Ferragosto, the equivalent of midsummer in Italy, is just around the corner. On the 15th of August, everything stops in Italy as they celebrate the major summer holiday that coincides with the Catholic celebration of the Assumption of Mary. However, what’s the story behind Ferragosto? How did it start?

Let’s find out…

The Origin of Ferragosto

Ferragosto comes from the Latin word Feriae Augusti which means the “resting day” of Augustus. It was a holiday in the Roman era instituted by Augustus, known as the first Roman emperor from 27 BC until his death in AD 14, that was connected to the Consualia festivity. Consualia were days to celebrate the end of the agricultural work season dedicated to Conso, the God of earth and fertility, in Ancient Rome.

Originally, Ferragosto occurred on the 1st of August when horse races were organized all over the empire, the work animals were allowed to rest, and the workers wished their masters good luck and received a tip in exchange. Further on, in the VII century, the Catholic church moved the date of Ferragosto to coincide with the celebration of the Assumption of Mary on the 15th of August. Still, today we celebrate Ferragosto on that date.

During the period of fascism, the regime started to organize and subsidize low-cost outings by train for the lower classes to visit other towns and destinations, the so-called Treni popolari di Ferragosto. People had the possibility to travel 100 km per day for 3 days surrounding Ferragosto or take one longer trip of a maximum of 200 km for three days. The initiative lasted from 1931 to 1939. It was in connection with this initiative that the concept of bringing a packed lunch with you also took form. No meals were included or subsidized and therefore people started to bring food with them on their outings. Some see it as the first step towards organized mass tourism.

Today, outings to the countryside, the seaside, the mountains, or some other destinations are normal on Ferragosto and also during the rest of the year, with or without packed meals.

Ferragosto today

Nowadays, Ferragosto is a day to spend with family and friends either having lunch together at home or going to the mountains or the seaside or similar together. Beaches and restaurants are packed with people, and it is often difficult to find a place if you have not booked well in advance. The week of Ferragosto is busy tourism-wise! Still, it is a holiday when you try to spend time together with the people you love, having fun together.

4 Fattoria di Montemaggio Wines to Pair with Ferragosto

An Aperitif on the Beach with Cielo di Montemaggio

Whether at lunch or to sip on at aperitivo time, it is always good to have a chilled Cielo di Montemaggio Cuvée Brut close at hand. Pop open a bottle of this Chardonnay brut sparkling wine together with your friends while you are relaxing at the beach. Perhaps while watching the sunset. It has a refreshing acidity and lovely notes of Granny Smith apples and other green fruit.

Share a Glass of Rosé di Montemaggio in the Mountain Hut

After a long day’s hike in the mountains, a glass of Sangiovese rosé is perfect to get your energy back before dinner time. Be sure to chill it to the right temperature, namely 8°- 10° C. Pair it with some lighter snacks such as bread, cold cuts, and a piece of cheese while you chat and laugh with your hiking friends.

Dinner Time with Chardonnay di Montemaggio or Chianti Classico Riserva di Montemaggio

Depending on if you are by the seaside or in the mountains (or countryside), and eating fish or meat, the choice of wine, of course, changes. A dinner with mainly fish dishes calls for a fresh Chardonnay wine with wonderful floral notes as well as tropical fruit, spices, and a smooth touch of honey. The Chardonnay juice has undergone fermentation and then also matured in tonneaux and barrique, which gives it that extra bit of pizzazz.

For those of you who will spend Ferragosto in the mountains, and enjoy a dinner based on meat dishes, then a Chianti Classico Riserva would be a perfect choice. This is a Sangiovese wine with a small addition of Merlot (usually less than 5%) that is made with a selection of the best Sangiovese grapes from the oldest vineyards on the property. It is an elegant and mineral Chianti Classico Riserva with notes of red fruit, violet, spices, and forest floor, and with a rich and smooth taste on the palate. The tannins are well-balanced. Currently, the 2015 vintage is available on the market.

Which wine would you choose for your Ferragosto festivities?


Written by Katarina Andersson.

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