Thursday, 18 August, 2011 19:59

The Festival Continues

We thought after the party at Ivan’s on Sunday night that the partying would be over and we would settle down to a nice quiet week enjoying the festival. How wrong we were !!!

A Public Holiday …
Monday was a public holiday in Italy. A National Day called Assumption Day or Ferragosto. It is one of the most important Catholic holidays, because it’s the day that the Virgin was “Assunta in Cielo”, in other words transported directly to Heaven to be with her son, Jesus, and also to look after those of us still here on Earth It is during this week that many communities hold festivals to celebrate their own origins and such is the case in Montone. The entance to Montone (below) proudly displays the poster announcing the “Santa Spina Festival” along with the flags of each quarter and the Montone Flag.

Lunch With The Locals ….
Whilst enjoying a morning coffee in the Piazza we were invited to the “Porta del Borgo” quarter private lunch where the volunteers for the festival enjoy a family lunch prior to the opening of their tavern that evening. We arrived armed with food and drinks and were made most welcome by the locals and enjoyed an afternoon sampling delicious traditional Italian foods and local wines. It concluded with an impromptu singalong.

Medieval Wenches …
Liz, Allison and Jill offered to work in the Porta del Borgo Tavern that evening and had to dress in traditional medieval costumes and work as waitresses. They worked hard but had a fun time claiming the Tavern would not have survived without them.

Medieval Comedy …
Monday night marks the start of the traditional medieval plays and each quarter is required to put on a 15 minute comedy set in medieval times. It turned out to be an hilarious evening, all in Italian, but funny none the less. The sets, costumes and props were fantastic and could hold their own in any professional theatre. These people are just so talented.

A Traditional Meal …
The evening finished with a visit to the Porta del Verziere Tavern for a traditional medieval meal and local wines. The taverns are set up just for the festival and operate each night till about 1:00 AM. Very inexpensive meal we thought at 8 Euro per head for entree, main course and 2 litres of wine. So another late night as the plays didn’t finish till 11:00 PM.

A Quiet Day and a Wild Night …
Tuesday was a restful day but turned out to be another wild night. Drinks and nibbles in the early evening followed by another traditional meal in the tavern and then an impromptu get together with some of the locals in Bevan and Jill’s apartment. 4 bottles of Limoncello were consumed in an hour. We finally got to bed around midnight again.

Tuesday was also the archery competition which we unfortunately missed due to our tavern dinner but we were lucky enough to see the procession announcing the winner, Porta del Monte. See the video below for the procession.

Market Day …
Wenesday is market day in Umbertide, a larger town about 10 km from Montone. We ventured down the mountain and wandered around the market selling, clothes, household goods, fruit and vegetables and beautiful porcetta which has been roasted overnight.

Pizza and Plays …
Wednesday night was a great night. We drove to another village called Pietrelunga about 30 km from Montone. The restuarant called Ristorante Pizzeria Locanda Dei Foorucci has won many awards in Umbria for the best pizza and the 6 of us agreed that the award is well deserved and all at very reasonable prices. Typically the pizza’s cost between €4.00 to €5.00 with the supreme pizza’s at around €7.00. Good value and a beautiful atmosphere overlooking the adjacent valley.

We returned to Montone Just in time to catch the Porta del Verziere medieval play called

Terribillis Infamia

, Terrible Infamy. It covered the story of the hardship the soldiers went through during regional fighting in 1424 BC and the rape and killing of the women in the village by the soldiers. Very dramatic.

Below is a short video which you may be interested in that highlights some of the activity covered above. It provides a real feel of the talent and skills of the people of Montone who present this festival.

YouTube Video

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Montone, Italy

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