I love local festivals here in Italy, especially the chestnut festivals held in autumn. One of the best that I have been to in the Garfagnana is in Cascio. This tiny town of only a handful of people manages to gather hundreds of people for its annual Festa di Castagna.
On Saturday we had rain, wind and cold, but on Sunday the sun was out and it was a perfect autumn day, so I headed off to Cascio to enjoy some roast chestnuts, necci, castagnaccio and other delights.
I was early and got a space in the first car park. This is important, crowds gather quickly and if you miss a good car park you may have to walk quite a long way.
The entrance to the town is through one of the old portals.
The lovely piazza was lined with stalls selling local produce.
The first thing to do is buy a ticket for your food, then head off in search of the queue. Courses are served in different places around the village.
…time to find a seat.
My friends found an excellent seat.
…with some great views.
Others enjoyed the view from a great vantage point.
The polenta tent was my next stop.
Chestnuts were roasted on open fires.
Then it was onwards and upwards to the fortress where the dolci were served.
It was a bit of a walk through the forest to the metato (chestnut drying house) where the chestnut liqueur was served.
In this area people could gather their own chestnut and cook them. Children were taught how by parents and grandparents.
As we were leaving a group of singers lined up to entertain the crowd.
Cascio’s festival is very well organised. It is a fun day with lots to keep visitors entertained. There was a bit of a wait for the food, but most people are good natured and wait patiently. (Except for one woman who was determined to push in…it didn’t work with us)
It is now raining heavily and quite cold…we were very lucky on Sunday.