Posted by: debrakolkka | October 17, 2011

The chestnut festival in Ponte a Serraglio

The local Alpini organised a chestnut festival in the grounds of the Villa Fiori on Sunday. The Alpini are elite mountain warfare soldiers of the Italian army. They were founded on 15th October 1872 and are the oldest active mountain infantry in the world.

They are known by their distinctive grey hat with a black raven feather, or white goose feather for an officer. Alpini of all ages were in the park cooking chestnuts and chestnut pancakes. It was a beautiful autumn day.


setting up for the day


the Alpini get to work

Chestnuts were roasted in the background while the Alpini made the neci, the chestnut pancakes.


portable chestnut roaster


loaded and ready to go


the roaster and his advisor


oiling the pan


the chestnut flour batter is poured onto the hot pan


another is placed on top


a very handy spanner presses to 2 pans together


the finished neci


the happy cook

There was also pasta fritta, which is deep fried pasta dough.


the prepared dough


the finished product


roasted chestnuts


it was not an expensive menu

We ordered neci with nutella, pasta fritta and some chestnuts and retired to the shade of a tree to enjoy our feast.


neci with nutella

As well as the chestnut delights there were other stalls selling all kinds of interesting things, painting and activities for children and lots of funn things to do.


painting for children


any excuse to bask in the sun

One of the reasons I love to be in the village is these fun days organised by the locals.

Click here to see the wonderful chestnut festival in Lupinaia, a gorgeous mountain village nearby.


  1. We loved the farro food festival in Petrognola too – a great Italian community event.


    • The local festivals are a lot of fun. Chestnuts are an acquired taste. The pancake was greatly improved by the addition of nutella.


  2. I’d love to be able to smell this post. It looks lovely.


    • Chestnuts smell delicious when they are roasting. It is the taste that let’s them down.


  3. Looks Fantastic , Deb bring me back a chestnut pancake please !!


    • It might be a bit leathery by the time it arrived in Brisbane.


  4. I wish I was there…..


    • I hope you come for a quick visit in November.


  5. What fun- it would be great to be part of a local festival, knowing everyone and knowing that you are supporting your community


    • Everybody was out enjoying a day in the sunshine.


  6. This is so not fair, first the porcini now the chestnuts…… you are a lucky being to have such bounty and food joy on your doorstep. Chestnuts are my all time favourite autumnal treat – loved the pictures, feeling the chestnuts warm my cold palms, eaten with a smidge of butter and dipped into salt or roasted with sprouts and other veggies in the oven. I’m not so keen on the cakes and bread but as a proper nut – can’t beat them for loveliness 🙂


    • I like the sound of a smidge of butter and dipped into salt. I will have to try this.


  7. Yum, I can’t wait for our chestnut festival in a few weeks. Great post, and love the mouth watering pics.


    • i’m sure it will be wonderful. I love these local festivals.


  8. Very nice description of the event. Words are easy on you! Loved it!


    • it is a pity you weren’t there to join in.


  9. So sorry I missed it-Hope to meet you this weekend-
    Your pictures are always so wonderful-thank you! It was also nice to see some children!


  10. The pancakes look so yummii, never tasted it with chestnut. and the pans are quite interesting.


    • Chestnut flour is not that easy to come by in some places.


  11. The food looks amazing, and I love the feathered hats. Great post, Deb.


    • I think the Alpini look wonderful in their hats.


  12. A happy and handsome cook.
    Looks like a nice day.


  13. I keep hearing about these lovely European festivals. I wish we had some like that here 🙂


    • Australia could do with some of these little festivals.


  14. Lovely looking community and the neci’s look interesting – I’d love to try it.


    • The pancakes themselves are fairly bland. Nutella helps.


  15. The equipment for chestnuts seemed so interesting, I haven’t seen something like that. We usually make them on barbecue (or something like barbecue)… How much I love chestnuts. I wished to have a day in here like yours. In Milan, I remember there was always a day like this one. Once there was an apple day, and so many apples from the farm villages were at the square in a baskets and being sold… I bought too. How smelling chestnusts…. Thank you, my son, he loves so much Nutella… should all of them so delicious. With my love, nia


    • Nutella is excellent, but I don’t keep it in the house or I would eat it.


  16. How fun! I adore chestnuts, but can’t seem to roast them at home in any way that lets me peel them easily! I would have eaten from every stall at that festival!!


    • I think they are best roasted over a fire. The tumble thing had holes in it so there was a bit of contact with the flame. I did’t like them the first time I tried them, but I have come to like them.


  17. Wow, love it. Thanks Deb. So informative and I love those local festivals……..enjoy and speak soon.


  18. Sharon who lives in Tuscany roasted some chestnuts one night over the fire in a special roasting pan and served them with stracchino cheese, so memorable and we were lucky to hit a chestnut festival in Umbria but did not see the great device you photographed. I have even made the chestnut flour pancake/flat bread but just not the same as buying one made for you right there on the spot.


    • I have had chestnuts roasted for me that way as well. The roasting device looked as though it was made from the drum of a washing machine. They are very inventive, these Italians.


  19. I can’t believe I missed this. I arrived in Pisa on Saturday but stopped to visit the antique fair in Lucca. I didn’t buy anything so maybe I should have made my way to Ponte a Serraglio instead!
    There’s always next year.


  20. Chestnut pancakes with nutella?… I think my life will be a little less until I try that one.


    • You could make them at home with chestnut flour, but perhaps they would not be the same without the special pan.


  21. […] in front of the casino to Villa Fiori. If you are lucky there will be a local festival in full swing. the walking bridge across the Lima Villa Fiori across the bridge artists' day at Ponte a […]


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