the Gods”, which every year transforms the squares and the historic center of Perugia into a lively open-air chocolate shop. Amateur and semi-professional workshops, tastings, exhibitions and other events are held in the historic town center. This is a unique, varied festival, which features the biggest names in Italian and international confectionary making.

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