Anne's Blog

A Sagra Near Assisi for Top Umbria Cuisine

Date: August 22, 2019 - categories: , , , , , , , , - 5 Comments

Up on the hill, Assisi backdrops the small (pop. 2500) village of Rivotorto,  where Umbria’s traditional rural cuisine draws the locals – and not only! – for nine mid-August evenings of feasting, ballroom dancing and more.

A variety of pre-dinner events highlight this sagra (a food festival where local volunteers do the cooking), ranging from a presentation by Assisi’s medieval banner-wavers, in medieval dress….

… a re-evocation of a summer wheat harvest to a presentation of antique musical instruments used by the local band.  A conference between grandparents and teen grandchildren introduces one evening of feasting and dancing; on another day, voices join to bring alive traditional Umbrian rural songs.

But the highlight?  Logicamente, the food (this is Italy, after all).

At the table opposite ours, a couple was taking food photos for their family back in Padua:

And here at Rivotorto’s Antichi Sapori festival, “old flavors” (or the delectable flavors of the humble rural cooking of past generations) entice. Roast goose was a top-seller on the menu the evening we were there:

I ordered homemade tagliatelle (made with organic goose eggs!) with a sauce of goose meat.  Pino savored a forkful and then enjoyed his order of stewed goose meat with spinach on the side

We often enjoy a dinner at one sagra or another throughout our region of Umbria from late spring to late fall – when the “sagra season” ends – but this is the only Umbria sagra where the goodness you ordered arrives at your table in terra-cotta dishes.

Some of those smiling young volunteer-servers (over one hundred at this sagra) zip to the tables, delivering the orders…..

…..while others clear the tables, pushing grocery carts for loading up the terra-cotta dishes:

Others set the tables – with paper-wrapped metal silverware, plastic utensils not used (your wine is poured into glasses, not the usual plastic cups of most sagre):

Although plastic plates and cutlery are the norm, more and more villages are becoming eco-conscious and reducing the use of plastic at their sagre.  But here in Rivotorto, these terra-cotta dishes have always been used for as one of the organizers told me, “the goodness of these traditional dishes would quite simply be lost if served on plastic.”

The other novelty of Antichi Sapori? Not the same menu throughout the sagra but different menus each evening. I asked three young women enjoying their feast if the food at this sagra was what drew them back each year…..

Non veramente, Signora,” they told me, smiling.  The draw for them was another innovation of this sagra: the disco pub for young people, behind the food tents.

After their feast, they’d be heading to dance at the pub.  Most of the other diners would head to the open-air bandstand near the tables for ballroom-dancing.

Parents dancing with their children, too…like the young father I saw whirling his son around the dance floor:

The name of each orchestra is always printed on the sagra programs and on posters around town. The dancing was just starting as we left but this orchestra was a popular one and would be drawing the crowds.

For thirty-two years now Rivotorto’s Antichi Sapori has offered buonissimo cuisine at prezzi popolari (reasonable, affordable prices) and summertime entertainment to all ages. Every year, more people discover this sagra.

Drop in, too, if you’re in Umbria in August….

….and if you’re here during another month, do let me know and I’ll be glad to share with you “sagra tips.”

Read about a sagra our apartment guests loved

Click here to read all about la sagra (and note the links!)


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
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.
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

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