Early Sunday mornings during the Roman Octobers of the early 1900s, families piled into horse-drawn carts, off to the countryside feasts! Known for their typical October weather, warm and balmy (even hot at times) they drew people to the big outdoors.
It was time to celebrate the grape harvest’s end! Because that, after all, was the reason for the Roman October feasts. Feasts of gnocchi, chicken, tripe, and mutton that the inn keepers were preparing since before the break of dawn. All ready to wash down with carafe’s of last year’s wine.
Because the whole purpose of the feasts was to finish off the old wine, making room for the new!
Where would they put the new wine if they didn’t first drink up the old? And Italians, who always love a celebration, found this a perfect excuse! And so spent the day eating and drinking. And playing games, like bocce, tumble and roll, and climb the greased pole. And of course no feast, whether in the countryside or the city, could ever lack singing, dancing, and story-telling.
The Roman October tradition has pretty much died off.
But around Rome you can still find agriturismi that hold Roman October feasts. So if you’re ever there in beautiful, balmy October, be sure to look for one!
But pay close attention! Because these days when someone says, “Ma che bell’Ottobrata romana!” – they are probably referring to the weather! Not an October food fest!
October weather is usually fantastic! Who doesn’t like 81°F (27°C) in mid-October?
[Image of Rome’s 7 hills ©TheScorziellos]