Ferragosto Is a public holiday for all of Italy. Emperor Augustus made the 1st August a holiday to reward agricultural workers after weeks of hard work. Centuries later the Catholic Church moved the day of festivities to the 15th August, the Assumption of Mary, to include it in the celebrations.
Just about everyone is on the move on Ferragosto, either going to or coming from holidays, heading for the beach or the mountains and gathering with friends and family. It is a good day to stay off the roads. Autostrade can turn into car parks and traffic jams are everywhere…and it is hot!
This year I was very lucky to be invited for lunch with friends in the hills behind Bagni di Lucca. The house is accessible by a road used by almost nobody, no traffic snarls for us.
You know lunch is going to be good when you can see a wood fired oven smoking.
The house is hundreds of years old and is hidden in a chestnut forest.
I love the huge flat rock dragged into the yard to be used as a table. I needs to be level before that happens.
The first delights to come from the oven were potato, herb and parmesan slices.
Home made pasta followed.
There was crunchy bread.
Roast chicken and ribs.
All the roasted vegetables came from the orto.
A vegetable tart appeared and quickly disappeared.
Next was a delicious fig and nut tart.
After lunch there was some serious resting and conversation…what a perfect way to spend Ferragosto. I feel very privileged to be included in these celebrations.
This summer has been very hot, especially in the last few weeks. The flowers on my balcony and on the bridge have been a big disappointment. The flowers are straggly and nothing I do seems to make a difference. The bees don’t seem to mind though. At least someone is happy with them.
I like to listen to podcasts and recently I was asked to be part of one. My friend Andrea Waterhouse is doing a series of podcasts about Lucca and invited me to chat with her about my thoughts on living in the area. The podcasts are called Life in Lucca with Andrea.
If you don’t have a podcast app you can listen on Andrea’s website…lifeinlucca.podbean.com