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Once again large crowds for the wine festa in Riana

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Once again the tiny hamlet of Riana in the Comune of Fosciandora was overun with visitors this afternoon for the annual Wine Festa held each year at the start of the autumn.

The organisers of the event and the Mayor of Fosciandora, Moreno Lunardi both quoted the incredible figure of more than 3000 visitors to the tiny village during the day including 280 visitors from Viareggio who arrived on a train specially put on for the event.

Now that may sound like a huge exaggeration for the amount of people who would want to visit a small wine festival in a tiny village tucked away up in the mountains of Garfagnana but judging by the huge crowds swirling through the narrow streets of Riana and also the lines of parked cars stretching back almost to the bottom of the valley, it’s probable that the figure of 3500 is far closer to the truth.

The almost perfect late autumn weather must also have greatly helped the participation of so many people but looking at the calendar in this area there were many events taking place today most of which also reported a surge in visitors.

Could it be that people are finally had enough of the appalling television in this country and are now looking for something far more traditional, wholesome and with a touch of, dare we say it, poetry?

If the experience in the Comune of Fosciandora is anything to go by today, then poetic moments are still there to be found. Just take a look at the main image for this article. The water fountain in the street in the middle of Riana. Turn the tap and out comes …… gushing bright, sharp red wine. As one of the first time visitors to the festa pointed out this afternoon, ” it could only happen in a fable or a fairytale”.

Further up from the village, maybe a clue as to why the village fountain was spouting wine – it would seem that it was the only place where wine could be kept as all the wine barrels were being used to something else – a fiercely contested barrel race on the steep side of a mountain in amongst the vineyards.

As you can see from the images and video below, it was a fiercely contested barrel race with contestants of all ages manhandling a heavy and decidedly ungainly barrel up a steep track on the side of the hill. A race against gravity and time and which only the nimble and strong could win…. and in the end, who actually won was not important, it was the occasion that mattered not the win.

Also present at today’s event were some of the artists, chairs and suitcases from the last public outing this year of Chairart with organiser, Martin Galloway.

Ancora una volta il piccolo abitato di Riana è stato invaso da una moltitudine di visitatori (si stima siano stati 3000)per l’annuale Festa del Vino. Una manifestazione che sa unire, oltre al gusto per il vino leggero di queste parti, tradizione, folclore, stornelli e sapori di una volta e che ogni anno è premiata dal più largo consenso del pubblico.

La giornata tiepida e soleggiata e l’arrivo del Treno dei sapori hanno contribuito non poco a far diventare il piccolo borgo l’ombelico del mondo per un giorno.

Già dalla mattina gli organizzatori hanno cominciato a sfornare bontà come polenta contadina e affettati misti, porchetta, cottarelle e dolci rustici, ai quali si sono aggiunti, con il procedere della giornata, salsicce grigliate, infarinata passata al forno e pasta fritta integrale, ovviamente accompagnati da fiumi di vino, che come in una fiaba, a Riana, sgorga da una fontana.

Imperdibile la corsa delle botti, che anche quest’anno ha visto cimentarsi i più arditi nello spingere una botte in salita tra due ali di folla; e poi musica, stornelli e allusioni con gli stornelli degli Amici del Chianti o un passaggio tra i pezzi dell’esposizione di sedie d’arte di Chair Art.

Fino all’imbrunire e oltre le vie di pietra del paese sono state un continuo vai e vieni di persone e di brindisi, dove tutto è stato all’insegna della convivialità e dell’accoglienza da parte degli abitanti che ad ogni edizione sanno dimostrare grande organizzazione e squisita cordialità.

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Pietro Salotti setting out the rules of the barrel roll 2012


Interview (in Italiano) with the Mayor of Fosciandora – Moreno Lunardi

For the fourth year running contestants lined up to see who could roll the large ungainly ( and luckily, empty) wooden barrel up through the vineyard in the shortest time possible.

 

Other events earlier this year in Fosciandora had already drawn large crowds – “Usanze e Sapori della Terra Natia” in Orzalia in August (article here) and the tradizionale Festa del Vino in Riana today shows that there are even more people interested in this kind of event – all eyes are now on the next cultural and gastronomic outing in November when Lupinaia hosts the Festa della Castagna.

La manifestazione è organizzata dal Gruppo Sociale Fosciandora, il Comitato Paesano di Riana, il Centro Commerciale Naturale, l’Associazione culturale Gamborosso, con il patrocinio del Comune di Fosciandora.
Per maggiori informazioni: Tel. 338 2570163 – Email: pietro.salotti@libero.it

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