Anne's Blog

Umbria’s Festivals: an Explosion of Passione

Date: September 18, 2013 - categories: , , , - Leave your thoughts

La passione – certainly in the Italian DNA –  takes over at a young age. In early May during Assisi’s Calendimaggio, the town’s medieval history, poetry, music, theater is recreated with passione by all – from young to the elderly.

Announcing the festivities, young drummers beat out their passione with a fury.

Teen-agers in medieval dress serpentine through the piazza in intricate medieval dances, mastered with passione in the months preceding.

Passione for medieval dance, song in Assisi


Elegantly-dressed young donne nobili enter the main square with infants in their arms, beaming toddlers by the hand, waving enthusiastically  at the cheering crowds.

For the Feast of Corpus Cristi, floral passione sweeps nearby Spello as villagers of all ages create flowering carpets to welcome the Host (Christ) born in procession. The young scramble mountainsides for weeks before, picking wildflowers, sharp eye out for the specific colors desired for their group’s infiorate – and they, too, work all night on the vigil of Corpus Cristi composing stunning floral masterpieces.

Spello: young passione for the infiorate


Since 1371, the young and old of Narni live con passione the festivities in honor of their patron saint in In early May. The young ones may not be on horseback in for la Corsa delle’Anello (“Race of the Ring”) but they parade solemnly in period costume in nighttime pageantry and enthusiastically serve at table in the taverne where all gather for food, drink and camaraderie during the festivities.

In Gubbio’s May 15th Corsa dei Ceri, the reverence and la passione for the Ceri is quite simply indescribable.  All cheer the Ceri wildly during the runs, toddlers sitting on Papa’s shoulders, shouting out the names of their favorite Cero.   When the Ceri are at rest during a pause in the runs, parents carry children in arms to the Ceri to kiss them. Groups of children, teens, adults dance in the piazzas all day long.  I asked a group of dancing children, “Which day is more important for you, Christmas or today?”  No hesitation.  A choral shout: “OGGI!”

Passione for the Ceri is born early in Gubbio


Certamente. After all, May 15th is Gubbio’s day of totale passione.

At the end of June, la passione medioevale comes alive in Bevagna during il Mercato delle Gaite when the children dressed in itchy wool and hemp clothes in summer heat (who feels the discomfort?) re-enact medieval artisan tasks alongside the adults. 

In early July at Umbria Jazz in Perugia, jazz passione reigns and has no age limits. Sammy Figueroa, percussionist for Sonny Rollins put it this way as we talked last year: “This is Italy, land of great food, great attitude, and our music is their passion. There is nothing close to this for a musician. This is a universe.”

Click here to see – and FEEL! – Calendimaggio splendor
Click to read about Assisi’s stunning medieval festival, Calendimaggio
Read about – and see the passione– of Assisi’s Calendimaggio
Click here to read about pre-Calendimaggio “fever”
Read about the passione lived during Calendimaggio – and not only.
Read about a late April a pre-Calendimaggio Assisi event
Click here to read about – and see – the “blessed” beginning of Calendimaggio
Find out the signs that Calendimaggio is “just around the corner”
Read about an early May Umbrian festival not to miss
Click here to read about passione in Umbria’s astounding May festivals
Click here for superb photos and news on Spello’s infiorate
Read about Narni’s May festival
Click here for more on May 15 in Gubbio
Read about Bevagna’s late June medieval passion
Click here for news on Perugia’s amazing Umbria Jazz festival













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