Food & Folklore, A Year of Italian Festivals by Lisa Vogele
Food & Folklore, A Year Of Italian Festivals
reviewed by Mark Billingsley
Though my wife and I are veteran and inveterate travelers, logging many miles and adventures in South and Central America, we have yet to cross the Atlantic to tramp the historic and mythical trails of Europe. An extended and extensive exploration of coasts and mountains of Italy is at the top of the list for our first transcontinental excursion. We dream of mountain biking the Dolomites, sea-kayaking the Ligurian coast and boating the rapids of the Noce river in the Val di Sole. As exciting and fantastic as those adventures might seem, I now realize that we were selling ourselves short. Lisa Vogele has opened our eyes to a whole different kind of delightful adventure in the provinces and communities of Italy. Thanks to her, when we are not servicing our serious adrenaline addictions, we will be seeking out the local festivals and gatherings that Lisa describes in her marvelous new book "Food & Folklore, A Year Of Italian Festivals".
During our travels in Latin America we often found ourselves victims of the that terrible surfer's affliction known as "You should have been here yesterday... (last week, last month, this morning) when it was really going off!" We were constantly arriving somewhere to find that we had just missed the best festivals, entertainments, or natural events. (It is kind of annoying to pay $200 to dive with whale sharks and then they don't even bother to show up!) With Lisa's book we need never fear missing out on the best local events, festivals and celebrations. In Lisa's case it was only by happenstance that the festival in Montepulciano occurred during her two-day visit there, setting the stage for the discovery of a new approach to experiencing Italy and inspiring this fabulous book. It is incredible the amount of information and the sheer number of different events and various locales that Lisa was able to cram in this small volume. In "Food & Folklore" she presents the particulars of over 450 festivals, as well as details pertinent to attending the events and brief overviews of the history and geography of the many regions featured.
Lisa says it best herself, "I decided to write a book so that I could share my passion for these experiences with people looking to do something a little different. This guide is intended to provide you with the tools and tips necessary to incorporate local festivals in your travel planning. There are all kinds of of festivals to explore whether your a foodie, a history buff or an oenophile. My primary focus is on food and folklore..." Works for me!
If you are currently planning a trip to Italy this book is an absolute essential. If you are not, reading this book will probably inspire you to do so. It has inspired me to take our trip to Italy off of the bucket list and put it on the drawing board, to start thinking about all the multitudinous details that we need to consider to make it happen. When we do Lisa Vogele's "Food & Folklore, A Year Of Italian Festivals" will be packed right along with the passports and the plane tickets. Mark Billingsley