A Holiday about Nothing – AKA Buon Ferragosto!

15 Aug

Much to my surprise, I found out that today was essentially Christmas in August in Italy.  Yes, it’s Ferragosto, a national Italian holiday that is so important that Alessandro’s mother was surprised that we didn’t celebrate it in Canada, and absolutely EVERYTHING grinds to a complete halt.  And yet when I asked what the holiday was for, no one appeared to know.  I did a little digging to find that this revered holiday was started in Ancient Roman times to honour the goddess Diana, and was named after Rome’s first emperor, Augustus.  Some centuries later, the church managed to place its own veneer on the holiday, but today, Italians take it as a day to go into even greater vacation mode than the rest of the month, and apparently eat, and eat, and eat.

Shocked that I didn’t have the day off (working for a Swedish company), I was recruited for a 5 hour lunch with Alessandro and his mother (which resulted in me working until 10:30 PM).  It took them the better part of an hour to find a restaurant that would take us – everything was either closed or booked up.  Eventually we had to drive 45 minutes out of Rome to the shores of Lake Bracciano for a set menu meal in the vein of New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day, but it was worth it!



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