I recently read that in Umbria alone, there are 627 sagres, or festas being held this year. For a very small region, that is a lot of festas, and the fall season seems to be the most popular time of year. A few weeks ago it was that wacky potato festival in Pietralunga, this Sunday we went to a very traditional (i.e. no naked ladies dancing in the street) festival in the lofty village of Monte S.M. Tiberina.
We ate roasted chestnuts, drank wine from the Cantino del Convento, where they promised that all the grapes were all smashed with holy feet, watched traditional, fully clothed, dancers and looked at all sorts of crafts. All in all, it’s a fun way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. An added bonus was the spectacular sunset which deserved a festa all its own.
Monte S.M. Tiberina (whose name is far too long for such a small village) is a gorgeous hilltop village; it seems much higher and much more remote than Montone and until yesterday, we’ve never seen more than 3 people walking around. That’s 3 people combined, from 4 separate visits. We’ve always laughed and said that it was a ghost town with great potential, but lately, we’re hearing more and more about the town and the surrounding area, so maybe Monte S.M. Tiberina is having a bit of a renaissance. I will say this, they know how to roast a fine chestnut.
Preparations started today for our Festa del Bosco. First it was the chestnut lady who sets up in front of our door, she was checking to be sure everything was ok, that we would move our plants indoors, and if I wanted to put my car in the garage, I better do it before sunrise tomorrow. This afternoon they hung up little lights over everyone’s door; you are expected to provide the town with the electricity for the lights. The chestnut man should be lighting his fire on Thursday, so if anyone has any great recipes for food that is smoked over chestnut flames, let me know, because my kitchen is directly over the flames and the smoke and I can hang a hunk of meat out of the window. I’m sure that would fit in with the whole medieval theme….