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VILLAGE FESTIVALS: LOCAL FOOD, LIVE MUSIC AND FROG RACES

Tuscan door and vine in Paganico in Southern Tuscany
 Paganico - off-the-beaten-path in Southern Tuscany

Towards the end of summer, Tuscany is getting ready for an endless parade of village festivals (often called SAGRE). With it being still early days for autumn's wine and chestnut festivals, Paganico starts the season with something quite different. The Sagra della Grannocchia is a festival dedicated to frogs, with the main event being a race in which participants push a type of wheel-barrow loaded with frogs - the difficulty of the race being that the frogs keep jumping off their carriage (and have then to be put back in). Therefore it's not just about speed but also about who arrives with the most frogs.

I know what you think - these people are weird. But surprisingly Paganico is quite a lovely village, off the tourist trail and with a fantastic gelateria producing some of Italy's best ice-cream

The town will sport a pageantry parade, live music and special activities for kids over the weekend, but the highlights of the frog festival are the dinners prepared by the locals and then - obviously - the hilarious race on Sunday. 


Friday 31st of August

19.30 Seafood only village dinner
21.00 Live music with "Le Ombre"
22.00 Concert with Vasco Rossi Tribute Band

Saturday, 1st of September

16.00 Paganico Olympics: games between the different village districts
18.00 VII° Raduno Auto Tuning (I don't have a clue, but it must involve cars)
18.00 Events for kids
19.30 Village dinner
20.00 Wanna Gonna Show street band
21.00 Live music with the "Giorgio Franceschi" orchestra
22.30 Concert with "Miwa" Rock Ska Punk & Fun Cartoon Cover Band


Sunday, 2nd of September
10.30 Medieval parade with presentation of the Palio (no, not the one from Siena)
11.30 Mass
12.00 Benediction of the 'wheel-barrows' with frogs (you wouldn't have thought so, but this is serious stuff)
12.30 Lunch
16.30 Medieval parade
18.00 RACE: XXXVI PALIO DELLA GRANOCCHIA
19.30 Village dinner
21.00 Live music at the park with "AgroDolce"
22.00 Concert with "BarbarossaStra├če" Rock 'n Roll Cover Band


On Saturday a market with artisan products will be hold. The Slow Food organisation will be participating and all through the festival there will be wine tastings, and stalls with local food produce. Last but not least, no Tuscan village festival would be complete without a Tombola.


If you're not particularly interested in frog races, great food and local wine can also be had in other corners of Southern Tuscany this weekend:
SANT'ANGELO SCALO: ORCIA A TAVOLA food festival
CANA: no wedding there, but la FESTA DELL'ACUACOTTA (l'acuacotta is a simple but yummy traditional Tuscan peasant dish)

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