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Chestnut festivals 2016

The indisputable queen of autumn is the chestnut, a food known for its versatility in the kitchen, which can be eaten alone, paired with sweets and salty foods, or made into a delicate flour.  The chestnut has been a sort of "bread tree" for centuries, a main food source particularly in the hills and mountains during times of war and famine.


The chestnuts known locally as "marroni" are different from common chestnuts because they are sweeter and have a stronger smell, the smell of the woods and its flavors, and it is larger in size; in fact the spiky outer shell holds at most two or three nuts.


In the woods in Emilia Romagna during this time of year, enthusiastic gatherers bring this nutritious product to the tables and stands of local town fairs.



In Castel del Rio (Bo), on every Sunday in the month of October, you can take part in the "Sagra del Marrone", the oldest fair in this town.  Restaurants and food stands will take on this theme, and visitors will be tempted to discover the items at the chestnut market, as well as the exhibitions and conventions, where history and culture blend with food. October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30.


Celebrating 52 years, the Sagra della castagna” in Montefiore Conca (Rn), in the hills just inland from Rimini, will invade the medieval downtown area with music, shows, food stands, a great market, cooked and raw chestnuts in abundance and a fountain of wine from which everyone can drink their fill.  For the occasion of the fair, the imposing Malatesta fortress in town, that overlooks the valley of the Conca river, will remain open for guided tours.  All around, there are dense woods and cultivated countryside to be visited, with the Riviera in the background.  These are just a few of the aspects that have made this town one of the "Most Beautiful Towns in Italy" (official recognition). October 9, 16, 23, 30.


The presence in the Valmarecchia of ancient chestnut groves is proof that the cultivation of chestnuts in this area has been around since the Middle Ages, thanks to the presence of monastic orders.  This long tradition has been revived in Talamello, in the heart of the Rimini valley, in honor of the sweet chestnut of Montefeltro.  Served in abundance here are boiled and roasted chestnuts, cooked over coals using the classic pan with holes, but also sweets and breads, first and second dishes made only with the main product of this area.  The festival continues with a traditional market with local products, an antiques and crafts market, painters and musicians performing in the streets, street music around town and dancing with a Liscio orchestra. October 9.

A great occasion to taste and buy chestnuts, and other typical local products in the Modena Apennines, is at the 39th Sagra della castagna held in Zocca.  The ancient fruit of these lands is protected by a special brand which has made Zocca famous as the "Land of the Chestnut", with a dedicated museum, the Museo del Castagno, which during the festival should definitely be visited.  In this area, the delicate dish “Ciaccio”, made with chestnut flour and served with ricotta, is quite typical.  There will also be entertaining shows, dancing and markets for visitors to enjoy the entire duration of the fair. October 9, 16 and 23.


Another delightful town that will celebrate autumn products is Casola Valsenio, just inland from Ravenna, for the occasion of the "Festa dei frutti dimenticati (Festival of Forgotten Fruits).  Here chestnuts will play the role of the basket for those fruits which were widely consumed in the past by country people and which over time have begun to disappear, such as medlars, Mediterranean medlars, Rowan fruits, filbert nuts, strawberry tree fruit, Cornelian cherries, walnuts, pomegranates, rose-apples, quince, and "volpine" pears.  One of four competitions on schedule at the fair will be dedicated to the sweets made with chestnuts.  The public is also invited to participate in guided tastings, tours and excursions, shows, book presentations and to discover the garden of herbs, the first in Italy and among the most important in Europe for its scientific relevance. October 8-9 and 15-16.

Sapori e profumi d'autunno" will also invade Casalecchio di Reno (Bo), which will be filled with chestnuts but also mushrooms, wines, “crescentine” (fried dough), “borlenghi” (a local bread) and many other regional specialties. You can taste the crunchy roasted chestnuts while walking among the colorful markets and entertaining shows downtown. October 14-16.

The chance to taste this delicious nut, accompanied by sweet vin brulé, can also be found by those spending their last weekend at the Riviera, where in the town of Gatteo there will be a "Little Autumn Party". October 30.


All of the autumn fairs and festivals in Emilia Romagna

Our classic chestnut based recipes:


Chestnut ,,ciacci"

Chestnuts and Beans Soup

Lasagne with Chestnuts

Chestnut Flour “Polenta” with Bacon and Sausage, served with Raviggiolo Cheese

Cream of Chestnuts

Raviole with Jam and Chestnut Filling

Gluttonous Chestnuts

Chestnut pie

Prunarolo Jam


Last modified Oct 10, 2016

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