Chestnut sagre in Lazio

October is a wonderful time of the year. The summer heat has well and truly dissipated, but there are still nice days to be had and any quarrel with the weather is perfectly offset by nature's bounty. Lazio, and northern Lazio in particular, is a hive of activity at this time of year. People are busy. Tending olive groves, heading to sagre, and, when they get the chance, collecting hazelnuts and chestnuts. Indeed, northern lazio is famous for its nuts...

Castagne, or chestnuts, and Nocciole, or hazelnuts, are plentiful among the rolling hills of tuscia, that romantically wild heartland of Etruscan culture covering northern Lazio and the Maremma in southern Tuscany.

Le Giornate della Castagna, Canepina, Prov. di Viterbo
12-27th October

In its 32nd year, this festival, which runs on the last three weekends in October, acts as the cultural hub of the area, with a series of artistic, music, and cultural events spread around the town, all accompanied by free handouts of roasted chestnuts. 

46th Sagra delle castagne, Soriano nel Cimino, Prov. di Viterbo
3rd-13th October

This is the big one. Over the first three weeks of October, Soriano nel Cimino really becomes theChestnut capital of the world. Along with the inevitable roasted chestnuts, there's jam, sweets, sauces, AND historical reenactments. That's right, Soriano gets medieval about chestnuts! Don't just take my word for it, check out the video from last year...

The streets and squares of the town are arranged according to ancient traditions, with processions of local people over 500 strong marching through the town in medieval and renaissance costumes (I'm not vouching for their historical accuracy here - they look authentic to my untrained eye). There's also a parade of horsemen and swordmen and flag-bearers and... well, you get the picture. It's a big thing. So big, in fact, that we've even given it its own blog post.

October is a great time of the year to get out of Rome and see the surrounding countryside. At this time of year northern Lazio teems with farmers big and small harvesting their chestnuts, hazelnuts and olives. While it's may be a long way to go for chestnuts, a trip into northern Lazio could be combined with a tour of Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola, a trip to the monster park in Bomarzo, or the picturesque town of Civita di Bagnoregio, or simply included on a drive up to Tuscany. Can there be a better excuse to get out of Rome?

1 comment:

  1. October is truly splendid! I am curious to know all the activities that happen during this time at your side!