Arte in Tavola & Mercato delle Gaite
When I was in Bevagna, I came across the announcement of Arte in tavola. This is a local festival all around food and handicraft. Well, to use the simple word food seems not appropriate enough when it comes to Umbria’s delicious culinary delights, so the name arte in tavola (art on the table) describes it much better. During this festival, which starts on Friday, tables are put into the streets and local specialities are offered. You can also sample the wine, and buy of course the magic delicatessen from wine to olive oil, cheese, sausage and many more. They also have handicraft stalls where they sell all kinds of products, handmade according to the old traditions, such as candles woodcraft and cloth.
I was very much disappointed that I won’t be there any longer when it takes place, but… next time.
In 2008, the festival Arte in Tavola was held from May 2nd to May 4th. If you plan to visit Umbria in the next years, check for this festival and try to plan your visit around it. It is definitely worth a visit and sampling. I had so many delicious foods in Umbria, so that I believe to be able to judge, even if I wasn’t at this special festival.
But the most fascinating event in Bevagna must be Mercato delle Gaite, a Medieval festival of 10 days length where many market stalls are spread over the whole town and where Bevagna locals show old and traditional skills like candle making, dyeing, knitting, where Medieval contests are held in bow and arrow shooting and others. If you are in Umbria during June, make sure you don’t miss this festival. I will definitely come back during this time! See photo, to get an idea of how the people are dressed.
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
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The procession of Beata Giacomo
While at dinner in a restaurant on the Piazza Garibaldi on the Sunday evening of our stay we heard music and popped outside to see what was going on. It was a religious procession of the type quite common in Catholic countries – this one in honour of Beato Giacomo Bianconi.
Giacomo was born in Bevagna in 1220. At sixteen he was received into the Dominican order at Spoleto, and later founded a convent here in Bevagna. After a life of extreme austerity he died on 15 August, 1301, and his body is preserved here. His remains have been exposed on three occasions in the past and found to be incorrupt. Numerous miracles have been attributed to him and Pope Boniface IX granted indulgences to all those who visit his relics during the first three days of May. As this procession took place on the first Sunday in May I am sure that is related to that and that the people we saw following the statue were seeking indulgences.
We had seen this statue earlier in the church of San Domenico e del Beato Giacomo
and been struck by the red cord which symbolises the blood of Christ flowing onto the kneeling figure – just visible in my photo. It is said that this sprinkling of blood happened to demonstrate to him the eternal salvation promised by Jesus, and was a sign of his great goodness.
The old washhouse is still in use :-)
While I was in Bevagna in April 2008, it was too cold that women would have come to the washhouse near Porta Todi. But I’ve read that it is still in use in summers. That’s somehow typical for Umbrian villages (not only Umbria though): even if women have washing machines in their house, they still come to this public washhouse as part of their social life – exchange of information, gossips, chatting, making plans, invitations, festivities. I like that and wish that back home we would also have kept that custom.
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