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Festa della Zucca!

In English, today’s title means “Pumpkin Festival!” About a week after we arrived here, my husband forwarded me an email telling us about a weekend away to check out a pumpkin festival and a winery with some of the families in his squadron. Eager to meet people and travel, I immediately wrote back and said we’d be there. Then I quickly made my reservation at the place everyone was staying at.

It was a few days later when I realized what I committed myself to: a pumpkin festival. A festival celebrating the pumpkin. Pumpkins. One of my least favorite foods. Awesome. I didn’t want to be the Debbie Downer of the group, so I pushed my pumpkin woes aside and got excited for the trip.

After we checked into our hotel (Al Picaron in San Daniele) we all enjoyed a leisurely lunch and headed to the festival. We were told parking would be horrific and that we should be prepared to walk quite a bit. Since we had never been there before, we wanted to see what we were in for before parking, so we drove to the actual location first. We were about to turn around and go park a mile away when I saw a giant parking sign right next to the entrance! SCORE! We had an awesome parking spot right in a moat! 

took this picture at the end of the day…hence no sunlight! We parked allllll the way at the end.

The festival itself took place within the massive medieval walls of Venzone, and people flocked to attend. I got a kick out of seeing nobles, knights, ladies, jesters, fortune tellers, merchants, and common folk walking around in their old-fashioned period garb. They even had a giant “head table” in the center of town. It was a very fun atmosphere. 

I’ll do better with pictures of people next time!

I bet you are all wondering about the food. Here’s the thing about foods I don’t like. I’m willing to try, try, and continue trying them again. Sometimes it just takes one time to try something again before I like it. Except for menudo. I will never, ever, try that again. 

I started my pumpkin adventure the only way I could justify trying pumpkin: in liquid form. As in, a shot of pumpkin liquor. Hey, if I was going to chow down on a food I don’t particularly like, I may as well relax and enjoy myself a little bit!

Yup. I chased the sweet shot with some beer. Like a champ.

Well, it turns out that pumpkin liquor wasn’t too bad. I also tried a pastry filled with pumpkin (too sweet, but not overly “pumpkiny”), pumpkin bread that was more like a regular bread roll with a hint of orange pieces in it (again, it didn’t taste like the pumpkin bread we’re used to), and then I tried pumpkin pizza. Oh man, it was good. The sauce was made up of pureed pumpkin and it added a perfect amount of sweetness to partner with the salty ham. Molto benne, indeed. 

I used my Italian and asked to take a photo of them. Then, at the last minute he moved the piece of bread! Shoot! I didn’t know how to ask to take another one of them in Italian and they didn’t know any English. Oh well.
This pizza was so good. It was HUGE, too!

When we got the pizza we also decided to try some pumpkin beer, but they were out of the small bottles by the time we got there, so we forked over the dough and got the big bottle. I had a few sips and Kenny drank the rest. I drove home, don’t worry! As for its taste? It tasted like beer. 

All in all, it was a really fun festival. My husband will be deployed next year and possibly the year after, so I’m happy we got to enjoy this together. Here are some more random photos from that day: 

We never did try that gnocchi. Maybe next year…

They had live music playing all day.

So pretty!
Just looking at this un-railed stairway again gives me anxiety!

I need to work on my pumpkin-carving skills for next year!

So there you have it, our first pumpkin festival! This also marks the second food festival I’ve attended, so I can almost cross that category off my 101 list!


  1. What a great post! I love pumpkin though. 🙂 If your husband gets deployed will you be alone in Italy or will you move back to the USA? You are one brave woman!

  2. So so so so SO jealous! I would kill to try that pizza and beer… you should have invited me, I would have brought Oma's pumpkin bread. You know, all the way from another continent. No biggie. HAHA!

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