Sagra Del Tordo brings an electric energy to Tuscany
Autumn brings many food festivals to the plate for visiting tourists to the region as the towns and cities in Italy celebrate their love of food with a local sagra. One place that is known for a great sagra is the city of Mantalcino, a picturesque hill town in Tuscany, and can be a great attraction to visit on your Tuscany holidays. The sagra is soon to commence, usually held on the last weekend of October.
For over 50 years the city of Montalcino has hosted the Sagra del Tordo in hopes to bring more tourism to their little town. Since then the sagra has grown in popularity and exceeded the expectations of the locals who host it. The Sagra del Tordo feels more like a folkfest than a typical food festival with parades of locals dressed in medieval costumes, traditional folk dancing and a thrilling tournament of archery between the quarters of the town.
The week before the big festival, known as the ‘settimana santa’, fills the town with an exciting energy as the locals hang banners and flags up around the town and the locals sing as they work. The town is divided into four quarters, notable from the symbolic coloured flags. Sing-offs can be heard in the evenings as they chant to show their friendly rivalry. Visit the town in this week for a lovely atmosphere while you take in the breath-taking views from the fortress onto the Val d’Orcia and the rustic streets of the Tuscan town.
On the Saturday morning at around 12pm, everyone gathers on the main square and each quarter will arrive, one by one, led in by their drummer, flag bearer, captain of the archers and the two archers all attired in medieval costume- all followed by a singer who sports their quarter’s colours. Each captain will bring the name of three previously selected archers, known for their skills, to be drawn in public. The archers have been training all year in hopes to win the coveted silver arrow and bring pride to his quarter. A stillness fills the air as everyone eagerly awaits the archers to be selected. Once they have been selected the town rejoice and you can enjoy more traditional singing.
After the draw make your way to the gardens where each quarter has set up stands offering delicious food to sample. Smokers offer mouth-watering ribs, sausages and porcini that have all been beautifully smoked, or if you’re feeling adventurous why not try the lampredotto, otherwise known as cow’s stomach. Stands also offer handmade pinci and gnocchi orpappardelle with wild hare sauce. The stands are there for most of the festival so you can try all these amazing food offers. The Sagra del Tordo no longer has the ‘Tordo’, a thrush bird, as the species are now protected, but the selection of food on offer at the sagra is still spectacular. Wash it all down with the amazing range of wines available at the festival.
This is an event not to miss on your visit to Tuscany.
Image Credit: Viaggio Routard, Available under Creative Commons.