Floral Passione Explodes in Bucchianico (part II)

May 20, 2015 / Events
Bucchianico, Abruzzo

(…cont’d from here.)

The banquet that day was just one of many banquets – for about 700 – which take place during the multi-faceted Feast of Sant’Urbano, all hosted by the banderese: other ones are at Eastertime, next week, and during the summer. Before lunch, musicians in pacchianello dress played traditional songs using medieval rural instruments and then, wrinkled older women bearing packages of pasta for the cook filed into the kitchen singing in harmony a song to Sant’Urbano.

DRUMS
TAMBOURINE
MUSIC BEFOR# LUNCH
BRINING PASTA

As the tables filled up, we thanked Natascia, little Benedetta (shadowing Natascia all morning), Franco, Urbano, the cooks (who shared recipes with Pino!), Antonella (in medieval costume, recounting us the legends) and everyone there who had so generously let us, too, live the passione – and who had tried to explain it to us. Like young Laura, Stefania and Silvia as they headed to the tables for lunch. Laura: “I will never know what moves me to spend months on the flowers.” Stefania: “We do it for love of our Saint Urbano, per la passione.” Silvia: “There is no way to explain it – just as there is no way to explain love.”

THREE FRIENDS-..flowers made
ANTONELLA AND PINO

“Dove andate ora?” Antonella queried. (Where are you off to now?) When we told her we were headed to lunch near town to find spots in the piazza for the afternoon events, she smiled, grabbed my hand and led us to a long plank table with ebullient contradaioli who filled our wine glasses as we sat down.

A reception before lunch
BEFORE LUNCH
view-feast

Twenty-five men passed the pasta dishes in rapid relay out of the kitchen and to the tables and the porchetta and salad arrived in the same way. An animated group of young men in the wine cellar filled carafes with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (red) and la passerina (white) for the tables. Other men carried huge wooden trays of sfogliatelle cookies at dessert-time and baskets of fruit, too, were relayed down the long tables.

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FEAST BEFORE THE SFILATA
NEW FRIENDS AT LUNCH
MARISA AND CAMILLO
FEAST AND THEN FESTA
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SWEETS SHUTTLE

The feast started at 11: 30. After lunch, some would work on final touch-ups to the carri, like Camillo, sitting across the table from us. Others would don their medieval dress for the procession and those in the musical groups, would tune up their instruments. And above all, those hundreds of pacchianelle – like Camillo’s wife, Marisa – would need time to put on their costumes and touch up their tresses before putting on the cloth ring needed to hold in place their baskets of polychromatic floral glory, transforming each head into a stunning “floral altar.”

Sant’Urbano, those Bucchianichesi certainly know how to do you honor.

And a rose plucked for me from her basket by una pacchianella will always remind us.

(La Festa dei Banderesi…)

(Many thanks to SCATTI D’AUTORE di Alessandro Di Nobile – Bucchianico, for the images of the women carrying baskets.)

rose-pacchianella

festa-signora
festa-famiglia
festa-mamma-figlio
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IL BANDERESE and sons
CAmillo, at lunch with us..with his contrada's carro
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IL CARRO DEL VINO..OLEANDERS OF PAPER
THe carro of the blacksmiths
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CARRO DEL VINO FOLLOWED BY MUSCI
MUSICIANS FOLLOW IIL CARRO A LEGNA
URBANO AND HIS CALF
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OFFERED TO SANT'URBANO..BBUT HESITANT
A FAMILY all SET
Never too small for flowers
Wee ones are flower-surrounded
Awaitng the start
FLORAL PILGRIMAGE UNDERWAY
Marisa...our luncheon companion..with her flowers
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Winding procession in the main square
Sunflowers, lilies, hydrandea roses
Sunflowers in tall baskets, zinnaia in wide ones
Parading wih dignity, floral arrangements on head
Little ones too in the festival
Little ones in baby carriages, flowers in hand
La Ciammaichella weaves through the piazza
LA CIAMMAICHELLA OF BUCCHIANICO
FLOWER  intricacies astound
FLORAL procession winds
EVERY imaginable flower
Delicate lilies, colorful carnatons, purple snapdragons
Bucchianico piazza becomes a flower labyrinth
Bouquets of every flower type

BUCCHIANICO piazza, flower filled for la Ciammaichella

Anne Robichaud

by Anne Robichaud

An authorized Umbrian tour guide, Anne and her husband Pino worked the land for many years in the 1970’s so rural life, rural people, rural cuisine are una passione for her. See Umbria from “the inside”: join her May 2017 ten-day tour centered on discovering Umbria, Anne’s Umbria.

See www.annesitaly.com for more on her Umbria tours. Do see www.stayassisi.com for news on the Assisi apartment – and Assisi countryside guest house – she and Pino now rent out.

Anne writes frequently on Umbria and other areas of Italy. Read about her annual U.S. Feb/Mar cooking classes and lectures, as well as her numerous Italy insights on her blog.

16 Responses to “Floral Passione Explodes in Bucchianico (part II)”

  1. Kathy Kelsey

    We will put this on our list to come to this festival sometime! It so pretty! Great photos. thanks so much for sharing

    Reply
  2. Mairin O'Mahony

    What happens to all the beautiful flowers after the festival? So much work! A wonderful piece, thank you!

    Reply
  3. Anna Retsker

    Thank you, Annie! It’s a very interesting story. Pictures are great as well. Enjoyed it very much!

    Reply
  4. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    Beauty, graciousness and love found best in Italy……..

    Reply
  5. Candace Utroska

    Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures and write up. I almost feel like I have been there.

    Reply
  6. Susan Senise

    How beautiful! Anne really knows how to write an interesting story! She makes you feel like you are there!

    Reply
  7. Mary Cappiello

    Anne—The pictures that accompany your postings always illustrate your commentary so well, and make us truly wish we had been with you and Pino to witness this traditional celebration. Keep these articles coming, please!

    Reply
  8. Jack Litewka

    What a wonderful event! Makes me VERY h-u-n-g-r-y. But the real question is: Where is the recipe that Pino squeezed out of the cook?

    Reply
  9. Sally Walters

    A feast! For the eyes and the mouth! How I wish I could have been there! Love seeing Pino in the photos too!

    Reply
  10. Anne Robichaud

    Mairin, after the festa, come flowers are dipped in wax by the person who made them..in order to keep the bouquet permanently. Some are carried into the crypt where St. Urbano is buried in his church. Often, very elderly women make them but then a lovely young relative is chosen to carry the basket – after the festival, the bouquet goes to the elderly flower artisan.

    Reply
  11. Suzanne and Jack

    Dear Anne
    Your description of the festival together with the fabulous photos makes us feel as if we were there with you. Thank you for sharing. Your passion for the people is immeasurable

    Reply
  12. The togetherness, love, and community is so amazing! What a beautiful piece. I love how the generations are together, hand in hand, working on the same project together. Loving and enjoying the same place and time together. A common bond. Also wonderful is the way the towns open their arms to visitors, sharing their history, their food, their wine, their table.

    Reply
  13. Ann Krapf

    Hi Anne,

    Beautiful pictures and descriptions as always. Thank you

    Reply
  14. Anne Ladky

    Amazing! What an extraordinary celebration. Once again, your description is so vivid and engaging–and focused on the people, not just the event. Next best thing to being there. Grazie, Anne–loved this note!

    Reply

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