Roman Summers & Ottobrate Romane

Autumn in Italy is a delightful time of year! Mostly warm and balmy – almost warm enough for sun bathing through the first part of November. They’re known as Italy’s Roman Summers, much like the Indian Summers we used to enjoy back in the USA. 

But since the early 1900s, the Roman summer has been the season for special harvest festivals! These feasts, called Ottrobate Romane, were held at agriturismi in the Roman countryside. Right in time for celebrating the annual grape harvest!

Early on Sunday morning, families piled into horse-drawn carts. Off to the countryside for harvest feasts! Roman Octobers were known for their fine weather, which drew people to the outdoors. It was time to celebrate the grape harvest’s end!

Grape harvest celebrations!

Feasts of gnocchi, chicken, tripe, and mutton that innkeepers started preparing before dawn. All ready to wash down with last year’s wine. Because that, after all, was the reason for the Roman October feasts. Where would they put the new wine if they didn’t first drink up the old?

And Italians, who always love celebrations, found this an ideal excuse! So they spent the day eating and drinking. And playing games like bocce, tumble and roll, and climbing a greased pole. But of course no celebration would be complete without singing, dancing, and story-telling.

The Roman October tradition has died off to a large degree.

But around Rome you can still find agriturismi that hold Roman October feasts. So if you’re ever in the Rome area during balmy October, be sure to look for one! Although Italy’s wine growing areas all hold harvest festivals. Always with delicious food and of course fine wine!

But in the Rome area, head out to the Roman countryside to find some of the likely places. Towns like Colli Albani, Castelli Romani, Rocca di Papa, and Frascati. Or Castel Gandolfo (which we found quite charming). You’ll be glad you did!

But pay close attention! Because Ottrobata romana” (What a pleasant Roman October!) — they are probably referring to the fantastic autumn weather! After all, who doesn’t like 81°F (27°C) in October or even November?

But pay close attention! Because Roman October can refer to either a food fest, or the warm autumn weather. Because after all, who wouldn’t like 81°F (27°C) in October or even November?

Images: Saltarella dance by Bartolomeo Pinelli | Cart by Salomon Corrodi.

6 thoughts on “Roman Summers & Ottobrate Romane

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Karen! I guess that’s what life should be. Bringing the best of the past into the presetn, while looking toward tomorrow’s blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

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