Forgive the alliteration but I couldn’t help myself and indeed restrained from adding a further s-word “September” to the blog post title.
Summer in Rome is hot, hot, hot! This year it has been relentless but friends tell me it was much worse last year. I must have wiped it from my memory as I write with the shutters closed and the fan on full blast.
For this reason, most Romans get out of the city during summer: those who prefer to head to crowded beaches and those who prefer to head to the hill country. I am an inbetweeny but tend to prefer the latter as I am spoiled for beaches coming from Australia. Fortunate enough to own a small property in Sabina (one hour north-east of Rome), I can escape the heat on weekends. In Sabina temperatures are a few degrees lower than Rome, an afternoon breeze is guaranteed, the air is clean and at night you can actually get a good night’s sleep! And then there is the view: therapeutic and restorative.
Summer activities tend to follow the Roman exodus, with music and dance events entertaining the folks on the beaches near Rome and with food events or sagre delighting those who have headed to the hills. A sagra is very much a local festival celebrating a food type or a local dish and it is an opportunity to showcase the town or village and its traditions.
Sagre take place throughout the year depending on the produce in season, with a prevalence in August and September, to entertain those city folk who escaped to the hills.
Examples of the more well-known sagre in Lazio – the region of which Rome is capital – are: the potatoes sagra in Leonessa, or the sagra celebrating black truffles in Norcia. However, don’t underestimate the lesser known sagre! Pretty much most towns will have a sagra. Certainly in Sabina there are many: the chestnut sagra in Ascrea, the snails sagra in Antrodoco, the sagra delle fettuccine alla Trebulana and the bruschetta sagra celebrating the newly pressed olive oil in Monteleone Sabino.
Typically, at a sagra, you will buy a ticket, collect your food and find a spot at one of the many long tables set out in the main piazzas and sit down to your local fare, washed down with local red or white wine and chat away with your fellow table mates.
Most Italians head back to work in September but as school starts in mid September, they tend to continue to commute from their holiday locations, dragging out their vacation and prolonging the rientro. or return, for as long as they can.
There are plenty of choices for a good sagra within an hour and a half drive from Rome.
Here is a link to some sagre in Lazio provinces in September.
Australian by birth, Lyn moved to Italy 30 years ago after studying Italian Language and Literature at university. Over the years, she travelled extensively throughout Italy and marvelled at the marked culinary differences between regions. She soon fell into that wonderful Italian habit of talking about food and swapping recipes with friends, relatives, neighbours and shop owners. Having worked in an international organization promoting agricultural biodiversity for better livelihoods, she is very interested in access to local, organic, seasonal produce and promoting in a small way, a better global food system. She loves foraging and has recently discovered capers growing out of the Roman walls. She is a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador.