The "Country festivals" (Italian: Feste Campestri) of Cortina d'Ampezzo were six summer events where you could eat, drink and have fun. They were one of the most awaited appointments of the summer, both by residents and tourists.
... are temporarily suspended...
At the moment, for variuos organization problems which we will discuss in more detail below, the "Feste Campestri" are suspended, however we are waiting for updates and we'll correct the page, with the lastest news, when the country festivals will resume regularly.
But what exactly were the six "Country festivals" for Cortina? They were six town parties, organized by the six different Districts of Cortina (italian: Sestieri di Cortina), in which the town is divided, which today have practically only folkloric value. Each district had set up its own country festival within its borders, so they all taked place in different locations.
... The purpose wasd to promote folklore and sporting activity...
The importance of country festivals was volunteering. All the people you'd see working, plus all those involved in assembly, disassembly and organization, does it for free. The purpose of these activities was to promote folklore and sports activities. All the money earned during the festivals were in fact used to pay for the sports activities of children and young people of the district, such as cross-country skiing courses or the soccer tournament. Currently each district is organizing to find alternative methods of sustainment.
Organizing these activities each district involves its young citizens, creating a group of friends who practice outdoor activities together and that, growing up, hopefully will help in the organization of future country festivals and events. This system has been going on for many years and works quite well.
If you'd like more information about the activities of the "Sestieri" and what their purpose is, we have written an article about it, you can find it below:
If you'll go to any of the events organized by the "Sestieri", and you'll have to wait a few minutes, remember: those who are working are not professionals, but people who are there for free to help their district.
By eating a sausage or a sweet, or drinking a beer, you'll allow a child to take, for example, free ski or soccer courses, so please be patient if we'll not be as fast and organized as a professional catering would be.
... every "sestiere" was specialized, proposing a different typical dish...
The dishes offered were the classic ones of the village festivals, such as "polenta", sausage, melted cheese, chips, beer and wine. Over the years, however, each district had specialized, offering a dish that distinguished it, such as the famous fartaies, a sweetness of "Alverà" district. Let's go now to see each country's festival in detail, in order to understand what were the characteristics that distinguished it.
The town festival
The summer of village festivals begins on the first Sunday of July, with the village festival (italian: Sagra d'Ampezzo), a typical event with stalls all along Corso Italia. During the festival representatives of the various districts compete in a series of sporting events, including "the running race of the districts" (dialect: "Ra Corsa dei Sestiere"), the Stump Saw and the tug of war. The town festival is actually held, as it is not subject to the restrictions associated with country festivals.
All these events take place in Corso Italia and in the main square of the town, where there is also a kiosk where the participants and fans of the competitions will celebrate until late in the evening.
Once the village festival is over, in the past, the country festivals taked place every weekend, starting with the "Azon district".
Country festival 2023
We want to provide an up-to-date page, so we asked the association how they plan to organize for the future. The answer was lapidary: the country festivals were initially suspended because of the stop caused by the Covid epidemic. To date they have not yet been able to restart, mainly because of the security problems of organizing such large events in conjunction with an event like the 2026 Olympics.
The "Sestieri" had struggled for months to find a solution that would follow in detail the regulations on hydrogeological and logistical safety. In 2022 the only solution found was to reduce the 6 events to one big August festival in locality "Fiames", but the space identified was assigned to the heliport of the mountain rescue. The news came as a bolt out of the blue, forcing the "Sestieri" to cancel the festival at the last minute. Fortunately, the new municipal administration did not remain insensitive, and the issue was discussed with those in charge.
The commitment for the future has been made, and efforts will be made to find a solution so that the country festival of all the sestieri united will be proposed again. It's a different story for the festivals of the six individual sestieri. We are quite sure that this is not a definitive stop, but a break that could last a few years, the spirit is still strong, we just need to be able to get organized.
So, as you may have guessed, it's just a matter of having a little patience. We promise that we will update this page with whatever news arises, as it is a topic we are particularly devoted to.
Country festival of Azon
The festival of "Azon" has been held for years on the penultimate Sunday of August, but recently it has been decided to change the date, moving to the weekend immediately after the village festival and thus becoming the first country festival in Cortina.
Considering that the district of Azon is one of the smallest and that tourism has not started yet, this was one of the most rustic festivals, but this also maked it very appreciated by the residents.
The "blackbirds", in italian "Merli" is what the inhabitants of Azon call themselves, because their flag is represented by a blackbird. They are a very close-knit group and are also great party-goers, so they knew how to organize a party.
The specialty of the sestiere was the Nigele, a delicious "kind of" spherical pancake cooked at the moment, so that at certain times you may have to wait in long lines to get a plate. In the week of carnival it is possible to eat them at a small kiosk in front of the "Cooperativa".
The festival, from year to year, was organized in different locations, according to the organizational needs. The last edition was celebrated in Son dei Prade, a place that can be reached only with a car, but with a rather large parking lot in the same square as the festival.
