A visit to Palombara Sabina a few years ago led to a very “sweet” surprise…the “Sagra delle Ciliegie!” As many of you might know, many paesi and villages have managed, over the years, to keep alive old local traditions which continue to attract large crowds during the annual celebration of “Sagra.” These feasts are very important for the population who continues to live and work in the countryside. The annual celebration is cause of great pride and deep involvement for the paesani, again able to recreate, at least for the day, the atmosphere and the feelings of their ancestors.
Most buildings were decorated in great detail with giant cherries visible throughout the centro (fig. 1), where dozens of vendors had set up their bancarelle ready to sell delicious cherries (fig. 2) and so much more! Suddenly, the floats arrived, pulled by huge tractors (fig. 3) carrying giant figures created with...cherries! Then, the Palombara marching band arrived (figs. 4,5) followed by a group of young majorettes (fig. 6) who gave a wonderful demonstration of their skills and elegant dances. Two more bands went by, the more impressive being the Frustica ensemble (fig. 7), apparently renowned not only throughout Italy but also abroad with several performances scheduled at various U.S. locations. The band leader (fig. 8) walked briskly ahead of the musicians despite the rather uncomfortable summer heat. Ultimately, they all found a little rest once reaching the main square (fig. 9). Most musicians had been performing for decades with their town band, while developing careers in so many diverse fields like Dr. Luigi Rossi, the trombone player (fig. 10) and the town’s dentist!
Plenty of savory foods were available all over town that day, making our choices somewhat difficult. However, the easy one was indeed the dolce; a perfect crostata di ciliegie!”