Feasts and Festivals (Sagre and Feste)

These are outdoor events held in the clement months at the same time every year in particular locations. A sagra celebrates a local tradition or the season of a particular product (normally food), whereas a festa can have any theme.

There is a wall of posters beside Bar Neva in Cisano where you will find many of the upcoming ones advertised and they can often be seen advertised along the road to Albenga. The Castelbianco web site also lists events including feste and sagre, as does il portale della Riviera Ligure, and the weekly "Riviera" newspaper has a page devoted to them.

There is generally live music, and there is always food on a large scale - generally a range of local specialities prepared in an enormous tent or cabin. You eat sitting outside on a bench at one of the many large tables provided.

However, first you have to go to the cassa to get a ticket for every item you want. Actually, before that you will have had to look at the menu that will be displayed on a board somewhere (in Italian only of course!). Then you take your tickets to the appropriate counters one by one (if you can work out which ones they are) and in each case join a general melee with everyone unashamedly trying to get the attention of the people doing the serving.

Assuming that you survive all this without dropping your tray of food, you then go looking for somewhere to squeeze yourself in so that you can sit down and eat with your plastic knife and fork.

Obviously, the conditions are very basic but you will find that the food is always delicious - if you like that sort of thing. Now is the time to try any dishes that you have always feared - like tripe, maybe, or frogs (rane) or ventre (tuna guts) - because this is going to be as authentic and as cheap as it gets.

There is always a great atmosphere, and the whole occasion can be real fun, especially if you are in a group and you 'hunt as a pack'.

Castelbianco events are normally held in Veravo above Colletta. On these occasions you can't drive up to Veravo by the quickest route past Oresine because they make the road one-way. So you have to go down the hill, along and up the other way via Vesallo.

Cisano Sul Neva has a festa in mid August in which in addition to the normal food stalls there are numerous private cellars and 'tasting' rooms opened to the public in the streets (caruggi) leading down to the river. This is an unmissable experience!

Villanova d'Albenga has a similar event, but the food is served exclusively from numerous private premises in the narrow streets of the village, and you can get couscous and Chinese dishes, as well as food in various Italian regional styles - including local, of course. Again, don't miss this one! Bastia is another nearby village that has a festa of this style.

Caprauna (less than 30 minutes from Colletta via Nasino) has a lunchtime festa in early August where you collect and eat each course of your meal at a different place in the village!

Here follows a list (incomplete) of some of the events within striking distance of Colletta with dates based on the year 2004. They are normally repeated at round about the same time each year:

25 Wednesday Cisano sul Neva Festa du Scurottu

17–25 Sat-Sun Central Albenga Cip&Vip: Cuochi & Verdure In Piazza (festival of local produce)
25 Sunday Conscente, Cisano sul Neva Sagra della Fava

16 Sunday Cenesi Aromi e sapori di Liguria
23 Sunday Cisano sul Neva Festa delle cantine
23 Sunday Ortovero Mangiaspassu pè utuè
25-30 Tue-Sun Albenga,Piazza S.Michele Cip&Vip (gourmet lunch/dinner served in large tent)
28-31 Fri-Mon Peagna Festa di Nostra Signora delle Grazie
29-30 Sat-Sun Erli Sagra della trippa

4 Friday Alto Festa al Santuario della Madonna del Lago
4-6 Fri-Sun Veravo, Castelbianco Sagra della ciliegia
5-6 Sat-Sun Arnasco Olio, cibo, salute e .... benessere
5-6 Sat-Sun Ormea Terra di Tutti
6 Sunday Bastia Festa di Sant'Antionio
19-20 Sat-Sun Vendone A cuxina de vendun
24-27 Thur-Sun Campochiesa Sagra Gastronomica
25-27 Fri-Sun Leca Sagra di San Pietro
26-27 Sat-Sun Erli Sagra della polenta bianca e del coniglio
26-27 Sat-Sun Alassio, loc Fenarina Sagra du purpu e de sciurette

