Ciao, Amici!
Italians are crazy about Ferragosto! They brave bumper to bumper traffic to go the the beach on vacation where they are supposed to enjoy nature and time a way from ‘crowded’ cities while resting and relaxing…. While this is an excellent idea, reality often turns out to be quite different!

In the meantime, the great Italian cities are wonderfully empty, a true paradise for tourists and ‘home bodies’. I grew up in Rome and my very favorite summer time was….Ferragosto in the Eternal City.  Have a look at the photo on your left and you will understand why. This is a street in the historical center of Rome. There is no one about and all stores and apartment windows are closed. Most of the Romans are away on vacation!  Why? You will learn how Ferragosto started and what it is today by reading  the short history of Ferragosto at the end of this post.

We are lucky to be living in beautiful Santa Barbara where IMG_2720you can do something wonderful to celebrate this ancient Italian holiday without going out of town. Just take a short drive to  Montecito’s beautiful Lower Manning Park for a FABULOUS FUNTASTIC  FESTA DI FERRAGOSTO!  You will not only have fun but, in doing so, you will also benefit our local students by helping us raise money for our Scholarship Fund. All for a good cause!

And while you are eating the delicious food, you will be entertained by live music!

And what about the food?  We have made a few changes which we are sure will delight you.

Image result for CaponataAfter the antipasti (appetizers) of caponata siciliana, a variety of Italian cheeses  and meat balls in tomato sauce, we will have as a secondo piatto (second course) our excellent tasty melange of barbecued chicken marinated with rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon and olive oil (the Italian way!) and our excellent grilled Italian sausages. Yum!

A variety of dolci (desserts) will follow. All of this accompanied by red and white wines, beer, soft drinks and water.

We are sure that some of you might like a bit of activity after the “pranzo” to burn off excess calories, so our Games Committee is organizing  bocce games for good fun and comradeship.

Italians are big on families so we would love local families to participate.  As in the past, this event is open to everyone, “grandi e piccini” (adults and children)!

Interested? Here are the details to reserve and pay:

 Sunday, August 18, 2019
Time:   12:30 pm 
                               Place:  Area 9, Lower Manning Park, Montecito                                  (off San Ysidro Road, across from Montecito Union School – look for signs and balloons)
Cost:    $29/adults
$8/children (5-12 years of age)   
Children under 5, free. 

               Want to bring your special wine? NO Corkage fee!


DEADLINE TO RESERVE:  Wednesday, August 14th, 2019


QUESTIONS:  please call Bill Vollero at 805-969-7972.


BY CHECK – Please click on this link for a downloadable, printable  RSVP form;

BY CREDIT CARD – For adult tickets, select the first option, click on the yellow button and follow directions.
Should you want both adult and children ticket(s), buy adult tickets first by clicking on the yellow button.  If the children option is not listed in the PayPal page, click on “back to shopping” (right upper hand side of your screen) which will take you back to our post.  Select then the second option, Children $8.00,  click on the yellow button and follow directions.

Adults, children


August is when all Italy, or so it seems, stops working to celebrate.

What we Italians are celebrating on August 15 is actually quite interesting because this festa has elements of both the Roman and the Christian worlds. First proclaimed by the Emperor Augustus in the year 18 BC,  the feriae Augusti (the Holidays of Augustus) originally lasted for all or most of the month of August, month that was so named in his honor.

It was a time when everyone felt they could relax after the hard work of the harvest and, unusually, a period when the nobility mixed with the laboring classes. The Romans feted the gods of agriculture and the gods associated with the change of seasons.

Roman women feted Diana, goddess of hunting but also of maternity because of her association with the phases of the moon.  Along the centuries, the festival evolved from being a month-long event to an event celebrated in the second half of August and later became a one-day celebration especially due to the Christian celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary that falls on August 15th.

Yet in some parts of Italy there are echoes of the ancient, longer  celebration in the habit of closing down shops for a week or two.  “Chiuso per ferie” is what is written on the notices on the closed rolling shutters of the shops.  During the day, the center of many Italian towns are deserted as people gather in the countryside or at the beach with relatives and friends to celebrate. But the night is a different matter as in many towns and even in small villages fireworks will illuminate the sky.

If you are going to be in Italy during this period, it is always worth checking whether there will be a special Ferragosto celebrations where you are staying. It will be a lot of fun and something really special to remember!