Country festival of Cadin
The country festival of Cadin has been, for many years, the opening festival of the Cortina's country festivals, so it was one of the most popular among the lovers of country festivals, thanks to a kiosk at the entrance of the festival that was a magnet for the thirstiest.
As said above, the festivity of Azon has moved, becoming the first one, but Cadin maintained an affective value for a great part of the population. The party was organized in the parking lot in front of the Bob Bar and was largely set up outdoors.
In addition to great burgers, Cadin was famous for its special freshly made apple fritters, in italian called: frittelle di mele. You could park on the nearby streets, or in the parking lot of the climbing gym, but probably the best choice was to take a walk from the center, because the distance was not so excessive and the parking places were not so many.
Cadin was, without any doubt, a party with a capital P if you like the kind of, where more than one person was captured by the kiosk and stayed to celebrate until late at night.
Country festival of Cortina
The country festival of Cortina was the one that taked place in a more central position. It was, in fact, set up in the "Via del Parco" parking lot.
It was a festival where many people went to eat, thanks to the convenience to reach it. The menu was structured with traditional Ampezzo dishes. As a specialty you could eat the Spätzle, spinach dumplings seasoned with melted butter and speck, as well as the classic chickens, sausages and vegetables.
The evening was accompanied by live music, beer and dancing. The dessert of the sestiere was the egg omelette with the marmalade. The party was very close to the center, making it quite easy to reach on foot, but if for any reason you had to take the car, in the immediate vicinity, there was the parking lot of the Revis gym, which is large, but not immense. It's not so obvious to be able to park in the immediate vicinity, also because the second large parking lot in the area was used to host the festival. There are, anyway, many other reasonably close parking places, such as the one of the elementary schools and the parking lot of the "Ex Mercato".
Country festival of Chiave
The country festival of Chiave was generally built in locality Guargnè, near the dismissed swimming pool, even if some edition has taken place in locality Fiames for organizational reasons.
In this case the distance from the center, for those who moved on foot, could be a problem, so it was generally organized a shuttle bus for transportation on site. Among the gastronomic specialties of Chiave there are the tripe (italian: trippe) and the tirtlen, a disc of fried dough filled with spinach or jam, in addition to the classic dishes like roasted chickens, sausages and chops with polenta or bread. Of course, there was also a phenomenal kiosk for an aperitif, music and fun.
When the party taked place in Fiames the parking lots were abundant, when it was set up near the dismissed swimming pool, parking spaces were organized on the lawns nearby, so the country festival could be reached with a short walk uphill.
Country festival of Alverà
The country festival of Alverà was historically organized in the vicinity of "Rio Gere", on the "Tre Croci" pass. Given the distance from the center, a shuttle service was generally offered from the bus station.
Always very focused to the cuisine, the residents of the district of Alverà offered their guests various specialties, among which the pork fillet in a crust (italian: filetto di maiale in crosta) and the fartaies, a fried sweetness with an interesting shape, accompanied by blueberry jam. Ampezzo inhabitants and tourists were very greedy for the fartaies, as you would have see from the queue needed to take one.
The festival was organized in the month of August, so you'd find a large influx of tourists and passers-by. The parking lot is huge, so you won't have had any difficulty parking your car nearby. Due to some problems related to the road, the last edition of the festival was held in locality Fiames.
Country festival of Zuel
The country festival of Zuel was organized under the Olympic Trampoline "Italia". Considering that it was organized on the 13th and 14th of August, it was certainly the most heartfelt country festival for the guests of Cortina, that in that period were more numerous.
The dishes offered, without considering the usual grilled specialties, had the scents of the forest with mushrooms and fruits of the forest with whipped cream. There were also porchetta and a homemade pasta stuffed with red turnips, a very typical dish of Cortina, called "casunziei". It was also possible to find the "smorum", an egg and apple cake inspired by the Austrian kaiserschmarrn.
The party proceeded all night long with music and a dance floor. After a certain hour the die-hards moved to the kiosk until late at night. Zuel's country party concluded in the best way the tradition of country festivals in Cortina. Due to the large number of people, most of the time it was necessary to park in the parking spaces organized in the meadows of Zuel, and then walk a few minutes, slightly uphill, before reaching the festival. Generally a bus service was also available.
For sport lovers, two side events are still organized both at the former country festivals of Cadin and Zuel: two running races, The tour of the district of Cadin and El Siro de Pianozes.
The "tour of the district of Cadin" is an individual non-competitive 5-kilometer race starting at 6:30 p.m. from the stands of the bobsled track, while "El Siro de Pianozes" is a non-competitive running race of 7 kilometers starting at 9:30 am at the Olympic ski jump "Italy" in Zuel.
In both races the registration can be done on site up to one hour before the start. Please check the posters for the correct dates and times, as the organization could be subject to change.
We hope you liked this page on the country festivals of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Before saying goodbye, we would suggest you read all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'Ampezzo by clicking here.
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