I think I have struck gold!
I’ve written to several Abruzzo town councils (comune) over the last year trying to find out what dates particular festivals are scheduled. Since they are annual, but mainly take place over weekends they don’t occur on the same dates each year. Often they are wonderful spectacles, that can involve costume re-enactments and pageantry. Almost always they involve local food of the highest quality.
The festival that I’ve been most curious about lately is the Sagra Dall’Etna al Gran Sasso in Città Sant’Angelo. I’ve been to Città Sant’Angelo only once. And sure enough I picked an overcast day. Not an easy thing to do in spring or summer in Abruzzo.
Perched on a hill, the views from the old town are wonderful; my photographs really don’t do it justice at all. Also I think it is possible to get confused when dealing with Città Sant’Angelo because its town-land stretches all the way to the coast where there are various commercial outlets. A number of road signs point this way. But it is the old town that I’m most interested in.
Marzia from Città Sant’Angelo, very kindly emailed me and asked why I hadn’t written about her home town. Quite rightly she said it is beautiful (I agree) and that apart from the attraction of the town itself there are two important festivals each year. The first is Sagra Dall’Etna Al Gran Sasso and the second is Festa In Corso (a busker festival). I understood the Sagra Dall’Etna Al Gran Sasso was in July and Marzia told me that the festival celebrates the connection between her home town and the town of Nicolosi in Sicily. She said that there will be stands run by the Sicilians with amazing food plus typical wines and liqueurs.
As I’m going to be in the area, about 30 minutes away, at the end of this month, I tried to find out if my time coincided with the Sagra Dall’Etna al Gran Sasso. The thought of sampling different styles of food from two very proud traditions – Abruzzo and Sicilia – was mouth watering.
The real difficulty was I didn’t know when the festival was on and I couldn’t find out. Google didn’t help this time. Well if the information isn’t available on the web Google can’t find it. So I emailed the comune of Città Sant’Angelo over a week ago but I received no reply. I checked with my friends in Abruzzo and they didn’t know either. I really should have emailed Marzia but I was being stubborn. I just couldn’t believe that a festival as significant as the Sagra Dall’Etna al Gran Sasso was not being advertised on the internet.
But then I struck gold! I found this site Eventi e Sagre that lists festivals all over Italy by region and date. Fantastic! It has an RSS feed that gets updated with festivals as they are coming up – even better! So going to this page for Abruzzo events, and entering the province Pescara and the city Città Sant’Angelo in the search box I discovered the festival is on from 18 to 26 July.
The RSS feeds, which give you events by region for today, for the current month and for the next 30 days, are useful too. If you are interested in festivals in a particular town in Abruzzo you can always go to the Abruzzo section and enter the province and city as I did.
The unfortunate bottom line of all of this is that I won’t be able to go to the Sagra Dall’Etna al Gran Sasso in Città Sant’Angelo as I’m not going to be in the area when it’s on! But the good news is I can easily find out what special events are happening in whatever part of Abruzzo I find myself in.