So it turns out that all throughout the Emilia-Romagna, and probably Italy itself, many of the villages and towns have a festival in September and for 4 days, everything comes to a standstill.
Ever since arriving on Sep 4th, we have spent at least one night a week at a different festival in one of the towns in the area.
The largest, and the one that went on the longest, was the Festa dell’unita which is the festival in the centre of Ravenna, because Ravenna is the capital of this particular area. After the main festival starts, the smaller towns in the district start their festivals. We have gone to a tiny one, in the parish church village of Longana, saw them setting up for the festival when we were in Brisighella, and just last night went the Festival in the town closest to where we live, Russi.
However they started, they are now an end of summer carnival, with rides, and food tents where you can get a proper meal, or just a
snack you can eat while walking around. From what I can gather, the festivals have no significant meaning anymore, but have morphed from the harvest festivals of the past. When people didn’t travel far, and they pulled together to help the local farmers get the harvest in before the bad weather started there would often be town festival to celebrate. Now, they have shifted to September, so that the locals can still enjoy the warm weather (although the nights are getting cooler) and have a gelato amongst friends in the town’s piazza while listening to music. The interesting thing about these
festivals to me, is the ‘other type’ of stand you get. I have seen people selling everything from vacuum cleaners to built in fire places. These festivals are so supported by the local community, that all of the local businesses find it worthwhile to pay for a stall and sell their wares. In the Russi town centre, ALL of the shops, even shops selling plugs and irons, stayed open till midnight, as people walk around and purchase the strangest of things. I’ll admit, we even bought a parmesan grinder from a local shop while meandering around Russi. Tonight we’ll go back to Russi, as the pasticceria where Jackie starts her internship on wednesday sells Hot Bombolone filled Nutella. So after dinner we’re going for dessert in the piazza.