La Sagra Del Paese

Like many people, I cannot wait to be able to travel to Italy again. Unfortunately, it remains a distant dream for the time being. But it helps me to at least return there by way of memories of places and enjoyable moments captured with my camera!

The Sagra (fig. 1) is an important time of year for most paesi. It is the annual opportunity to showcase their unique products and activities to visitors from near and far away, often with significant financial support for the local economy. Sadly, however, I suspect that most of these town festivals will not take place this year, given the universal public health concerns throughout Italy and Europe.

I often visited Leonessa, a wonderful mountain town located 120 miles East of Rome. Two years ago, I happened to be there during the Patata Leonessiana Sagra (fig. 2), an incredible weekend celebration of the much sought-after local potato crop. 

Leonessa has a population of about 3,000 people, however, it attracts close to 100,000 visitors (fig. 3) during this event! As expected, food choices are infinite, ranging from a simple panino with porchetta or local salsiccia (figs. 4,5,6) to gnocchi or pappardelle with a special meat ragu and a side of roasted patate. Shopping along the narrow streets filled with booths of all kinds (figs. 7,8,9) can keep you busy for hours until it is time for a sweet reward (figs. 10,11). As the evening arrives, the festivities will continue until very late at night as the main square becomes a giant dance floor (fig. 12), clearly the perfect way to burn some of the many calories consumed during the day. 

For now, I must say "ciao" to Leonessa (fig. 13) with hopes to return there someday soon.

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