We leave soon for Italy with several wonderful groups. Happily, this trip coincides with some great events in Orvieto. Palombella is held at Pentecost and will take place May 24rd. Then, in early June, there will be a week-long celebration of Corpus Domini. Through it all there will be parades of folks in medieval costumes, special dinners, food and medieval fairs, and much more. It is a sheer delight.
The special events and festivals held in Italian towns is one of the great charms of travel there. Often, you are surprised to come upon festivities you had no idea were taking place. Because festivals are so prevalent, it is not a surprise to run into one. Not a surprise, but certainly a joy.
Our trips in May usually coincide with Palombella. In our 13 years of leading trips to Orvieto however, we have only seen Corpus Domini twice. We are lucky enough to be able to see it again this year. I wrote about Corpus Domini in 2010 and you can read about it here.
The following pictures are from Palombella held a couple years ago.
During the celebration a pigeon is placed in a cage that slides from a church tower to a specially built structure housing numerous saints. When the pigeon arrives at the structure the saints’ heads light up. The pigeon is given to the first couple married in the church this year. Their job is to take special care of the pigeon.
One of our favorite restaurants in Orvieto is Palomba or pigeon. They have pigeon on the menu as do other restaurants. The pigeon was a staple during tough times and sieges of Orvieto. In one of the 1200 caves underneath the city you can see the roosting holes dug in the rock for the pigeons. They could fly out to feed during the day and return at night to nest. Meat and eggs in one tidy package!
Travel to Italy, take your time to wander, and you, too, may run into an unexpected treat of a festival! Viva slow travel.
Kristi and Bill Steiner began leading “learning vacations” to Orvieto, Italy in 2003. Through Adventures in Italy they provide a cultural immersion experience. Many trips include the pursuit of some kind of creative work that complements and reinforces exploration of Italy’s culture. Relationships built over the years enable Kristi and Bill to provide experiences that a typical visitor to Orvieto never gets.
Learn more about Kristi and Bill’s trips. Stay abreast of Adventures in Italy developments, and follow Bill’s musings about travel and Italy on his blog Make Haste Slowly. View Bill’s photos of Italy, Orvieto, and other memorable places at steinerstudiophotos.com, and follow him on Instagram.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.