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Monte Amiata tradition and festivals
Christmas night in Abbadia San Salvatore
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Traditions and festivals

 

Tradition and festivals

The year calendar is full of feasts and popular traditions, that are as ancient and complex as the history of human life at the foot of the only volcano in tuscany . The yarly cicle starts with the Epiphany celebration, on the night between the 5th and the 6th january , which was once widespread all over the area and todat mainly remembered at Marroneto di Santa Fiora, Castell'Azzara, Semproniano and the villages of Saragiolo and Trecase, both in Piancastagnaio area. The celebration was held by groups of disguised men performing a begging chant: it was a meeting occasion and was also a food festival when pigs were butchered. Farces, satires and performances had celebrated Amiata Carnival for a long time, but are now diminishing their number. Today the most important still surviving celebration is the death of the Carnival on Shrove Tuesday at Marroneto. Holy week celebrations are often remarkable and centred around the importance of the olive thet is everywhere in amiata landscape. Sprinf festivals are closely related to nature and they represents centuries old men's tribute to soil fertility. In summer, thet is also the time for cattle and other important markets, the Palio is held in Tuscany. Among the many races of these kind held at the foot of Amiata, Castel del Piano Palio and Piancastagnaio Palio are worth seeing. Interesting are the medieval festivals at Abbadia San Salvatore ("the wealth offer"), at Radicofani and St. Lucilla and Flora Palio at Santa Fiora. In autumn, many celebrations linked to chestnuts take place in amiata area. Among them worth reminding the chestnuts festival at Campiglia d'Orcia, the autumn festival at Abbadia, the mushroom and chestnut festival at Val d'Orcia and several oil festival and "Crastatone" feast at Piancastagnaio. The year calendar closes with the fire and Christmas festivals, both of them of very old origins. Remarkable are also the big torches celebration (that, to be true, are impressive bonfires) along the streets of Abbadia San Salvatore on Christmas eve. The Charcoal piles ("carboniere") lighted at Santa Fiora on 30th Decemberin the evening have almost the same meaning. They are accompanied by a graceful torch-light procession that has become over the years a sort of initiation ceremony.

(The bonfires of Abbadia San Salvatore at Christmas eve)

 

(The chestnut festival in Piancastagnaio. 1st november)