Codiponte's Sagra dei Pomi 2017...
A sagra is a village's wonderful excuse to eat & drink... in public. Dance too. A festival of local food & wine. Ballroom dancing. To attract folk, a village will choose some specialita' della cucina loro, promote the heck out of it with posters, facebook posts and by word of mouth and set to work mounting what all is needed: kitchens, eating pavilions, fun & games. The bill of faire? There are sagras for pattona, anguilla, polenta, salsicce, funghi, trippa!!!
Codiponte's sagra, Sagra dei Pomi, is always the first weekend in September and is one of the oldest around. Locals use the word antique. Could that mean pre-1960's? The title equates to an apple festival. Rondinella... Rondei in dialect... is the candidate for the festival's apple. Apple cakes, apple tortes, apple strudel, apples frittes, bags of apples. Just mele could be dire to the palate so, polenta con salsicce e pomodori, grigliata di carne al'asado, minestre di faggioli, etc. are also on the menu.
Historically, the Sagra dei Pomi was mounted in the village's charming & intimate piazze. Borgo del Castello di Codiponte above to the main piazza below graced by the WWI Monument to the Fallen. Bunting and string lights marked the avenues to walk, climb, amble or sit and enjoy grilled meat served on a plastic plate and sip vino nero from a plastic cup. But who cared about plastic? Big long wooden tables filled with neighbors & friends, hang out with a beer, while someone would pull out an accordian and play canzone partigiane to the accompaniment of all present. This 'till the wee-hours of the morn. Fantastic. And surrounded by the history of the village in stone and wood and brick.
Then, the earthquake in June of 2013 put a stop to that. That year, the sagra was hosted on the driveway to the volunteer ambulance service and for which any earnings are dedicated to. People came. The sagra moved to the dusty parking lot below the Medieval bridge the following year, 2014, and the town updated the facilities after being bludgeoned by the Health Dept. New, spiffy white tents were purchase, kitchens too. They garnered a patina of dust from the crowd. The novelty for 2015 & 2016 was the local olive press was pressed into service as another posto di restoro for eating & drinking. No dancing. The dusty parking lot crowd got that concession. A bone of contention too. There's a bit of envy and controversy between the rione of the village, the quarters. Once a division of seven or eight rioni, the sagra now consists of only two... Borgo Castello and the rest. However, this division is arranged among families, families with potere, families attached to those with potere, etc. You don't buck the Chiefs. The Big Chiefs are the rest. I stay out of it. My only participation is to eat & drink... and sometimes dance.
Talk last year was to return to the old plan. Back to the village. Old times, good times. Home. Nope. The potere that be opted to host the sagra for 2017 in Codiponte's church's newly built recreational park. Less dust. Much less dust. Has a fake well but one can play soccer without breaking a leg. Dancing requires a wood platform. It's there and is yellow... for safety.
Someone asked me how the prep was going for Codiponte's sagra and what it will be like this year. I let pop out... and with a no-holds bared neglect to what I was saying... that this year's will have all the charm of an Autogrill. Mean. True. I apologize but only to a point. There are so many sagras on the calender every Summer here in the Lunigiana. Takes nothing for a group to just follow the Health Rules. The consequence is all the real & local tastes, flavors and fun of a village sagra are squeezed out to the priority of Rules & Regulations. It's about the same to drive to the nearest grill on an autostrada. There's something to eat and lots of people. Same bill of fair. Same effect. However, you can't dance at an Autogrill or someone might call the Carabinieri on ya'. So, it's Sagra dei Pomi 2017.