John Bensalhia sees out the Summer season in style as he looks at what September has in store for Italian festivals and events...
Tradition is high on the list for September's festival menu. As the Summer season comes to a close, it's a final chance to take to the warm of the Italian streets to see some superb traditional events packed full of innovation and heart. It's also a month when the food festivals are on the agenda, with everything showcased from chestnuts to salt, not to mention some fine wines.
If your appetite is whetted, then let's see what's in store for September!
Emilia Romagna, 1st - 3rd September 2017
Emilia Romagna, 23rd September - 1st October 2017
Food and drink festivals are common occurrences at this time of year as the harvest season arrives. Emilia Romagna is a good place to be if you're a food and drink fan, with a number of special festivals devoted to various wines and food items.
So let's raise a glass to two wine festivals. First up is a three-day event to mark the wonders of Sangiovese wine. At the picturesque spot of Piazza Garibaldi's arcade, various local companies will allow you to sample their fine wines. Visitors can purchase a special wine goblet to use as the vessel for these tasty offerings, and they can also enjoy some of the local food snacks including cheeses and meats.
The second wine festival is devoted to one of the most important local wines: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro POD (Protected Designation of Origin). This is a longer event, lasting at just over a week. The Castelvetro streets are full of local products from the wineries. It's a family affair, this one, as everybody can come and enjoy the special entertainments put on. These include art displays, musical performances and the parade of Bacchus' floats (Carri di Bacco).
Emilia Romagna, 1st - 3rd September 2017
Taste Of Salt
Emilia Romagna, 7th - 10th September 2017
Let's grab a bite to eat. Sticking with Emilia Romagna, the month of September includes some superb food festivals that showcase the region's wide range of delicious tastes. The Prosciutto di Parma international festival begins the month in fine style, with the 12 municipalities of the area organising special tours and events to put the spotlight on this product. You can attend special guided tours to see how this product is made, and additionally, there are markets and musical events for visitors to enjoy.
Another important festival is the Taste of Salt. A valuable commodity of Cervia's economy, the “white gold” is celebrated through exhibitions, guided tours, meetings, food and wine tastings, and street markets. A key aspect of the festival is the celebration of L'Armesa de Sel (the collection of salt), in which the collated salt from the salt works are ferried by boat to the storehouses. Visitors can grab a bit of good luck from the salt, which is offered to them as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity.
Viterbo, 3rd September 2017
A traditional fixture in the Viterbo calendar is the transportation of the Macchina di Santa Rosa.
The history of this event can be traced back all the way to the middle of the 13th century, and the passing of Saint Rose of Viterbo. Saint Rose's body was transferred six years after her death from the church of Santa Maria del Poggio to the church Santa Maria delle Rose. With respect to the first machine that was meant to signify Saint Rose, this is likely to have been one designed in 1686 by Count Sebastian Gregory Fani. Traditionally, the machine was made from papier mache which was placed on a wooden frame. However, recently, it has been made from various sources including resin, plastic and fibreglass, with the wooden frame replaced by a framework of steel pipes.
The event is a hugely popular one, with many visitors flocking to see the transportation of the machine through the streets and squares of Viterbo. It is carried by 100 men for the route every year on the evening of 3rd September, and this year's occasion is set to be another one to remember.
Venice, 3rd September 2017
Take to the waters this September with one of the most memorable regatta events. Venice will be hosting Regata Storica again, an event that combines racing and a truly striking water pageant that takes place prior to the competitions.
Rowing back in time to the age of the 16th century, boats made up in the style of the period are boarded by the Doge and his wife, plus Venetian officials. Gondoliers are also dressed in period costume as they ferry their important passengers up the Grand Canal in a special parade full of life and colour.
The races include Champions on Gondolini, which sees small, sporting gondolas make their way to the floating stage (or the machina) at the end destination, located before the Ca 'Foscari palace. Other races include children's and junior races, the six-oared caorline regatta, and the women's twin-oared mascara regatta.
Florence, 7th September 2017
It is said that the Virgin Mary's birthday fell on 8th September, and every year, Florence puts on a memorable event to mark the occasion.
The evening of the 7th September prepares to mark the date with a special parade of paper lanterns. This tradition has its roots in history, dating back to the days when farmers would come to celebrate and worship the Virgin Mary. Because many of them would be arriving from a long way away, they would have had to have started their journey before dawn broke. To illuminate the way in darkness, farmers required lanterns made the old-fashioned way with a framed candle hung on the end of a stick. So today, that tradition carries on with the crowds carrying specially designed paper lanterns in their parade through the streets of Florence.
Young and old can enjoy this popular event (with another common tradition of burning the lanterns at the end), which also includes special markets, fairs and a huge party to cap off the event.
Naples, 19th September 2017
Another festival marking an important patron saint, the Feast of San Gennaro (known as the protector of Naples) is marked annually on 19th September.
As legend has it, in the wake of his decapitation, the martyr San Gennaro's blood was kept in two ampoules (small, sealed glass phials) in a safe in the Cathedral of Naples.
Every year, the blood ampoules are taken out of their place of safe keeping and displayed to the public. Following this, a procession takes place with the Cardinal of the Real Chapel of the Treasury of San Gennaro leading the prayers. A cannon firing session then takes place at Castel dell'Ovo.
Soriano nel Cimino, 29th September - 8th October 2017
In the season of chestnuts, one of the most prominent is the Soriano Chestnut Festival that takes place over two long weekends in late September and early October.
It's a festival that dates back to the 15th century, when the local city council held the event to mark their most valued local speciality. Since then, the humble chestnut has been a staple of the area, and since 1968, has been marked in two aspects: a historical re-enactment and a general celebration.
The diverse and colourful festival includes many throwbacks to history, with traditional games and events taking place. Of course, the centrepiece is the re-enactment, which relives the key historical events that took place in Soriano between 1200 and 1489. A memorable historical parade also takes you back to the medieval era, with over 700 actors in period costumes acting as your trusty guides.
Traditional games are also on the menu, including a spot of ring jousting and an archery tournament. Another kind of traditional contest is Convivium Secretum, which sees the four districts of the town rustling up a selection of recipes from the Medieval and Renaissance days. Plus, there are food and wine tastings to be had at Taverne dei quattro Rioni.
29th September - 1st October 2017
The ultimate games event broadcasts the latest games products and services available today.
Milan Games is being held at the end of the month for three days. The Fiera Milano Congressi S.p.A is the location for this impressive exhibition that showcases new video games.
Attendees can look forward to a host of events and sessions devoted to the video gaming industry. New and forthcoming video games will be previewed. Expert gamers can take part in special tournaments and competitions. Developers will be attending meetings and talks. That's just a sample of what to expect at this event which will be attended by a selection of various famous faces looking to sample the newest titles on the market.