It’s one of the oldest grape festival in the Lazio Region and one of the most beloved. It dates back to the 20’s when the beautiful and sweet wine grapes of Sgurgola where sent all over Europe.
At that time there was a trade that has disappeared today, that of ‘ncestratrici’ (women who put grapes in baskets). These were women who were going through the vineyards to select the best grapes, put them in baskets that they adorned and took them to the station from where they rode by train.
The baskets were all strictly made in Sgurgola, with reeds or wicker. This tradition still exists and, during the Grape Festival in September, you can see the work of craftsmen engaged in making these baskets.
As was customary, during the harvest the women sang and had their music that told their story. One of these stories was music recovered by a popular music group that has recovered the Ciociarian traditions presenting them in new and engaging way.
The Festival of Grapes in Sgurgola was created in the 20’s to promote local products and in a pagan way, celebrate the harvest. It had two interruptions due to World War II and the period of heavy industrialization of the valley that had depopulated the countryside.
For some years it has returned due to ‘popular demand’, as a way to rediscover the traditions and imagine a future with roots in the past. In Sgurgola they are replanting the vineyards, the famous ‘Sgurgola donut‘ has returned, they make baskets and sing songs of ‘ncestatrici.
And in the three days of celebration , everyone can enter the world of Ciociarian traditions where, accompanied by accordions and bagpipes, poets and singers will compete with lewd ditties that are not open to interpretation.
If you are not Ciociarian you may not understand all the verses, but the looks of the people will be more expressive than words, and the fun is guaranteed.
The festival takes place on the days of the last weekend of September in the streets of the center of Sgurgola. Three days of music and folk dances, traditional food tastings.