Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Festivals in Umbria’ Category

IMG_1784

Pasticceria Nando Orvieto

Instead of an oversize bunny rabbit leaving a basket of candied eggs, citizens of Orvieto wake up on Easter morning to a breakfast of Pizza di Pasqua (it’s not really a pizza, but it’s not exactly a cake either).

Pizza di Pasqua is a yeast-filled bread (similar to Christmas pannettone) that’s served during the holy days of Pasqua (Easter Sunday) and Pasquetta (Easter Monday).

IMG_1782

Bar & Pasticceria Montanucci Orvieto

A cherished tradition typical of central Italy (Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche), Pizza di Pasqua comes in both dolci (sweet) and al formaggio (cheese) versions.

Folks in Orvieto take great pride in their Pizza di Pasqua, so you can imagine there’s lots of fighting discussion about who has the best recipe (there are as many as there are cooks). For the past 14 years, Palazzo del Gusto Orvieto has sponsored a bake-off to decide whose is the yummiest. Both professionals and amateurs are invited to compete for the coveted culinary distinction of “Best Pizza di Pasqua di Orvieto”.

 

IMG_1795Exuberant baker Gaetana Olini has been preparing the Easter specialty for decades and let’s us in on her secret for making a great one.

“You must have patience and allow the pizza to rise in a warm spot for at least 18 hours”, she warns. “It’s in this way that you can be sure it will turn out very soft and airy.”

Gaetana P di pasqua

Pizza di Pasqua: It isn’t Easter in Umbria without it.

 

IMG_1792A RECIPE FOR PIZZA DI PASQUA…

INGREDIENTS

4 yeast cubes (from the refrigerated section, not the powdered kind!)

1 kg of flour 00

250 grams of sugar

1 cup olive oil

6 eggs

300 ml of water

300 ml of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or one package)

1 lemon zest

1 small glass of anisette liqueur and ‘rosolio di cannella’ (cinnamon liqueur)

IMG_1793

PREPARATION

Dissolve 2 cubes of yeast in 250 ml of warm water.

Meanwhile, in a large plastic bowl put 300 grams of flour.

Add the yeast mixture into the flour and mix with a fork until all the water is absorbed into the dough (be careful not to let it get hard). Add flour gradually making sure the dough remains soft!

Cover with a cloth and put in a warm space (inside a shut-off oven is best) and let the dough rise (about 1 hour).

Melt the remaining 2 cubes of yeast in 300 ml of warm milk. Remove the bowl from the oven and add the eggs, sugar, olive oil, lemon zest and milk with yeast. Blend with an electric mixer, adding more flour gradually, by hand.

Pour in two glasses of the liqueur and the vanilla.

At some point, if you did everything right, you will see that you will be forced to stop mixing because the dough will stick to the whips and it won’t be possible to continue. At this point use your hands to knead the dough, still continuing to add flour until you find that the dough comes off easily from your hands. But beware, it must not become a nice smooth ball! It must always remain soft and wet!

Grease two baking pans (large and tall) and put a quantity of dough that must not exceed one quarter of the height of the container to allow the dough to rise more than twice its size. It’s ready when the dough reaches the edge of the container.

Put in a preheated oven at 100C, then increase the temperature to 180C. The pan should be placed on a lower rack but not resting on the bottom of the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Pasticceria Nando, Via dei Sette Martiri, 68, Orvieto Scalo

Bar Montanucci, Corso Cavour, 23, Orvieto

Palazzo del Gusto Orvieto, Via Ripa Serancia I, 16, Orvieto TR

Read Full Post »

Watch YouTube Video Below!

Like scrappy, bebopping Pied Pipers, Perugia’s popular street band Funk Off gets this party started with a nightly parade that snakes through Orvieto’s narrow and ancient cobblestone alleyways. Music lovers, young and old, scamper and skip behind these energetic hipsters as their infectious beat draws more and more followers along the route. The bluesy procession ends with an impromptu jam session in the Piazza della Repubblica, where you’ll find you can’t help but tap your feet, move your body and smile: It’s Umbria Jazz Winter and “baby, it’s cold outside”.

IMG_1412The international flavor and welcoming spirit amidst the holiday lights and chilly, frigid temperatures creates a unique atmosphere that makes this festival something special. For five nights, starting from December 28 to January 1, Jazz fans flock from all over Italy and beyond to partake in the music and brotherhood for which this festival has become world renowned.

