Anne's Blog

Covid-19 Has Assisi’s Calendimaggio On Hold

Date: May 6, 2020 - categories: , , , , , , - 2 Comments

May 5th, our second day of “liberation” from that full lockdown which has kept us all at home since March 11, 2020. We can now go to our own Comune (city or town, place of residency) to walk – and not just for grocery shopping or a pharmacy visit (and one person only per household).

For me, a memorable day: I went with Pino to Assisi, masks and gloves in the car.

Mount Subasio splendor greeted us as we headed down our road:

And the imposing 14th-c fortress, la Rocca Maggiore, rose up before us as we entered Assisi, a somber gray bastion on this cloudy day:

What views from the La Rocca:

Coming down from the fortress, we drove through Assisi’s winding medieval alleyways. Forlornly empty.

Italian flags fluttered from windows, probably hung out for April 25th, la Festa della Liberazione – a day of national pride and unity (and in 2020, more than ever):

….and as we neared Piazza Santa Chiara, what joy to spot an array of other flags, those blue ones of la Parte de Sopra.

The COVID-19 lockdown has annulled Assisi’s astounding medieval festival, Calendimaggio – which was to start May 6th. Each year in early May, Assisi exults in four days of magnificent medieval music, dance, theater, contests and stunning pageantry, a joyous competition between the two Parti of our town, Sotto (the “lower” part) and Sopra (“upper” part).

But the flags dangle over nearly empty streets: the blues ones in “upper Assisi”….

…and red ones in “lower Assisi”:

Hoping to see those blue banners on our Assisi jaunt, I had put on my blue Sopra (our Parte) kerchief that morning – as tribute to the hundreds of young people and adults – from both Parti – who had been working with passione on this festival even before COVID-19 erupted.

I was thinking about all of them and past Calendimaggio magnificence as I walked towards Piazza del Comune.

My photo was taken by young Alessandra, the only other person in that blue banner-draped Corso Mazzini leading to the main square.

With twinkling eyes, she told me, “I have on a red jacket today but, Anna, you know I am from Sopra!”

As I entered the main square I passed the fountain, the crenellated 13th-century bellower just beyond it rising proudly like a stalwart guardian…

The blue banner of Sopra and the red one of Sotto dangled from the tower just below the clock:

Opposite the tower, the regal blue and red banners of the two Parti, draped our city hall, Palazzo Comunale. The Piazza del Comune stretching out below was nearly empty:

In past years, it would have been the stage for Calendimaggio splendor:

In email correspondence, Janet (living in Florida but spending many months annually in Assisi), recently wrote me this in reply to my query about what this festival meant to her (and her photos highlight her note):

Calendimaggio for me is all about families and neighbors cooperating and expressing their love for each other and their heritage in a major way every year…..

..The children are brought into the celebration so effectively so that they carry on the tradition, learn their history, and carry on the festival for the future….

…. Calendimaggio appears to me to keep people close, so different from 2020.”

Yes, Janet, Calendimaggio draws people together though in 2020 with Covid-19, we’ve had to distance, draw away from each other rather than unite together,

Let us hope that in 2021, the assisani will again unite to create the splendor of Calendimaggio, captured here in the photos of Francesco Mancinelli, (Mille grazie, Francesco):

Click here to read about – and see – la passione in Assisi for Calendimaggio

Click here to read about – and see! Calendimaggio splendor

Read about how Calendimaggio unites all ages

Read about a floral tribute to Gubbio and their May 15th festival, Corsa dei Ceri

Read about a “lockdown liberation” for April 25thla Festa della Repubblica (and so very linked to Gubbio, as well)

Enjoy this “COVID-19 lockdown” recipe

Click here for a tasty Pino recipe as a coronavirus distraction

Read about newborn goats as a coronavirus diversion

Click here for another “coronavirus-deterrent” recipe

Click here to read about – and see!- our Easter Monday picnic during lockdown

Click here for the recipe for a tasty pasta dish – and ours on Good Friday during COVID-19

Read here about culling the wool of our cashmere goats – a perfect coronavirus distraction

Read here about Pino’s goat cheese

Cook away a possible CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack) with this simple recipe for a buonissima pasta dish

Read here about a snowy day in Umbria during our coronavirus lockdown

Click here for an easy, tasty recipe

Click here for another easy recipe to ward off CPA

Click here  for another “coronavirus lockdown” recipe

Read here about an outdoor market visit to ward off a CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack)

Click here to read about Novella’s vegetable stand during the coronavirus lockdown

Click here to read about – and see! – a favorite Orvieto eating spot (to ward off CPA)

Read about – and see! – Assisi during coronavirus lockdown

Read about a Pino feast on March 8th as coronavirus distraction 

Click here to read about March 8th – as a coronavirus antidote


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