Umbria… The green heart of Italy, besides mystic places and deep reflections, offers a range of ancient cooking traditions, niche and highly appreciated spelt, lentils, potatoes, sausages, local cheeses and … saffron.
The red-colour treasure that becomes yellow, many years ago called “croco” and now known as Saffron, wide spread on the fields of Città della Pieve, the town that organised the 3-day feast in its honour from 21 to 23 October. Tasty “homemade” pasta, cheeses and meats, and desserts, all with saffron. And beer, too. So, the party starts! Three days not to be missed for all lovers of taste and antique traditions, that can be discovered and touched with the seductive charm of saffron in hand. Used from the ancient times, this plant firstly was called “croco” by the Greeks, then by the Romans and even during the Middle Ages; the Arabs brought it to Spain and give it the current name, which comes from the Persian “safra” (yellow), passed in Arabic “za’faran” and then in Spanish “azafran”.
From the kitchen to the cloth, up to paints and cosmetics: the possible uses of saffron are different and fascinating, as well as the history of Asia Minor original spice. The plant is closly connected with the past of Città della Pieve, the beautiful town in the province of Perugia, that jealously keeps its red gold for many years: a strong and inseparable obligation to discover “Zafferiamo” from 21 to 23 October, the event sponsored by Municipal Administration and the Consortium “The Crocus of Pietro Perugino – Saffron of Città della Pieve A.Viganò” that every year celebrates the “The pure saffron threading Città della Pieve” in all its facets. Starting with the food, of course, with expert chefs who will explain to visitors the secrets of proper use of the spice in cooking, offering delightful tasting of the saffron scents, and the town’s restaurants will offer special themed menus; in the market, set up along the old town area, there will be exposed the local products, while the producers of the Consortium will offer all the variety of food products made with the precious spice: cheeses, meats, honey, beer, liquor, spirits, chocolates and other processed products. However, for Città della Pieve this spice is not just an agricultural product: the colour shades and the scents are intertwined with its history and its art.
During the three-day festival there will be workshops of cloth and yarns dyeing with the saffron, as well as intensive courses of embroidery for learning the particular technique of Perugino Point; It will be possible to participate in workshops of painting with watercolours to achieve all shades of red gold with the infused saffron.
On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 of October, in occasion of the spice blooming, starting at 9.30 am from Piazza Plebiscito, the visitors will be invited to the journey to discover the medieval urban mesh cloth of the town with the new urban zafferaneto, made by manufacturers in the old “Seminary Garden”; here, the experts of Consortium will explain features and production techniques in order to proceed to the collection of flowers, the buffing and drying of the product: so, all the stages from harvesting in the fields to the finished product will be showed. Saturday night, the sweet tooth will participate in the “Banquet of Corgna”, a Renaissance dinner in costumes that will reproduce the taste of the food of the 1500s in the underground halls of Palazzo Orca: a special event, a part of the celebrations of the fifth centenary from the birth of Fulvio and Ascanio della Corgna.
“Zafferiamo” also represents a good opportunity to discover the beauties of Città della Pieve, situated 500 meters high atop a hill overlooking the Val di Chiana and Trasimeno. Free municipality from 1228, under the protection of the Emperor Frederick II of Swabia, in the middle of the fifteenth century becomes famous thanks to its prominent son, Pietro Vannucci known as Il Perugino, who gave the city a series of priceless jewels: the fresco depicting “The adoration of the Magi” preserved in the church of Santa Maria dei Bianchi, and other works housed in the Cathedral of Saints Gervasio and Protasio and the civic-diocesan Museum housed in the former church of Santa Maria dei Servi. Not to forget the other jewels of the town like the Fortress and the Palace of Corgna. In the three days of Zafferiamo in Città della Pieve, the taste and the quality of products will intertwine and merge with its history and its beauty. Thus, walking around the city, among excellent points of tasting (ice cream, appetizers, desserts, sausages, all made using saffron) it will be possible to get to know the Laris Family (Etruscan remains, recently unearthed and exposed at the Diocesan Museum of Santa Maria dei Servi), to appreciate the medieval urban layout of the old town with its Vie dei Cavalieri and Vie dei Pedoni, to admire the civilization of La Corgna and the Renaissance fragrance, characterizing the town itself, up to contemporary art exhibited in the beautiful Palazzo Vescovile within the Kossuth Area.