IMG_1595The old year goes out with a bang! Capodanno is celebrated with concerts and spontaneous jam sessions all over town. Ring in the New Year with fireworks and lots of reveling in the streets. On New Year’s Day arrive at the famous Duomo early to secure your spot for the first Mass of the year. Inside this majestic Cathedral you’ll witness something you don’t see every day; hymns sung at a Roman Catholic “Mass for Peace and Gospel” by Dr. Bobby Jones and the Nashville Gospel Super Choir. Hold onto your seats because this joint will be jumpin’!

For more information about the festival go to: http://www.umbriajazz.com

SEE YOUTUBE VIDEO OF FUNK OFF HERE:

by Toni DeBella

Read Full Post »

Watch YouTube Video Below!

Yes, I know you’ve seen this post before….but it’s Umbria Jazz Winter #20, so I’m updating the line-up and reminding everyone that there’s a 6-day party going on in Orvieto!

Like scrappy, bebopping Pied Pipers, Perugia’s popular street band Funk Off gets this party started with a nightly parade that snakes through Orvieto’s narrow and ancient cobblestone alleyways. Music lovers, young and old, scamper and skip behind these energetic hipsters as their infectious beat draws more and more followers along the route. The bluesy procession ends with an impromptu jam session in the Piazza della Repubblica, where you’ll find you can’t help but tap your feet, move your body and smile: It’s Umbria Jazz Winter #20 and “baby, it’s cold outside”.

IMG_1412The international flavor and welcoming spirit amidst the holiday lights and chilly, frigid temperatures creates a unique atmosphere that makes this festival something special. For five nights, starting from December 28 to January 1, Jazz fans flock from all over Italy and beyond to partake in the music and brotherhood for which this festival has become world renowned.  Performing on stage this year: Gregory Porter Septet, Dee Alexander & Evolution Ensemble, Tomeka Reid, Nicole Mitchell, Gary Brown & Feelings, Giovanni  Tommaso Reunion Quintet, John Batiste, and many more.

IMG_15182012 goes out with a bang! Capodanno is celebrated in the Piazza del Popolo at midnight, ringing in the New Year with a fireworks display and free outdoor concert.  On New Year’s Day arrive at the famous Duomo early to secure your spot for the first Mass of 2013.  Inside this majestic Cathedral you’ll witness something you don’t see every day; hymns sung at a Roman Catholic “Mass for Peace and Gospel” by Dr. Bobby Jones and the Nashville Gospel Superchoir.  Hold onto your seats because this joint will be jumpin’!

For more information about the festival go to: http://www.umbriajazz.com/Home.aspx

SEE YOUTUBE VIDEO OF FUNK OFF HERE:

by Toni DeBella

Read Full Post »

…Where the joyful sonatas of “Auguri” replace “Buongiorno” just for the season…and the sparkling, twinkling, snowy-white lights bring elegance to streets and alleyways.  Christmas markets and ice rinks erupt everywhere…Presepio and Ceppo reflect the perennial traditions of the old and yawning, sleepy children at Midnight Mass remind us of the new.  Holiday salutations begin with Prosecco and end the night with Grappaand it is never, ever too cold for gelato!  Panettone and Amaretti dunked into your cappuccino means it’s Christmas morning and…Babbo Natale “is coming to town” but in eleven days, La Befana is bringing the “stash”!

Buone Feste (Happy Holidays) to you and yours!

Peace in the New Year.

by Toni DeBella

Read Full Post »

Each Pentecoste Sunday for centuries, a large crowd gathers in the courtyard of the Duomo d’Orvieto to celebrate the Festa della Palombella. Despite the condemnation of animal rights advocates, a dove is placed in a plexiglass “space capsule” and launched on a zip-line across the Piazza. It arrives at the specially constructed cenacle with great fanfare of fireworks, red flames and clouds of smoke. The dove symbolizes the descent of lo Spirito Santo (the Holy Spirit) on the Apostles. It is said that if the dove survives the traumatic journey, it portends a year of good crops and fertility for the city’s most recently wed couple who vow to care for the dove until her natural death.

Apparently, this year “la colomba” had other plans! Somehow the container had opened prematurely and amidst a cheering crowd, the dove made her daring and defiant escape – literally and figuratively she “flew the coop”. The question remains: if a “surviving” dove signifies a year of favorable crop yields and a “deceased” dove predicts a weak harvest, then it’s good news for farmers since a liberated dove is certainly “alive and well”. But what is the fate of the newlyweds who were deprived of their blessing of peace and fertility? I have no doubt that every bar on “the Rupe” is humming with speculation about this twist of fate! The discourse and theorizing could go on for the next 365 days!
by Toni DeBella

Read Full Post »

In June of 2004, I arrived in Orvieto, Italy for the very first time. Completely by chance my vacation coincided with the Feast of the Corpus Domini (Corpus Christi) and its historical pageant Il Corteo Storico. It was a very happy accident, as it turned out. Those days before the main event were buzzing with excitement and anticipation. What struck me most was how the town’s entire citizenry enthusiastically participated in the preparation of what I would soon learn was the most important celebration for Orvietani specifically, and for the Roman Catholic world, most particularly.

