Friday, May 25, 2007

The Italian Festival

What perfect timing to find ourselves in Castleflorentino! Thursday began their "Canti & Banchi" Festival--which, we are still unsure of exactly what that is. (Perhaps a Tuscan version of the Apple Festival??)

As worn out as we were after our long day in Florence, Dani and I forced ourselves out of the hostel on Thursday night in order to go find out exactly what this festival consisted of. We assume it was the opening festivities as there was a parade taking place. It was led by drummers, which we could hear from the other side of town, and followed by many dressed in Renaissance attire--what can I say? I felt somewhat at home except for the lack of pirates amide the crowd.
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We had missed the front of the parade when we got into town, and hoping to see it and develop more of an idea of what the parade/festival was all about we followed the crowd to where we thought the drummers would be coming soon. We hiked it up an incredibly steep hill and all I could think to myself was, "I hate to imagine what Coach Washington would do if he ever got a hold of this place!" At the top the street somewhat widened in front of a church where a street in the opposite direction came at somewhat a "V" angle. We stood on some steps and waited for the parade to arrive and when it did they actually stopped this time. These flag men did a short performace while yelling out a chant we did not understand at all. In the center were what we are guessing were the "witches" which they tied up. It was kind of confusing and strange...but interesting at the same time.

The following night, Friday (our last night in Castleflorentino) we were pretty worn out, but wanted to get a second taste of the festival anyway, so we drug ourselves from the hostel. (You should have seen the obvious stares we received as we walked around town with our plastic cups of Chianti wearing our sweat it not a sin that they do not wear them in public? That honestly saddens me!!)
Anyway, it was quite worth coming out--stares aside! I felt almost like one with the community, aside from the fact I did not know what the celebration was about or anything that was being said. There seemed to be something fun and entertaining on nearly every corner, though, and ten times more people than I thought could be in the small town were filling the streets. Our main mission in coming out was to find the Pinochio show--because it was the one thing on the brochure that we understood! It turned out to be this older man (who was the spitting image of Gipetto (spelling??) himself) told the story of Pinochio. While I did not know his Italian version, it was still fun to watch him become so animated and seeing all of the children watching with great interest.

On other corners we found guy was having a great time with his wash board but our favorite had to be the trio that was similar to a barbar shop quartet... The three guys sang the most upbeat songs while nearly dancing as they played their fiddles and such...It topped it off when the short man in powder blue tux began playing his kazoo.
Wandering through the streets we also slipped past a lot of the food being served. I am still pretty disappointed that I did not stop and take a picture when we suddenly found ourselves staring in the face of a giant roasted pig--and when I say face, that is exactly what I mean!!

On another note... we have learned that Italian boys are quite the opposite of the Brits we came across--much more forward! Dani had a fellow follow her down the Florence street, hiking his bag with him while asking her question after question. Even after giving one word responses in a rather cold tone, he still decided that he "loved" her and was shocked when she did not feel the same way. In the mean time, back in Castleflorentino at the festival, Dani warned me to steer clear of making eye contact in a particular direction as I had a caught the eye of some fellow on a bench, so, of course, I did just as she has recommended. This, however, did not stop the guy. It was not long after that that I found the young Italian speaking words I could not understand in front of me. I simply smiled, shrugged and gave him the typical, "Sorry, I don't understand," back...when he realized I spoke English he simply smiled, muttered something else in Italian, then PINCHED MY CHEEK before walking away. Dani and I got quite a laugh out of it... We,re still not sure what to make of these guys. I suppose we should just take the advise of all of our guy friends from home and stay away from the Italian boys.
Florence was a great time, but having a chance to be a part of the small town festival made being 45 minutes from the main city completely worth it. That's not something you can usually sign up for in the tours.

1 comment:

Rachmo said...

Hey Rita,
Ha ha....I guess any of us Washington girls would have throught the same thing hiking up a steep hill!!

I bet that was really awesome being there for the festival!!!

You two and your italian boys....that's funny.

Well, gotta go read your other blogs and then study!!

Love, Rachel