October Events in UMBRIA

Feste delle Castagne (Chestnut Festivals)
Date:the entire month of October
Where:throughout Umbria and Tuscany
(Preggio has a big one in October)
In October, we celebrate the chestnut harvest.
Since the Roman era up until the 1950s, the
chestnut was used by the contadini as a simple
alternative to wheat for making bread. No part of the
chestnut tree was wasted: its wood was worked into
roof beams, floors and cupboards, as well as
beehives, troughs and gutters. Its leaves softened
the pallets of animals in stalls, while the tannin
extracted from its bark was used for tanning hides.
And the chestnut itself, eaten fresh, preserved or
dried, provided flour and food for months after the
harvest. In the mountains, chestnut flour was used
to make many dishes -- pasta, desserts, and bread,
in place of wheat and corn. While no longer con-
sidered a food staple, the chestnut is a part of
traditional culture, as much a part of autumn as the
chill in the air. There are some 2 million acres of
chestnut forests in Italy and annual production
comes in at around 80,000 US Tons. Almost every table and hearthside in Italy features a basket of chestnuts through the winter. Chestnut festivals take place from October to November, and help preserve the traditions associated with this age-old mainstay.

I am especially fond of the tiny festivals in Preggio and Santa Maria Tiburina.

National Celebration of Saint Francesco
Date:October 3rd-4th
Assisi hosts a national celebration in honor of Saint Francesco, the patron saint of Italy. Solemn liturgical ceremonies and civil celebrations in which representatives of Umbria's main and local government take part, representing all the Italian regions by offering the oil for the votive lamp of Italy's Communes that burns in front of Saint Francesco's grave.
Web Link:www.assisi.com/index.html
Web Link:www.umbria.org/Eventi/eng/evento.asp?id=50

Antiques and Flea Market
Date:first weekend of the month
An antiques and flea market is held in the main piazza

Palio dell'Oca, (Palio of the Goose)
Date:1st week of October
Where:Citta di Castello
This Palio is an old and popular event in the Mattonata neighborhood where the inhabitants race geese against each other. Citta di Castello is a wonderful, walled town (once home to 'Pliny the Younger') perfect for strolling and people watching.
Web Link:www.argoweb.it/tifernate/tifernate.uk.html

Palio dei Terzieri
Date:the first Sunday of October
Traditionally, the area around Trevi has been divided into three sections (Castello, Matiggia e Piano) and on this day the three converge at the gates of the city, each equipped with a modified horse-drawn wagon that they pit against each other in a death race to the city center. This race has been run since 1214 (a brutal time for Trevi when Duca Theopoldo first arrived and burned the city then returned later in the year to violently ravage the city with the help of Pope Innocenzo IX.) having steadily grown in importance and attendance. A genuine medieval artifact.
Web Link:www.trevi.org/protrevi/palio.asp
Web Link:www.trevitop.com/menu.htm

Antiques and Flea Market
Date:every second Sunday of the month
An antiques and flea market is held in the Piazza del Popolo

Antiques and Flea Market
Date:every second Sunday of the month
An antiques and flea market is held in the Piazza del Mercato

Antiques and Flea Market
Date:second weekend of the month with an annual fair in the spring
An antiques and flea market is held in the main piazza

Medieval Celery and Sausage Festivals with the Black Celery Market
Date:the 2nd to 4th fourth Saturdays and Sundays of October,
               the last being the biggest event
These three festivals (run concurrently) offer a delicious adventure in traditional local foods. The town faithfully recreates a medieval atmosphere. Sunday features a palio (race) of food carts and a medieval parade with over 400 authentically costumed participants. The town challenges anyone who doesn't know what 'black celery' is to come and find out.
Web Link:www.trevi.org/protrevi/e_scene.asp

Antiques and Flea Market
Date:third weekend of the month with an annual fair in the spring
An antiques and flea market is held in the main piazza

Antique Furniture Market
Date:third weekend of the month, with an annual fair at the end of August
An antiques and furniture is held in the main piazza

Antiques Market
Date:third weekend of the month
Where:Citta di Castello
An antiques and flea market is held in the main piazza

