Una Famiglia, Due Tenute
NEW YEAR’S EVE AND THE NEW YEAR
The next-to-last day of the year features the ancient festival in Santa Flora (Grosseto) called the “Fiaccolata.” Numerous woodpiles (called carboniere) and torches festoon the town in the late afternoon in preparation for their lighting late in the evening, to burn all night long. Hundreds of people come out into the historical city center, stopping here and there to taste the flavors of traditional cuisine. On January 1, a traditional concert by the Philharmonic Orchestra “G. Pozzi” is held in the public theater of Santa Flora.
Many towns organize events for January 6, the Epiphany. In particular, Sorano puts on the traditional “show” called “festa della Befana,” with the lighting of a pyre, dinners with abundant grilled meat, music in the piazzas, and the arrival of the befana, or the Epiphany witch—women who get dressed up for the occasion. Similar events are set up in Sticciano, Massa Marittima, Macchie (a frazione of Arcidosso), Rispescia, Saturnia, Grosseto, Marina di Grosseto (where a huge bonfire is lit in Piazza Risorgimento, accompanied by a folklore group “S. Rocco” singing), and more.
In Marsiliana and Manciano during the festival of Sant’Antonio, animals are blessed by religious figures in the main piazzas.
On January 20 at Castel del Piano in Maremma, there is the annual Market of Saints Fabiano and Sebastiano, a historical agricultural and livestock fair.
FESTIVALS BEFORE SPRING
During the first three Sundays in March in Anselmo, a frazione in the municipality of Montespertoli, there’s the Sagra of Bombolone and Frittelle. Stands are set up where visitors can taste delicious fried foods such as bomboloni pastries, fried rice pastries, and ficattole. People start making and selling food early in the morning, but it’s only in the afternoon—from about 2 to 8 pm—that the festival really comes alive, with games for children, fairs to benefit charity, and stands selling local goods and items.
San Gimignano will have two different initiatives for curious visitors and travelers: the famous Carnevale with its parade of allegorical floats (adorned with public and political figures made from papier-mâché by local artisans), traditional music, and carnival masks; and the folkloric Festival of Santa Fina, held by workers of the city in honor of their patron saint, born in 1238 in San Gimignano in a house that can still be visited today. It is located in a small street with a sign that bears the name of the young saint, who died on March 12, 1253.
Every year in March in Grassina, there is the historical reenactment of the Passion of Christ. The tradition, which was held by inhabitants of the town since the 18th century, was revived in 1979 by a passionate group of locals. They set up a theatrical manifestation under the form of living pictures, with text and an original musical soundtrack. The event is managed by C.A.T. (Center of Tourism Activity). Which became an Onlus foundation in 2004.
To save the best for last, winter will conclude on a sweet note with the Sagra of the Frittella in Montefioralle. Every year, this festival is held in occasion of the Day of San Giuseppe (which is the first Sunday after the Day of San Giuseppe). The “frittelle” of San Giuseppe are a sweet, fried pastry made according to ancient recipes of the countryside: the rice dough is cooked in milk, added to different flavorings, mixed with egg, and fried in extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany.