Sagra Summer Celebrations in Italy!
The term "sagra" denotes a local food festival where you will indulge in local delicacies side by side with the town or village inhabitants in a festive outdoor setting.
Try to include one of these community gatherings during your next trip to Italy. It is a great opportunity to sample and taste local Italian food culture. You order food prepared by locals who are quite passionate for their culinary specialties, then sit at communal tables in a rustic setting. Dining at a sagra is inexpensive and fun!
Here are five sample sagra events taking place this summer in Italy:
1. La Fiera dell'Aglio (Ferrara)
A festival which celebrates all things garlic! This sagra takes place in Voghiera, a town outside of Ferrara situated in the Emilia-Romagna Region (northeast of Bologna) and takes place in August. What makes the garlic of Voghiera so special? It's a combination of whiteness, large cloves and that it keeps for a long time without preservatives.
2. Cortona Giostra dell'Archidado (Arezzo)
Every year, a procession of 300 or more people wearing wonderful medieval costumes as well as many riders on their horses parade through Cortona's historic center. The competition known as the Giostra dell'Archidado commemorates the wedding of Francesco Casali, Lord of Cortona, and his noblewoman bride Antonia Salimbeni of Siena, which took place in 1397. The crossbowmen from Cortona's five quarters, "quintieri", compete for a golden arrow. The contest is held in Piazza Signorelli. This feast is held in Cortona, a town in the province of Arezzo (southeast of Florence) and takes place in June.
3. The Festa del Barbarossa (Siena)
On the last weekend of June, the people of San Quirico D'Orcia (in the Province of Siena) travel back to the Middle Ages to commemorate the meeting here in 1155 between Emperor Frederick the First, Barbarossa, and Pope Adrian IV's Papal Emissaries. The Festa del Barbarossa features medieval costume parades, flag throwing and archery competitions.
4. Sagra te lu Ranu (Puglia)
Sagra te lu Ranu is celebrated in July in the town of Merine in Puglia. Here the people celebrate the harvest to come and the elements of nature that give the land its incredible fertility, by featuring traditional delicacies such as fresh and aged cheeses, cured meats, wines, grappa, breads and pastas made from locally grown durum wheat. Homemade orecchiette, the pasta that the Puglia region is known for, is served with traditional toppings such as breadcrumbs, fresh ricotta, and tomato sauce. A bowl of pasta costs four Euro. Many other dishes are also available. Pasticiotti, the pastry that Lecce is known for, are also offered piping hot from the oven. Beer and wine stands are prevalent with wine costing 50 cents a cup. Live bands play all night.
5. Sagra pesce e patate (Lucca)
This fish and potatoes (fish and chips) festival takes place in Barga, a medieval town of the Province of Lucca, from July 22nd to August 16th at the Barga Football Stadium "Moscardini." People can taste fried fish and chips. However, other dishes are served such as grilled meat, cold dishes, and home-made cakes and desserts. This sagra is accompanied by music entertainment and dancing. Moreover, there is a special area for children where they can play.
Where to Find the Most Delicious Cannoli in Italy
The cannoli, meaning "little tube"is an Italian pastry dessert which originated from the Island of Sicily. In Italy, they are commonly known as "cannoli siciliani", Sicilian cannoli.
Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy ricotta based filling. They range in size from "cannulicchi", no bigger than a finger, to the fist-sized proportions typically found south of Palermo, Sicily, in Piana degli Albanesi!
Here are 5 of the best venues for cannoli tasting in Italy:
1. Eurobar Di Michele Mazzara in Sicily.
2. La Cannoleria Siciliana in Rome
3 I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza in Rome
4. Fabbrica Cannoli F.lli Rosciglione in Palermo
5. Antica Pasticceria Cuori di Sfogliatella in Naples
Experience Tuscany with Wine & Gourmet
- Deluxe air conditioned mini coach transportation with English speaking driver throughout
- Six (6) accommodation in superior double rooms at the 1st Class Palazzo Leopoldo Hotel in Radda in Chianti
- Two (2) nights accommodation is executive double rooms at the 1st Class Degli Orafi Hotel in Florence
- Buffet breakfast daily
- Olive oil tasting at an olive oil press in Radda in Chianti
- Visit the Castello di Brolio Wine Estate for a winery visit, wine tasting followed by lunch at the estate's locanda with wine
- Hands on cooking class with English instruction at the Badia a Coltibuono Cooking School in Gaiole in Chianti followed by lunch with wine
- Guided excursion to the hills towns of Siena and San Gimignano
- Visit the Fattoria Poggio Alloro, an organic farm for a winery visit, wine tasting and lunch
- Visit the Prada and Gucci outlets for world class shopping
- Tasting tour of Florence visiting gourmet food shops, sampling typical Tuscan specialties
- Walking tour of Florence with English speaking guide including skip the line reservations & entrance fee to the Accademia Gallery to view Michelangelo's famous "David" Statue
Where to Find the Best Gelato in Italy
Gelato in Italian literally means "frozen." This rich, creamy and flavorful ice cream is coveted around the world.
