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Sunday, 20 September 2009

of rain and grapes and poetry

It's been quite an eventful week. The long awaited 'proper rain' has at last arrived. We've had some real downpours at the beginning of the week, marking the end of this year's watering period. We harvested most of the remaining tomatoes, before rot can set in, making some more tomato sauce and green tomato jam with rum. I was going to pass on the recipe, but there's so much more that happened this week.

Today in particular we were torn between two festas. One was in our village, the 25th Cesare Orsini Poetry Prize. Some may remember that last year the event got practically rained off. The concert piano that had to be shifted up to our little piazza with great care, stayed under cover and we simply invited the pianist and 2 Swedish tourists in to our kitchen for a glass of wine. This year, the same pianist was there, but brought a handier electric piano with him and a soprano singer.

Rain did arrive again, so we all took refuge in our next door neighbour's living room, where the poetry readings took place as well as a small concert. When I say living room, they don't actually spend much time in there and it's more a small private museum. It's in the other half of the palazzo of which we inhabit the former servants quarters.

The music was mostly Puccini. Now I must admit I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to opera and always found it a bit of an overblown art form, sort of artificial if you know what I mean. However I've never stood 5 feet from a soprano in full voice in somebodies living room. I must say you start to realise how physically fit these singers have to be, and on full blast she'd compete with a small rock band in volume. It really goes right under your skin. No doubt this little video won't give it justice, but it'll give you a flavour

In addition there's been a small craft's market, a photo exhibition and and exhibition of old farm machinery, antiques and old motorbikes. The other festa we had been wanting to see for some time was the Festa dell'Uva in Vezzano Ligure. I have mentioned the merits of this village before and maybe I should shut up about it.

It beats me why tens of thousands flock to Siena and San Gimignano to see the palio and get ripped off in tacky tourist shops, when there is this beautiful place with probably the best view in all of Italy. It's always nice to visit, but the grape festival is the highlight of the year. The whole town is decorated in grapes.
Vezzano is quite a widely spread village/town with many quarters known as Rione. The inhabitants then indulge in various competions against each other, including a vintner's race and a procession in fancy dress. Each Rione has it's specific theme, which may be:



or even cross dressing!!!

There was dancing in the streets...

...but it was all a bit much for some...

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