Celebrate Umbria's Gold
The Spellani claim that their olive oil is the best in the world. The hills that surround the town are the perfect elevation, and perhaps their trees are just charmed, but one thing is for sure—the people of Spello sure love their olive oil. They use it as a beauty product, they use it as medicine, and no dish is complete without a liberal swirl of the fruity, peppery, oil. At the time of the harvest (usually December) Spello celebrates olive oil in a three day festival. There are stands of roasted chestnuts and new wine that are handed out to all takers, roving bands of musicians, and best of all, a parade. A parade of floats, each with an olive tree festooned with items meaningful to the growers harvest. Along with the decorated tree, some floats have schoolchildren singing harvest songs that go back generations, some have musicians, some have people handing out vin brulee (a warm, spiced wine) or bruschetta (as a revered source of calories from Spello's poorest days, the festival also honors the glory of oiled toast). And before the parade begins, at the top of Spello (Vallegloria), you can find old men standing in a circle singing bawdy songs (judging from the laughter), people grilling sausages, and people at tables eager to hand you a sample of fabulous foods based on old Umbrian recipes. It's a festival you'll never forget.
06038 Spello PG, Italy