VideoNote: La Ruzzola del Formaggio

March 6, 2014 / Events
Pontelandolfo, Campania

(THIS IS A NEW VIDEONOTE! – SEE BELOW)

Every year starting late January in the province of Benevento in Campania an unusual and wonderful activity takes place. Like bees honing onto a flower, the men of Pontelandolfo flock to the main square every afternoon until the end of Carnevale. Proud and defiant, they challenge one another individually and in groups to a grueling contest of… la ruzzola del formaggio! (literally the rolling of the cheese)

Of course, this game was once much more diffuse throughout the Apennines. However in some places despite ‘modernity’, or maybe even in order to make a statement against some aspects of it, old habits die hard.

La Ruzzola is a tradition dating back at least 3000 years, as immortalized in the Etruscan Tomba delle Olimpiade (Tomb of the Olympiads) in Tarquinia. Played nowadays almost exclusively by farmers and stonemasons who, during the winter months have more free time, the men show off their strength and prowess by hurling these huge forms of cheese, some weighing up to 35 kg (77 lbs.)!

(THIS IS A NEW VIDEONOTE! – SEE THE VIDEO BELOW THIS FINAL PHOTO)

ruzzola3

Come with us to see the “boys” play the Ruzzola in Pontelandolfo!

Third in our new series of original VideoNotes
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La Ruzzola del Formaggio

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Barbara Goldfield

by Barbara Goldfield

Owner of “Savour The Sannio”, www.savourthesannio.com, a travel consultancy for central and southern Italy.

6 Responses to “VideoNote: La Ruzzola del Formaggio”

  1. So this is what the cheese rolling story was all about…My cheese professor (University of Gastronomic Sciences) once told the class about nearly being flattened by a rolling wheel of cheese, which makes both a funny and bizarre picture. He mentioned some sort of festival, but your note describes it better.

    Reply
  2. louise

    Super, Barbara! How great to see the action of these oldsters. No depressed retirees here. Also heartening to see younger men at it. The tradition lives on and thanks for the special Note. Loved the view of the countryside, too. Can’t wait to get back!

    Reply
  3. louise

    PS: Do these men own the cheese, or are the wheels just borrowed for the occasion and go back to the cheese maker for more curing? Has a wheel ever cracked open?!
    Bet it’s great cheese.

    Reply
  4. Lin Blohm

    Being of Italian background I just love these old traditions. I also can’t wait to visit
    Italy again. Thanks for your lovely articles.

    Reply

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