It’s Festa Season in Umbria!

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It’s ‘ceri’ weekend in Gubbio, and we do believe it’s the official kick off for all of the fine weather festas in Umbria. For the uninitiated, the ceri (pronounced ‘cherry’) is a race where three enormous wooden, octagonal ‘candles’ are carried upright, on the strapping shoulders of the robust ‘cerioli’ men all the way up to St Ubaldo’s church. Which happens to be so steep, there is a funiculare to carry mere mortals up the hill; and it’s not really a race because they start out in the same order and end up in the same order. That however does not in anyway diminish the enthusiasm of the crowds.

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It’s ‘ceri’ weekend in Gubbio, and we do believe it’s the official kick off for all of the fine weather festas in Umbria. Not having the courage to brave the crowds, or the weather, we opted to go for a little Saturday night pre-ceri merry-making. Gubbio crowds
For the uninitiated, the ceri (pronounced ‘cherry’) is a race where three enormous wooden, octagonal ‘candles’ are carried upright, on the strapping shoulders of the robust ‘cerioli’ men all the way up to St Ubaldo’s church. Which happens to be so steep, there is a funiculare to carry mere mortals up the hill; and it’s not really a race because they start out in the same order and end up in the same order. That however does not in anyway diminish the enthusiasm of the crowds.

Tradition also has it that it rains on Ceri day. If by some strange chance, it doesn’t rain, then tradition is upheld by having bystanders pour buckets of water on the runner’s heads. And in case you are wondering, yes, it rained today.

It makes no sense whatsoever, no matter how you look it. But, it doesn’t matter, everyone in town has a good time. If it’s time for the running of the ceri, then it means summer can’t be far behind.

Kind of makes that whole cherry blossom watching thing seem so ….passive…doesn’t it?

Croccante
Here’s a good link to festes and sagre in Umbria. Sagre are festivals dedicated to an ingredient so if you are partial to onions, white potatoes, black celery, snails..then you are in luck. The list of sagre seems endless and absolutely boggles the imagination.

We soaked up the fun festa vibe, and finally found a place to eat. You know that  sinking feeling, when all the good restaurants are completely booked, you forgot to make a reservation and you worry that if you do find a seat…what’s wrong with the place? Well, we wound up at one of the old standards in Gubbio and it was like we wandered into a time warp, circa 1950, in France. Don’t ask. 

We walked around some more, soaking up the sites, then drove home, on the winding roads above Pietralunga, in the shadow of Carpini mountains, with the top down and the stars out on a glorious spring night. All in all, a fine way to spend a Saturday night. Ristorante Ceri photo from ceri.it

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