It was Sunday and we had plans to visit a fest devoted solely to first plates, or antipasti – appetizers in English. It is the only festival of its kind in Italy. The weather was not so good. Spitting rain. But not too bad and we had been wanting to go to this since we came. So, not letting the weather stop us, we set off to Foligno. This town lies 25 miles south of Perugia and north of Spoleto. As we looked around I thought to myself maybe it should have been on my list when we thought about Umbria. It is flat, has a nice big Centro Storico, and is on the main train line from Rome to Ancona on the Adriatic. Very walkable.
Foligno is host to two big jousting tournaments held in June, called 1st challenge, and September, (called counter-challenge) . The contest is called Giostra della Quintana and is named after the Roman 5th road where the soldiers were trained in jousting. Believe it or not they have had this festival since 1448 (!) It has been held uninterrupted since then. The contest is between the ten “neighborhoods” of the city. Each neighborhood is represented by a Knight. They gallop on horseback trying to catch three rings, each smaller than the previous one. I must go see it sometime.
Note the flags on either side of the street. These are two of the Neighborhoods.
Another Neighborhood with pink flags.
Anyway, back to the Primi Piatti. The fest is four days long. Their were 14 booths all over town, each specializing in an area of Italy, or a type of food, like pasta. Some were kind of like restaurants where you paid 3 to 8 Euro for tastes. We walked all over town. In the main Piazza they had cooking demonstrations. There were random bands and lots of music. We visited the Sicily tent. It was very crowded we could barely make any progress. Then went to the Jewish food one. It was really just a restaurant with tastes and we didn’t want to do that. Next we went to the Pasta piazza with people selling all shapes and kinds of pasta. Then we visited the Street Food one which had Hamburgers, hot dogs, fried Olives, mozzarella balls and beer. Lots of beer. Finally we visited the area dedicated to local Umbrian foods. Cheeses, wines, olive oils, honey, confitures. It was a fun time. Next time we’ll go earlier and have lunch.
First booth was billed as Sicilian. A lot of the things in there were not from Sicily. This first cheese is a lovely oozing Gorgonzola which I had a taste of.
This is Mortadella, from Emilia-Romagna.
Next up were what they were billing as “Street Foods”.
This one was too funny not to take a picture of!
And all the beers on tap in this pub, called Beer on the Road, were American micro-brews.
Next up was the Pasta Booth. This packet seemed to have many different shapes all together. I’d never seen that before.
And I couldn’t resist these beautiful pomegranates. They grow everywhere here.
Last booth we visited was dedicated to Umbrian specialties, like these cheeses…
Norcia meats and sausages. This is from the area hard hit by the earthquakes last year. Norcia was heavily damaged.
And finally I started fixating on the very inappropriate, in my opinion, shoes some women wear who will be walking uneven streets for hours.
Here is my idea of appropriate footwear! Not…these guys clacked along loudly with wooden sandals.
Hope you enjoyed the Festa pictures!
Yeah, I’m WAY past those high heels! but the Italiane love them. We did have fun.
Great post, Nancy, loved the gas pump keg of beer. Looks like a good time, unless you happen to be wearing black high-heeled shoes. That’s just plan crazy.