Anne's Blog

With a Bonfire and Chestnuts, Assisi Awaits La Madonna

Date: December 8, 2019 - categories: , , , , , , , , , - 2 Comments

That huge crackling and spitting focaraccio (literally, “big ugly fire” i.e., “bonfire”) near Assisi’s massive medieval fortress, La Rocca Maggiore, is said to light the way for the arrival of La Madonna (for December 8th, feast of the Immaculate Conception).

I’m not sure about that but the traditional December 7th bonfire certainly does gather together the assisani: with gloved hands holding cups of hot mulled wine and paper cones of roasted chestnuts, they chat near the bonfire backdropped by the 14th-century fortress squatting on the hilltop above Assisi.

From a wooden pre-fab near the bonfire and close to the fortress, smiling volunteers serve cups of hot mulled wine and paper cones of steaming roasted chestnuts just off the two grills behind the hut.

A large glass jar sits on the counter for anyone wishing to make a donation to sustain the initiative…

Below La Rocca, Assisi churches and bellowers rise in splendor and lights twinkle in the Umbrian Valley fanning out at the foot of this medieval hilltown gem:

Some chestnut-nibblers enjoyed that view with their nuts.

Federico, one of the roasting volunteers back at the grill, kept his eyes on the chesntuts rather than on the view.

He’s been a volunteer on December 7th “per non so quanti anni” (for I don’t-know-how-many years”). As he gently – almost reverently – rolled the roasting chestnuts in yellow-gloved hands, we talked about the reduced chestnut harvest this year: as for olives, the harvest was down about 30% in 2019. Federico knew the reason: climate change and a consequent increase in aggressive parasites.

Near him, other volunteers worked rapidly on another grill….

……also to satiate eager children waiting in line for the brown paper cones of hot chestnuts:

December 7th at Assisi’s Rocca Maggiore, age barriers disappear with the sharing of those chestnuts, as if going up in the smoke of the bonfire.

All ages share in the goodness. Logicamente. This is Italy where foods unite, where foods earmark festivals and any gathering.

As I headed down from La Rocca, I heard laugher and song and looking up, I saw groups of children and teens scrambling on the slopes, interacting with the 14th-century monument.

The roasted chestnuts and bonfire had drawn them there.

I thought, too, about sharing roasted chestnuts at La Rocca years ago with three small children who’d be excited to get to bed that night. That towering bonfire was illuminating la Madonna’s route to Assisi where she’d visit every home, leaving a simple article of clothing for each child.

As I continued down the hill, I wondered if today’s Assisi children wake up on December 8th to new socks or underwear or gloves.

I hope La Madonna has not gone electronic.

Read here about the Assisi traditions years ago for the arrival of La Madonna

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website www.annesitaly.com
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
TYPE OF DATA TREATED
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address anne@annesitaly.com

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)