Anne's Blog

Passione  in Umbria’s May Festivals

Date: December 15, 2010 - categories: , , , , - 7 Comments

If you truly wish to experience Italian passione, join “the locals” for their May festivals.
Work goes on all winter in Assisi for the town’s medieval welcome to spring in early May, the Calendimaggio. In an explosion of color, excitement, and astounding creativity, the Assisani celebrate spring with three days of medieval dance, street theater, choral music, contests and pageantry. They don’t care if tourists join in the May medieval splendor (most of the stands are filled with Assisians): this festival is about THEM and those long-awaited three days when they can live again the Middle Ages – – with passione. Click here to read more – and see the photos, videos.

Assisi: Calendimaggio





….and what else but passione pushes those Eugubini (the townspeople of Gubbio) to raise up the three huge (approximate weight: nearly 700 lbs) wooden pyramidical structures, the Ceri, and race them all day through the streets and then up the mountain back-dropping Gubbio? As for most any Italian medieval festivals, the roots of the Corsa dei Ceri are both pagan and Christian. The ceri (“candlesticks”) could represent those carried in the funeral procession of their patron saint, St. Ubaldo in the 12th c. Then again, Cerfus was the Umbrian god of fertility and the ceri certainly have a phallic aspect! In any case, the origins are lost in history – and on May 15th, no one cares.

Gubbio: Corsa dei Ceri




Click here to read more about Assisi’s Calendimaggio

Read about the May 15th Corsa dei Ceri in Gubbio

Click here for more on Italian passione

Click here to read about singing in May in Umbria

Click here to read about a curious May festival


  • christine holding says:

    Long term resident of Rome, I am possibly interested in your Assisi based cooking lessons, where would I find out more?

  • Kay Brown says:

    Anne, I love your stories of Umbria and am so sorry that I couldn’t get into your last class in DC area, though I have taken many, many Italian cooking classes over the years. If we get to Umbria I’ll get in touch with you. We’re usually there every year, but at our age all the problems with travel are becoming very tiring.
    Kay Brown

  • anne says:

    Christine, check out my COOKING page for news on cooking classes in our Assisi farmhouse as well as in the US….
    Kay.. hope we can cook again next yr in DC – should be there mid.Marc 2012

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