Varallo Festival Alpaa July 2009 ~ Romancing Italy

Jul 18, 2009

Varallo Festival Alpaa July 2009

One of the highlights of the Valsesia summer is the Alpaa Festival in Varallo which began in 1977. It gets its name from a time gone by when the shepherds came down from the mountains to sell their products at the village markets. The festival runs from July 10 through the 19th, tomorrow being the last day.

It promotes the work of local artists in music, art, culture and tradition, folklore, sport and of course local food. There is something to interest everyone and more than 100,000 people visit during the 10 day program.

I went for the food and to check out the merchandise from the many booths that lined the streets.

Local restaurants such as La Barrique from Guardabosone participated, preparing dishes that are typical of Piemonte. Two restaurants paired up on an alloted evening to serve their specialties.

Street vendors

Parco d'Adda was filled with booths preparing simple dishes such as polenta and donkey, miacce, which is a thin crepe-like bread that is served with toma (local cheese) and choices of meat and trout. This is the place to go if you want to dance; a band plays every evening with polkas, tangos and waltzes. Too bad A doesn't like to dance.

Various musicians, such as Marco Carta from San Remo fame, woo the crowd each night. The very popular Pino Daniele gets to end the festival with a bang on Sunday evening. I expect there will be a very large crowd. We might even go....well, still thinking about that one.

Setting up for the night's concert

Wood carving is a tradition that goes a long way in the Alpine life and many artists displayed their intricate work. A museum was set up showing the work of Italian artist Lino Tosi and works from Gaudenzio Ferrari (who also contributed to the art work at Varallo's Sacro Monte).

One of the many booths that lined the streets

Merchants from all avenues had a booth and even Ducati took over one square displaying the model Stoner rides in the MotoGP.

A quiet street in the historic medieval center


  1. Bev, look like you've a nice life in Italy...travelling, drinking, eating, festivals..))
    Will add you to our blogroll.)!

  2. Hi Hans, thanks for adding me. That, I consider to be an honor.

    Here, life is all about eating and drinking so it is not hard to get caught up in it. And I am amazed at the number of festivals there are. So unlike America.


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