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Solomeo Medieval Fair

A nine-day, village-wide medieval street fair held every July sounds corny and is corny, in a good way, with falconry and weaving demonstrations, wine and grappa tastings, art exhibits, concerts, a photography competition, and stalls selling artisanal soaps and exquisite ironwork, like hinges and box locks. Any woman who lives in Solomeo and isn’t prepared to put on a long heavy velvet costume and headdress for the event and suffer the heat and look ridiculous is considered a bad sport. Many simply see the occasion as a good excuse to eat a lot of amazing food: sausage torte baked in the old communal bread oven, goose in porchetta, quadrucci (egg-pasta squares) sauced with chickpeas, panzanella (bread salad), formaggio di fossa (pecorino aged underground), and torcoli (the local biscotti) with vin santo. Some of the village grandmothers who cook for the fair also work in the Cucinelli canteen, where the young guy sitting next to you may be a buyer from Bergdorf’s. Or maybe he designed the pullover you just closed the deal on in the boutique. The subsidized price of a three-course meal is the same for everyone: $3.80. The pasta is often handmade, the meat wood-grilled, the desserts fatto in casa. Only in Italy.

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