In Umbria there are many “sagra’s” or village feasts. Focal point of these happenings is food, local food. Sagra’s come in all kinds of varieties, but the main idea is that this is a local party where one can eat some typical local dishes. Often at very reduced prices and always accompanied by local wine.
We enjoy visiting the sagra’s in our area. It is a good reason to meet up with friends or just chat with other locals. This time of the year there are also many tourists around and often they seem a bit lost. Not knowing whether they can just join in, where to pay or how to go about getting some food.
The basic principles are always the same. There is a table, or at bigger sagra’s also a tent or kiosk where you order and pay for your meal. Sometimes this is just one set menu, often you have some choice of first and main course. In the latter case, you’ll find small preprinted menu cards where you can fill in what you want to order. After paying, you’ll get a receipt, find a table or join in on a long table. Somebody will pick up your receipt and dinner will be served!
Sometimes you need to reserve a place, but usually for tourists or other people just happening to be there, a table can always be found. Just join in the party and experience a real italian tradition. It is all volunteers, people from the village, that cook and serve the food. There usually is some music during and after dinner.
Often these sagra’s and village feasts are not widely published, keep an eye on the bill boards in the area where you are to know when and where you can go to a sagra, or ask at the local tourist information.
I made some pictures at a village feast where I live to give you some idea of the atmosphere. 500 (!) people joined in that evening.
Thank you for posting this! I believe I witnessed one of these dinners while I was in Siena. Your photos helped me understand what that was! In the future, I will know to look for the paymaster! 🙂
It is easy to stumble upon these dinners in Italy, especially during summer season. It is surely worthwhile participating to enjoy the local food, the folklore, the chatter of all these people just enjoying their evening.