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Food and Wine Festivals in Versilia during summer

Versilia was a land of farmers and fishermen in the past and its economy has always been focused on agriculture as well as on tourism. This is the reason why especially during the summer the area becomes alive with a multitude of festivals ("sagre" in Italian) where local recipes based on fish, meat and vegetables are the main protagonists.
Around Massarosa [Photo credits: Serena Puosi, Tuscany Social Media Team]
Around Massarosa [Photo credits: Serena Puosi, Tuscany Social Media Team]
Summer in Versilia not only offers a beautiful sea and sunshine, but also the opportunity to enjoy local culture, nature and its typical and very genuine products. Festivals give  locals as well as tourists the opportunity to live a  folkloristic event where roots are deep into old traditions and bring people belonging to the same culture together. Festivals in Versilia are characterized by music, dancing, local markets and art.

But where are these sagre in Versilia taking place?

Once the venue was the main church square, nowadays it develops outside in the streets and city centres, which are filled with  stalls, banquets and colorful booths displaying a wide variety of delicacies and treats. This is one of the main reasons why traditional festivals resist in time, popping up everywhere in Tuscany during summer time. Festivals usually open the doors for dinner at around 7-7.30 p.m., and ensure a tasty meal for a reasonable price until around 10.30-11 p.m.. Why not enjoying the pleasure of traditional food? There are festivals for all tastes!

The principal Festivals in Versilia are:

-        In Massarosa town area, close to Massaciuccoli lake, from the middle of July and the beginning of August, takes place the Festival of Ranocchiocciola.  As  its name suggests, the specialty of the festival are frogs (rane) and snails (chiocciole), which are quite typical of this area, enclosed between the lake and hills, but you can find other local products as well such as grilled meat and fish and the most typical fish soup called “cacciucco”. Every night there is an orchestra, a dance floor and games like bingo  and others  available for both adults and kids. -        In Montramito area (nearby Massarosa) in the location called “La Gulfa”, many festivals of local products are taking place throughout the summer. The most famous are the “pallette con i funghi” festival, i.e. porcini mushrooms with cornmeal polenta. -        In Piano del Quercione Olives and Olive Oil are protagonists in May and in June when they contributes to  the Zuppa “alla contadina” festival, that is a vegetable soup with toasted bread topped with first pressing olive oil and the “Stinco and Tagliarini ai fagioli” festival, offering shin and “tagliarini” in bean soup. Tagliarini is a typical homemade pasta. -        In Bozzano, on the way which drives you from Versilia to Lucca, between end of July and mid August, one of oldest festivals takes place, called “Sagra della pupporina and tordello”. The “pupporina” is a sweet round-shaped cake, which resemble a little poop, made of fried dough topped with caster sugar and made ​​with flour, eggs, sugar, butter, baking powder, anise seeds, a little pebble of marsala liquor and lemon peel. The “tordello” is the king of all, very fashionable food in Camaiore area, dating back to medieval time, which is homemade stuffed pasta with veal sauce ragu. -        In Quiesa at the end of August, Festival of “Bruschetta”, a toated slice of home bread with extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomatoes chops and basil. -        In Viareggio throughout  August, enjoy the many initiative which take place in its pinewood park. Local arts and craft, typical products stalls, local handicraft gifts from all over Versilia and Garfagnana areas. -        In Seravezza throughout August and September each neighborhood, the so called “contrada”, invites you to join street parties with food, music and traditions mixed up in a wonderful authentic  experience.
Many thanks to this guest post's author, Silvia Rotilio, Lombard Tuscan-born adopted, who worked for a long time in Milan and abroad in the tourism and events sectors within major companies. She now lives in Versilia, a land that offers her a daily inspiration. She is cooperating as freelance with Wishversilia, a travel consultant and wedding planner agency :D