There are few occasions to enjoy the unique traditional taste, reflecting the real spirit of Tuscany like a Sagra, a village festival, about food, historical processions or other folkloristic events. Originally religious celebrations, they are nowadays used to raise funds for local causes and are therefore organized directly from the small towns. Today many villages present this kind of event, especially during the summer, the best time to spend outside nice evenings and nights, and for this reason attracting a lot of public, both local and foreign. It’s also an alternative way for eating out in a relatively chip but authentic way.
The festivals are often dedicated to a typical local dish and the name of the festival includes that precise gastronomic specialty. Among the many we can mentions the Sagra del Tartufo, the Truffles Festival, the Sagra del Fungo Porcino e della Bistecca, the Boletus Mushroom and Steak Festival, the Sagra del Cinghiale, the Wild Boar Festival, and so forth, the Sagra of the olive, the sagra della polenta e baccala (cooked maize flour accompanied with codfish – delicious!) and many others.
The location is usually a square or some characteristic sites large enough to hold visitors, tables and chairs. People just need to wonder around to taste several kind of menus and entertain among the past atmosphere enchanting the place. The food is usually home-made and this makes it more appealing, especially to foreigners.
The sagre are an exceptional way for plunging into the local customs, including local wine. Sometimes the local people also wear regional costumes and this gives a unique bit of trivia. A perfect combination of folklore, culture and gastronomy.
August is probably the richest month of Sagre.
These days is going on the Sagra della Zuppa (soup festival) in Aquilea, near Lucca – one of the best Tuscan soups – and the Notte della Polenta in Marradi near Florence.
But also to be mentioned are the many fish festivals, in several sea villages, like the Sagra del Pesce azzurro in Cecina, and the Notte Bianca (White night) in Castiglione della Pescaia .
The drinkers shouldn’t miss the Festa della Birra (beer festival) in Arezzo.
This is just a tiny example of how many sagre you can find in Tuscany during summer.
And if you haven’t enough, why don’t you organize your own Sagra while you are on holiday, in your tuscan villa, with friends and local peasants. Better if done in a full moon night or in the shooting stars night! It might turn into a one-in-a-life experience!