As I walked through the winding streets the evening before the festivities, the whole city seemed to be out in full force. The Comune erected special lights in the Piazza della Repubblica for the school children who were sitting on the cobblestone ground, constructing an infiorata (mosaic made exclusively of flowers). Everyone was working happily with their families way past midnight.  Nearby, in the Piazza del Popolo, young men practiced sbandieratori (flag-throwing) alongside a falconer training his raptor for the next day’s performance. Utility workers on ladders were installing speakers hidden behind sprays of flowers tied with ribbon on the main route of the procession. The solemn mass would be broadcast throughout town (perhaps so that the elderly and house-bound were not left out). The energy was electric and I could feel thta something very special was about to happen.

La Storia di Duomo

If you’ve ever been to Orvieto, you know it’s home to one of the most spectacular Duomos (Cathedrals) in all of Italy. At first glance, I remember thinking, “How did such a small town manage to build such a magnificent Duomo?” Its beauty and grandeur rivals that of the Duomos of Siena and Florence. Well, in order to build this Duomo it took a miracle: Il Miracolo di Bolsena (The Miracle of Bolsena) to be exact.

A Eucharistic Miracle: Corporal of Bolsena

In 1263, Peter of Prague, a priest on a pilgrimage to Rome, stopped at the tomb of St. Christina in Bolsena to celebrate mass. It’s said that he doubted Christ was actually present in the consecrated host, but became convinced when, during the consecration, blood began seeping from the host and trickled onto the altar and corporal. The priest immediately brought the bloodied linen to nearby Orvieto where Pope Urban IV was residing. In August of 1264, by way of a papal bull, Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Domini and under his orders the Cathedral of Orvieto was constructed to commemorate and provide a home for the miraculous relic. It’s where it remains enshrined and exhibited today. In 1964, at the 700th anniversary of the institution of the feast, Pope Paul VI arrived in Orvieto by helicopter (the first Pope in history to use this means of transportation) and celebrated mass at the alter where the holy corporal is kept.

Homage to the Past

Naomi1There are faces of people that I know very well walking in this parade, but when dressed in their historical and graceful garb, they become almost unrecognizable. So authentic is their portrayal that I’m completely entranced and transported to Orvieto‘s medieval and Renaissance past. Over 400 costumes represent all the municipal courts of the time. You see coats of arms from noble families, brightly colored flags and costumes symbolic of their social or political position and metal shields, armor, weapons, helmets all signifying Orvieto‘s military strength of the era.

Man in the Mirror

A friend tells me how he came to be part of the tradition of the Corteo Storico. It began for him when he was just a young boy in school. He was selected to be part of the procession – a great honor. Each year that he participated, he was rewarded with a more prominent position the following year. Now a grown man, he fulfills a respected role as a knight and is also one of the pageant’s main organizers.

I think that one of the qualities that draws me to Italy time and again is its reverence and adoration for the traditions and folklore that are passed down to each generation. Corteo Storico is a supreme example of this commitment to its for-bearers. It’s widely believed that an important part of the present is to honor the past and those who came before. When one is dressed in his evocative and dazzling, handcrafted costume does he see in the mirror the life of his ancestor reflected back to him? I’d like to think so.

La Futura


You can only imagine that some of these young children today, just beginning their experience as members of the Corteo, will one day pass this tradition onto their children and grandchildren.  They will build upon the collective memory of their medieval and maybe even their Etruscan roots thousands of years ago. Another friend of mine, Giorgio, returns to his hometown each summer to join with his childhood friends in the Corteo. It must be as important a ritual for Giorgio and his family as it is for Orvieto as a community. He is helping to keep the historical chain unbroken.

PROGRAMMA DI CORPUS DOMINI 2011 (PROGRAM OF CORPUS CHRISTI)

Friday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m.

Concert of medieval music and dance performance by Damcamus and

the choir Vox et Jubilum in the Church of San Andrea

Corteo delle Dame (Procession of the Dame)

Saturday, June 25

5:30 p.m Vespers in the Cathedral

6:00 p.m. Flag-waving by Amelia in Piazza Duomo

Corteo Storico

Sunday, June 26

10:00 a.m. Parade exits from the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo

10:30 a.m. Procession exits from the Cathedral and continues through town

Saturday and Sunday Medieval Market in the Piazza della Repubblica.

Photographs by Patrick Richmond Nicholas and Giorgio Campanari
by Toni DeBella

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: