May is maybe the best time of year to be in Tuscany. The weather is not too hot, nor too cold. The tourists haven’t completely taken over yet and the locals are still happy to help you when you’re lost. The events list for this month involves loads of fun, food and flowery activities that will make your May in Tuscany even better. Enjoy!
Castagneto Carducci in the spotlight
At Castagneto Carducci, the earth comes alive at La Terra è Viva; an initiative that was created by Genius Loci as an extension to the famous food festival Castagneto A Tavola. The festival has reached its twentieth anniversary and it’s time to let tradition make time for change. At La Terra è Viva, food and cooking are combined with activities linked to awareness of the environment and landscape, agriculture and architecture. Music, debates, writing, handicraft, gastronomy and walks are organized to let you discover the wonderful territory of Castagneto Carducci. The main events will be happening on 8, 9 and 10 May, whereas 17, 24, 31 May there will also be some activities. Follow the event on Facebook and check out their website for more info and the entire programme (in Italian).
Find your frog prince
During Mangia in giro un ‘comune’, the municipality of Rosignano Marittimo will show what it’s got gastronomically speaking at different food festivals throughout the area. 9 and 10 May Rosignano Marittimo will kick off with ‘Non si frigge mica con l’acqua’, which will probably entail a lot of deep frying. The week after that, 16 and 17 May, you might actually run into your frog prince at street food festival ‘Il principe ranocchio’ in the famous beach town Vada. To round off, on 23 and 24 May, the hill towns of Nibbiaia, Castelnuovo and Gabbro will present a very cheesy ‘Maggio formaggio’. I would go there only for the funny names they’ve come up with! Every event will host forums, cooking courses and shows, tastings and of course a presentation of local produce.
Il buono e il bello
Get in the holiday mood at Castiglione della Pescaia, a wonderful seaside town in the province of Grosseto, during CastigliondiPrimavera. The theme ‘il buono e il bello’, will take you on a journey past food (il buono) and craftsmanship (il bello). The event takes place for a total of four days from 7 to 10 May. Fun for kids too!
Another great event for kids is the Festa di Primavera in Scarperia on the 10th of May. The main squares will showcase agricultural machinery and kids will be able to pet livestock and take part in workshops. Furthermore, local farms will open their doors and provide guided visits. A special shuttle service will be available to reach the farms.
Let’s throw some stuff at people
Don’t know what to do with yourself on one of May’s lazy Sundays? Why not go to Anghiari and see how people get ridden around on a cart to be scolded and thrown stuff at? I’m talking about the bizarre tradition called La Scampanata which takes place in Anghiari every other five years, every Sunday for the entire month of May. The members of the Società della Scampanata meet at 6 am in Piazza Baldaccio and the ones that come late (in other words everyone, since they’re Italian), will be put on a cart and ridden through the little alleys of the old town. Besides the faces people pull at them, they’ll be bombarded with any type of stuff in order to make them look unrecognizable at the end of the ride. Odd, but entertaining!
Like flag throwers? Don’t miss the Trofeo Marzocchino 2015 that will be held in Piazza della Signoria in Florence the 17th of May. National and international flag throwers show of their skills and make the crowds go wild with their colourful outfits and, of course, tightly fitted tights. Medieval music will accompany the entertaining show.
Wander around in the Middle Ages during Peggio Palaia on the 23rd of May. The whole town of Palaia will travel back in time in which its people will wear costumes, showcase old arts and crafts, play music and provide food that was typical for that era.
At the Maggiolata Lucignanese in Lucignano, you’ll be able to enjoy a procession of carts completely covered in flowers. On the 17th, 19th and 24th of May, the wonderful creations will be accompanied by music bands and folkloristic groups from all over Italy and beyond. This is the 78th edition and will be traditionally rounded off with the historical battle of the flowers in which thousands of carnations are thrown in the air and at the audience. Look at the website for more info (in Italian).
More flower fun at the Infiorata in Scarperia on the 24th of May. Along the main road, Via Roma, and in the two squares, Piazza dei Vicari and Piazza Clasio, over twenty ‘pictures’ will be made entirely out of flowers. The night before, inhabitants of the town will come together to create this colourful exhibition of art expressed through flowers.
The yearly horse race, or palio, involves the twelve quarters of the town parading through the streets of Fucecchio on the 24th of May. Over 1200 people participate in the procession that is one of the most important in Italy. Every quarter represents a specific moment of the town’s past and this is all done in wonderful costumes. In the afternoon the horse race will take place and, of course, the winner takes it all.