While varying drastically between communities, most sagre focus on a singular dish or ingredient of importance to the community, and include parades and events honoring local history and customs. Although most sagre were originally born from religious celebrations, generally honoring the town’s Patron Saint, today they are more civic in nature.
With an endless array of gastronomic specialties, it is possible to find sagre throughout Italy in any season. Springtime is no exception! Here are just a few of the festivals that you can experience in Spring 2017:
Fritto Misto all’Italiana (Italian Fried Food)
Ascoli Piceno (AP), Marche, April 22 – May 1
Forget springtime salads and fresh fruits and veggies: this sagra, in the city that put oliva ascolana on the map, celebrates everything fried. In addition to the famed stuffed and fried olives, visitors can explore why the city has been nicknamed the Italian “capital of fried foods”. The sagra is expecting approximately 75,000 visitors throughout the week and, based on statistics from previous years, over 6,000 liters of olive oil are expected to be used for frying. Delicious!
Full details on the “Fritto Misto all’Italiana” sagra can be found here: www.frittomistoallitaliana.it
La Festa del Asparago (The Asparagus Festival)
Mesola (FE), Emilia-Romagna, April 22 – May 1
For those who prefer something a bit lighter, the sagra dedicated to the award-winning Mesola Asparagus may be more to your taste. With countless preparations of the vegetable, visitors can attend demonstrations and tastings throughout the town, from one of its picturesque piazze to the inside of Mesola’s 16th-century castle.
The small town is about an hour’s drive from Bologna or Venice, and is only reachable by car or bus. As parking will certainly be a problem, we recommend finding a bus or carpooling.
Sagra della Fragola (The Sagra of Strawberries)
Arborea (OR), Sardinia, May 1
After getting your fill on fritti and exploring the various ways to prepare asparagus, head over to Sardinia for the one-day sagra honoring the simple, sweet strawberry. The attractive village is minutes from the sea, surrounded by farmland, and is reminiscent of times past. The various stalls not only focus on variations of strawberries, but also provide tastings of local desserts and wine. This quintessentially Sardinian sagra allows its visitors to experience the authentic cuisine, music, and dancing that differentiates Sardinians from mainland Italians.
If you’re visiting Italy this spring and looking for a more authentic experience, participating in a sagra will not disappoint. Whether you’re interested in fruits or vegetables, specialty meats or one-of-a-kind pasta dishes, you’ll certainly find a memorable experience at a traditional sagra.
There are several resources available to help you find sagre. Our favorite, which allows you to search a calendar of festivals by month, region, and theme, can be find here. (www.sagreneiborghi.it)