4 Sunday Cisano sul Neva Festa della birra
9-11 Fri-Sun Albenga, parrocchia Sacro Cuore A festa grande, sagra gastronomica e giochi
10-11 Sat-Sun Arnasco Sagra dell'olio extravergine di oliva
10-11 Sat-Sun Nasino Sagra della fritella
10-11 Sat-Sun Garlenda Meeting Internazionale Fiat 500
11 Sunday Veravo, Castelbianco Sagra del fritto misto di Campagna
15-18 Thur-Sun Albenga, loc Pontelungo Gastronomia pontelungo
16-18 Fri-Sun Albenga, Piazza Europea Festa dell'Unita
16-18 Fri-Sun Villanova d'Albenga Cantine cucina e musica
17-18 Sat-Sun Cisano sul Neva Festa della Birra
17-18 Sat-Sun Stellanello Festa di friscioi
17-18 Sat-Sun Arnasco Salsa sotto le stelle
18 Sunday Castelvecchio Stoccafisso in piazza
18 Sunday Caprauna Festa della semina della rapa
21-25 Wed-Sun St Giorgio d'Albenga Sagra du Michettin (fried bread)
21-25 Wed-Sun Pogli, Ortovero Sagra delle rose
23-25 Fri-Sun Vendone Festa della montagna
24 Saturday Cisano sul Neva Festa patronale di Santa Maria Maddalena
25 Sunday Garlenda Salsa e Salsa
25 Sunday Alto Sagra della patata
29-31 Thur-Sat Loano Sagra gastronomica
30-1 Fri-Sun Albenga, loc Vadino A Vain pe mangia ben
31 Saturday Garlenda Sagra dell'allegria

1-3 Sun-Tue Borghetto Santo Spirito Sagra alla melanzana
3-6 Tue-Fri Loano Sagra della trenetta
5-7 Thur-Sat Borghetto Santo Spirito Sagra dei zueni spurtivi
5-8 Thur-Sun Toirano Festa dei Gunbi
6-8 Fri-Sun Ortovero Sagra delle pesche e del vino pigato
7-8 Sat-Sun Andora Sagra gastronomica
7-8 Sat-Sun Alassio Una gnoccata piu che mai
8 Sunday Caprauna Pranzo per le vie: Festa della formagetta e del pan de ca
8 Sunday Veravo, Castelbianco Belin che serata
10-13 Tue-Fri Loano Sagra delle pesce
11-15 Wed-Sun Ranzi di Pietra Ligure Sagra del nostralino
11-15 Wed-Sun Cisano sul Neva Mezz'Agosto
12-15 Thur-Sun Albenga Festa dell'Unita
12-15 Thur-Sun Andora Festa dell'Unita
13-15 Fri-Sun Villanova d'Albenga Sagra delle dieci torri: A festa in ti caruggi
14-15 Sat-Sun Arnasco In festa con Cuba
14-16 Sat-Mon Stellanello Stellagosto
17-20 Tue-Fri Loano Sagra della trenetta
20-22 Fri-Sun Leca Sagra del budino della nonna
20-22 Fri-Sun Casanova Lerrone Festa del buon mangiare
20-22 Fri-Sun Ceriale Festa dell'arrivederci
22 Sunday Alto Sagra della formaggetta e 'carnevalalto'
26-29 Thur-Sun Bastia Sagra du burgu
27-28 Fri-Sat Andora Sagra dell'ortu
28-29 Sat-Sun Garlenda Sagra del pane fritto
28-29 Sat-Sun Lusignano Festa degli antichi sapori

3-5 Fri-Sun Casanova Lerrone Festa di S.Antonio
4-5 Sat-Sun Peagna Sagra dei Turchi
5 Sunday Nasino
7-12 Tue-Sun Salea Sagralea Rassegna del vino pigato
12 Sunday Caprauna Festa della rapa e del ritorno
19 Sunday Conscente Sagra di fine estate
25-26 Sat-Sun Erli Sagra della castagna

3 Sunday Alto Sagra della castagna e del tartufo nero
3 Sunday Nasino Castagnata
3 Sunday Peagna Castagnata
3 Sunday Garlenda Castagnata
3 Sunday Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena Gran Castagnata
10 Sunday Veravo, Castelbianco Festival della castagna
10 Sunday Ortovero Castagnata
17 Sunday Garlenda Castagne e polenta
17 Sunday Cenesi Castagnata (or the following Sunday if the weather is bad)
23-24 Sat-Sun Loano Castagnata
24 Sunday Caprauna Castagnata
24 Sunday Villanova d'Albenga Castagne in musica
24 Sunday Salea Castagnalea (or the following Sunday if the weather is bad)
24 Sunday Bastia Castagnata
31- ... Sun Finale Ligure Castagnata

... -1 Mon Finale Ligure Castagnata
5-6 Fri-Sat Colletta di Castelbianco Festa dell'olio
7 Sunday Cisano sul Neva Castagne e novello vino (or the following Sunday if the weather is bad)
24-28 Wed-Sun Oneglia, Imperia OliOliva - festa dell'olio nuovo