The “sagra”: an Italian food festival tradition
Above: The Fiera del Tartufo is one of the many sagre that take place during the fall (it continues through November 18).
Traveling to Italy in the winter can provide you with an array of rewards. Lower fares, fewer tourists and cheaper hotels are some of the obvious.
Fall colors in the vineyards are a sight to see. Warming your hands with a paper cone full of warm chestnuts while strolling through a pizza decorated with Christmas lights is something that everyone should experience.
But if you like organized cultural events, the sagra is for you. A sagra is a festival, usually celebrating some sort of food with accompanying fanfare. Sagre are held year-round and in even the tiniest of villages, but Fall/Winter is the high season. In the winter, there is often a Sagra della Castagna (chestnut), Sagra dei Funghi Porcini, Sagra del Tartufo (truffle), and Sagra del Cinghiale (wild boar), to name just a few.
The celebrated ingredient or dish is served along with simple country wine. There is music, usually typical of the region, and sometimes there are vendors selling toys and candy. Communal tables are the norm and families can eat, drink and be merry while the children play in the festive atmosphere.
It’s a great (and inexpensive/free) way to really soak in the local color while tasting some very authentic and home made food. What could be better than that?