EuroChocolate Festival
Date:from Friday of the third weekend through Sunday of the fourth weekend of October
Perugia is the home of the Perugina Chocolate Factory and this annual festival draws over 300,000 people. This Perugina Chocolate Museum offers free entrance during the festivities. Visitors walk along Corso Vanucci and watch artists sculpting 1,000 kilogram-blocks of chocolate into statuary. Clean sheets of canvas are placed under the pedestals to allow onlookers to pick up and eat the slivers of chocolate that fall from the carving. In 1998, the festival made worldwide headlines when Slovenian supermodel Brigitta dunked herself, nude, into an Art Deco bathtub full of chocolate to emerge covered, like Botticelli's Venus with a chocolate shell. 1999 events included the toppling of a 6 foot-high, 55 foot-long chocolate block wall (commemorating the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall) and a giant hot-air balloon made out of Lindt chocolate. The creative limits of the architect and founder of this festival, Eugenio Guarducci, seem to know no boundaries. Piazza Italia is a good point of departure for an exploration of the city's cultural and gastronomic traditions. During the two weekends of the festival, the Chocotram passes every hour connecting the two main piazzas with parking facilities. On board, chocolates and other treats are handed out. It's a delightful event for both the casual chocolate-lover and the hard-core chocoholic. Besides being a beautiful medieval city, Perugia is also home to the Etruscan Chocohotel, the first hotel in the world to be entirely dedicated to the sweet temptation. Even the building is shaped like a gigantic bar of chocolate, with each square an individual room. (For reservations 011-39-075-5735031).
Web Link:www.chocolate.perugia.it/
Web Link:www.umbria.org/eng/eventi/evento.asp?id=37&B1=Search

Chestnut Festival
Date:2nd or 3rd weekend in October
This tiny hill town celebrates the chestnut, and features dishes made with local chestnuts. (The name of Preggio's favorite restaurant: La Castagna). Park in the fields below the town and take a shuttle up the chestnut lined road that follows the town walls

Sagra del Tartufo
Date:last two full weekends in October
This festival celebrates the Truffle, a regional delicacy. There will be truffle products, truffle sellers and local recipes using truffles.

Antique Show and Market
Date:24th of October and through the 1st of November
This antique show features the wares of 32 highly specialized dealers who exhibit some of the most valuable and unique items available on the Italian market. The items date from the 1300s to the 1900s and can include, pieces from the recently re-patriated House of Savoia, and English silver from the 1800s. A very exclusive show that offers many one-of-a-kind treasures! It's held in Rocca Paolina. More information is available at (from the USA) 011-39-

Giostra dell'Arme (Jousting tournament)
Date:the last Sunday in October
Where:San Gemini
The Giostra dell'Arme is an authentic reenactment of the ancient sport, where three riders from each of the two opposing neighborhoods (Piazza and Rocca) compete against each other. Each rider's principle task is to jab a tiny ring onto his lance while riding at a full gallop, and then throw it against the "Arme" (a noble coat-of-arms-shaped target subdivided into different sectors which, according to their shape and color, give the thrower a different score). This is a hard task, but the accompaniment of music, food and wine makes all the hard game playing worthwhile.
Web Link:www.feditgiochistorici.it/esangemin.html

Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco e die Prodotti Agro-Alimentari
Date:last weekend of October through the first of November
This is a large regional event and the residents of Gubbio, ancient hillside town celebrate the much-sought-after truffle by serving it in every possible incarnation. The historic center of town is ringed with stands offering white truffles from the Alto Chiascio region, 'meadow' cheeses, spicy fruit marmalades, honey and local liquors. Also in abundance are artisans offering the fruits of their trade, ceramics, ironwork, woodcarving and other local crafts.

Festa del Bosco (Festival of the Woods)
Date:end of October
This gem of an preserved walled hill town celebrates the harvest and the forest with a town-wide fair. Local artisans and merchants set up stands along the winding main streets and display crafts and foodstuffs. Corn on the cob roasts over open coals, roasted chestnuts are sold in paper cones, and the local restaurants set up long tables to serve local delicacies  polenta, salsicce, truffle pasta. People stroll the streets, sipping the local vino novello, and browse the local basket makers, ceramicists, weavers, candle makers, and jewelers. This festival is particularly delightful by night when the stone streets are lit by torchlight.

January . February . March . April . May . June .
July . August . September . October . November . December
Umbrian Festivals and Events
For a taste of medieval pageantry and traditions, time your trip to enjoy one of Umbria's artisan or seasonal festivals.
Preggio Chestnut Festival