Medieval Festival in Motta

Last week I got home from a gym class and found Elliott and Lena playing on the bed.

“Do you want to go out for dinner?” he asked.

Out for an Italian meal?  Yes!  Sure.  Always.

So we strapped Lena’s car seat into the veterinary clinic’s government vehicle and headed for the nearby town of Motta Sant’Anastasia.  It’s about a 10-minute drive from the base and is also where we’ve decided to live.  We signed our lease last week!  Do you see the castle tower on the cliff?  Our house is about 20 yards away from there and is built on the edge of the cliff.

In Motta, we went to a restaurant many of our friends have recommended: Pizzeria Donna Fortunata.  At 7pm, the place was empty.  Italians eat closer to 9pm.  We loved their table wine, which was 2 euro for the little glass jug on our table (0.25L).

Elliott ate Penne alla Norma, the traditional Sicilian dish: penne pasta with tomato sauce, eggplant, and a sprinkling of salty ricotta cheese.  I ordered their Sicilian pizza: tuma cheese topped with olives, onions, and anchovies and baked in a wood-fired pizza oven.  (Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of the food, guys… next time!)

 We left the restaurant just as the sun was setting over Sicily.

That evening, August 11, was the start of the Medieval Festival in Motta.  Every four years this annual festival is especially large and elaborate.  We found ourselves in the midst of the celebrations and merrymaking in the town’s central piazza, about a 5-minute walk from our house.

We walked through the narrow streets to our house.

And then we saw our house!  Can you see the edge of the door at the end of that driveway?  It’s down the stairs (which you can’t see); the castle is just to the right in this picture.  The man and woman are grilling pigeons for part of the Medieval Feast:

We wandered around the town as local residents hurried to and fro in the narrow cobblestone streets dressed in medieval garb.  They had constructed all sorts of structures for the feast, including a catapult (I don’t think they were planning to use it), long tables and benches for the feasting, booths for selling Sicilian baskets and jugs of wine, and entire arches and towers, like the one behind Elliott in the photo.

We walked back near the castle for the start of the parade.  With a flourish of trumpet fanfare, the procession began.  Leading the way were a group of bagpipers, and following them were a crowned king and queen, juggling jesters with a rattling wooden cart full of tricks, bare-waisted dancing ladies, and a group of flag-throwers in green-and-yellow tights.  They marched down the cobblestone streets towards the main piazza, where they met up with another neighborhood’s procession in red-and-black tights with wooden swords.  The green-and-yellow entourage represented our neighborhood, and thank goodness because they were cooler anyway.

Lena was so good through it all, despite the festivities going on waaaay past her bedtime.  Lights, colors, music… happy baby!  Can’t wait to watch her toddle down these streets in Motta as she grows up.

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3 Responses to Medieval Festival in Motta

  1. Autumn August 16, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    The pictures are so wonderful!! You look like such a Midnight Beauty in the last one

  2. lucyanngreen6 August 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    It’s so storybook and colorful; amazing!

  3. esther. August 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Oh my gosh! This is so amazing. You guys are going to cherish this Italian experience forever!

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