Tag Archives: Cortona Sagra della Bistecca

Re-entry…

18 Aug

And it feels so good!

In Italy, August 15 is both a national holiday, Ferragosto, as well as a religious one, Feast of the Assumption. For many Italians, it is also the unofficial beginning of the summer holiday season. Parts of Italy effectively shut down until September, as people head to the lakes, countryside or a coast, or to towns like Cortona which are filled with events.

Since I can’t say this very often, I need to share that our trip over was incredibly smooth.  Flying time was only 8.11 hours and touch down to gate took less than five minutes.

©blogginginitaly.com

We arrived to the welcome arms of Carlo and Fernanda and to a delicious homemade lunch.

©blogginginitaly.com

©blogginginitaly.com

Afterward, Carlo accompanied us to check the orto (garden) progress, but lunch and the basket on the counter were a positive telltale sign.

©blogginginitaly.com

Although May was cold and rainy, warm sun and sufficient rain since then have made for vibrant green colors, strong vegetables and very huge and happy sunflowers.

©blogginginitaly.com

And then on to our house and the familiarity of the view.

©blogginginitaly.com

The next night, we were ready to roll and attended the Ferragosto Sagra Della Bistecca, or steak festival, in the parterre with some friends.

©blogginginitaly.com

Before:

©blogginginitaly.com

During:

©blogginginitaly.com

Our table:

©blogginginitaly.com

The food… and yes, we did split them!

©blogginginitaly.com

©blogginginitaly.com

The fountain was flowing and the Ol’ Boogies Rockabilly Band was playing,

©blogginginitaly.com

so we decided to start dancing,

©blogginginitaly.com

while everyone else was in the food queue. Good we came early!

After a lot of dancing and good laughs, and nearing 11 PM, the two guys on the left headed to town to get some Tuscanos, or small Italian cigars,

©blogginginitaly.com

while the rest of us stopped by the DJ station. The dance area was empty, so we moved right in.

©blogginginitaly.com

Before long, we attracted a large crowd and were soon doing the Macarena!

©blogginginitaly.com

I even bought one of the flashing balloons.

©blogginginitaly.com

Once the dance area got too crowded, we headed back into town to find the guys. Naturally, we found them at Tuscher with Massimo!

©blogginginitaly.com

We joined right in.

©blogginginitaly.com

It was 2 AM before our heads hit the pillows.

The next night, Fernanda had us over for dinner. We tried hard to convince her we should go out, but she insisted and treated us to a delicious aperitivo spread including her homemade liver pate. This was followed by roasted pepper risotto, and then stuffed zucchini from the garden and meatballs. Dessert was gelato topped with her homemade cherry sauce. We ate al fresco and my phone was inside, so no photos except one group selfie.

©blogginginitaly.com

When we got back to town, a big band was still playing in the piazza.

The next day, Len and I had a Tuscher Sunday, although it was only Saturday. After a long walk, we stopped by for a mid day vino. A bit later, a first old friend stopped by, then another, and so on, until eventually a few of us went to dinner.

And that’s how it goes in Cortona… Food, Friends and Fun. Repeat.

Should you miss one sagra, there’s another right behind. Out with the bistecca on Friday and in with the Porcini on Saturday, although we opted out. Enough sagras for one weekend.

©blogginginitaly.com

But as for friends and fun, there’s never too much. In the words of Cyndi Lauper:

Oh girls, they wanna have fun…

©blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

Cortona Sagra della Bistecca – Beef Steak Festival

18 Aug

Ferragosto…an Italian word filled with celebration.

The Latin “Feriae Augusti” denoted the “August Rest” which was a month-long holiday period proclaimed in the 18th century by emperor Augustus. It was a time when people could relax after all the hard work associated with the harvest and the end of the year’s main agricultural work. It was also a time when nobility mixed with the workers.

Over time, the festival shortened to a few weeks and eventually became a one-day event, celebrated on August 15 each year. For Italians, this bank holiday combines elements of both ancient and Christian worlds, as August 15 also commemorates the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Cities throughout Italy celebrate this day with great festivals. If you happened to be  in Cortona, you no doubt enjoyed the annual Sagra della Bistecca, or beef steak festival, held in the normally quiet Parterre, or public garden pictured here.

For the festival, the quiet setting is transformed. An enormous grill, some 14-meters long, is erected. Locals don chef’s aprons, and with extra long forks, lovingly go about the work of grilling mouth-watering T-bone steaks, Italian sausages, and spareribs for the locals who have crowded the park to enjoy the celebration with family and friends.

Photo: “Classic Tuscan Homes”

Local wines and cheeses compliment the grilled meats and make for a perfect feast and day of relaxation. If interested, I’ve included a You Tube clip of the Cortona event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anpiFhse558

Hmmm… grilled steaks for dinner tonight?

Ciao,

Judy

%d bloggers like this: