The Germans have Oktoberfest – and you might say that the Italians have Septemberfest, with the grape harvesting celebrations all over the place. The vino novello, or new wine, gushes out of the big barrels and secures everyone of a good start of the second part of 2015. Besides wine festivities, September is overflowing with fun events, food festivals and traditional feasts for both old and young. Let’s see what’s on the wine list this month!
If you like cheese as much as Wallace and Gromit, you should definitely head to the Fiera del Cacio di Pienza. The famous pecorino is showcased in all imaginable ways possible and you can of course try the tasty cheese as much as you like. It’s on from 3 to 6 September and to get there just following the cheese smell to Pienza.
Ogres are like onions
More of an onion type of person? Then get your green butt to Certaldo Alto where Cipolla di Certaldo in Sagra will be taking place until the 6th of September. The cipolla even made Certaldo’s most famous inhabitant Bocaccio’s mouth water while he describes it in his masterpiece Decamerone. The town of Certaldo itself is a worth a visit too so this, also smelly, food festival should definitely be on your to do list for September!
The changing of the vicars
Scarperia goes back in time on the 8th of September with Diotto in which the parting of the old and the arrival of the new vicar is celebrated. Historic games are organized in its honour and costumed crowds entertain the audience. Time travel begins at 9 pm.
Lanterns light the way
The traditional Florentine celebration called the Rificolona stems from 1600 and commemorates the arrival of many farmers’ wives to the city to celebrate the birth of Holy Mary in the church of Santissima Annunziata. The venture required a lot of courage because of the dark and dangerous roads, so they created lanterns to light their ways. Kids now do the same with their home-made lanterns and walk through the city centre in an enchanting parade on September 7. They start walking at 8.15 from Piazza Santa Felicita to Piazza Signoria where the official Corteo delle Rificolone unites. Through Via dei Calzaiuoli the enlightened crowd walks towards Piazza San Giovanni where at 9.15 other lantern carriers will join. Next stop is Piazza Duomo and the final destination is Piazza Santissima Annunziata. It’s a really wonderful sight and fun for both kids and adults.
If you compare cupido’s shooting skills to that of the Sansepolcro crossbowmen, then yes – he stinks. These men practise all year round to show off their mastery of the age-old tradition relived in Sansepolcro every year called Palio della Balestra. They compete against the crossbowmen from Gubbio in Umbria and the rivalry between them is extremely palpable. Be part of it all – including men in tights throwing flags – in the weekend of 12 and 13 September.
I bet you ain’t never seen a donkey fly
Well, fly, in Asciano, a nice little town in Tuscany, the Palio dei Ciuchi is held in which donkeys race against each other. The event started out as a parody to the famous Palio di Siena in which horses compete against each other. The donkey race has now become serious business and extremely entraining to watch. The donkeys get their asses moving on the 13th on September.
Every third Sunday of the month the farmers market in Piazza Santo Spirito in Florence is held. The Fierucolina di San Michele is the place to be if you sustain local and bio food production and like artisan crafts and homemade wines.
Drunk on love – or wine
Grape harvest is on in September and that means loads and loads of wine events all around Tuscany. We’ve selected the top of the bill for you. Pitigliano is setting the stage for their annual SettembrediVino Festival from the 3rd to the 6th of September. The enchanting town opens up ten of its wine cellars in which wine and local foods can be tasted. Make sure you don’t overdo it since you don’t want to be falling off the turf cliffs that the town is built on.
Tuscany is known for its excellent wines – especially the ones from the Chianti Classico region. During the Expo del Chianti Classico in the lovely town of Greve in Chianti, wine lovers unite and discuss, watch, demonstrate and, of course, taste wine. Local produce, traditions and dances will all be part of the merrymaking. Clinking of glasses starts on the 10th and ends on the 13th.
Can’t get enough of the godly liquid? Then head to Al vino, Al vino in Panzano during the third weekend of September. Live music, good food and of course loads of wine will turn your weekend into an unforgettable one. This obviously depends on how much wine you drink, but you get the point. Rufina also organizes its traditional wine event the Mostra Mercato del Chianti Rufina from 24 to 27 September.
Florence also has its fair share of wine related celebrations. Take the Carro Matto, or crazy cart, tradition for instance. On the 26th of September the traditional wine benediction will be re-invoked by a colourful parade. The costumed people will leave from Palagio di Parte Guelfa and will walk towards the Duomo square where the Carro Matto will be awaiting them. The cart is filled with fiaschi, typically Tuscan wicker wine bottles and is pulled by oxen. It will receive its benediction after which the whole crowd will move to Piazza della Signoria. Free wine will be handed out here and a musical flag throwing show will take place. The fun starts at 3.30 pm and ends at 6 pm.
To round off the wine month in style, admire the colourful parade in Impruneta, a cute town close to Florence, where they celebrate the Festa dell’Uva, the grape feast, on the 27th of September.
Cin, cin to September!