The great tradition of Italian gelato started during the Italian Renaissance. The Medici Family who ruled over Florence sponsored a contest, searching for the greatest frozen dessert. A man named Ruggeri, a chicken farmer by day who dabbled in cooking during his spare time, took part in the competition. Ruggeri's tasty frozen dessert of sweet fruit juice and ice (similar to today's sorbet) won the coveted award, which immediately placed Ruggeri in the spotlight.
Thanks to today's modern production methods, gelato is now available to all.
Artisans create unique flavors and textures, using only the freshest ingredients.
When traveling to Italy, go sample this magnificent wonder!
Here are 5 of the best venues for gelato in Italy:
1. Gelateria dei Neri in Florence
2. Gelateria I Caruso in Rome
3 Il Massimo del Gelato in Milan
4. Otranto Gelateria in Naples
5. Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè in Rome
Donna Franca's Hotel of the Month L'Hotel In Pietra
Formerly a church, the structure dates back to the 1300s.
To book your stay here, contact one of our sales agents.
The Magical Island of Sardinia
Ways to Spoil Your Mom in Italy
Have fun preparing fine Italian dishes with a hands-on two hour cooking class.
Donna Franca's Destination of the Month: Venice and Islands
Donna Franca's Destination of the Month: Puglia
Location: Southern Italy, bordering the Adriatic Sea.
Popular Attractions: The Trulli of Alberobello, Grotte di Castellana.
Popular Foods: Chickpeas, homegrown herbs and spices, olive and olive oil, tomatoes, and, of course, fresh seafood.
Wine: Puglia produces more wine than any other Italian region, about 17% of the country's total production! The most widely grown grape variety is Negroamaro (literally 'black bitter'). Almost exclusively cultivated in Puglia, Negroamaro is used to produce some of the region's best wines, including Salice Salentino.
Traditions: Every year on November 11, the peninsula comes together to taste the fruits of their labor for this harvest's wine (vino novello)-and to open bottles from the previous year in honor of Saint Martin.
Vacation Special: 8 Days/ 7 Nights: $899.
Celebrate Easter in Italy
Home to the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, Italy is abuzz with processions and unique traditions during the Easter Holiday.
From Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, this is an opportune period to witness the Catholic Church in action and, in particular, the charismatic Pope Francis, who follows quite an active schedule.
If you're fortunate enough to be in Italy during this colorful time, Donna Franca Tours suggests that you experience these five memorable celebratory traditions.
1. A Visit to St. Peter's Basilica
On Holy Thursday, visit the Saint Peter's Basilica where the blessing of the holy oils in Saint takes place in the morning during a special Mass presided over by the Pope. The next day, on Good Friday, a service is held in Saint Peter's in the afternoon, during which Saint John's account of Christ's suffering and death is sung, and the cross is kissed by all present before they receive communion.
2. Follow the Stations of the Cross
On Good Friday, tourists visit the Colosseum to watch the Pope lead the stations of the cross, a procession that commemorates the fourteen stages of Christ's passion. A meditation is read at each of the stations.
3. Partake in Easter Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Basilica & Square
On Easter Sunday, Mass is celebrated in the morning in Saint Peter's Square with tens of thousands of people. Tickets for seats at these services are free, but need to be reserved in advance.
4. Savor Italy's Finest Easter Culinary Traditions
Traditional Easter foods in Italy include eggs, artichokes, roasted lamb, a special sweet bread called "La Colomba" and chocolate eggs, which are hollow and house a special prize inside.
5. Watch the historic Scoppio del Carro
The Scoppio del Carro is a folk tradition which brings hundreds of people to the streets of Florence on Easter Sunday to watch a cart, packed full of fireworks and other pyrotechnics, explode. The 30 foot tall antique cart is escorted by 150 soldiers, musicians, and people in 15th century dress. Shortly thereafter, at the singing of the Gloria in excelcis Deo during Easter Mass, the Cardinal of Florence lights a fuse on the colombina, a rocket shaped as a dove, with the Easter fire., which then zips over the heads of parishioners to ignite the cart outside. The complex array of fireworks lasts about 20 minutes. According to tradition, a successful display of the "Explosion of the Cart" guarantees a good harvest, stable civic life, and good fortune to all.