The Country festivals of Cortina d'Ampezzo, in Italian "Feste Campestri", 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.
... they are temporarily suspended...
At the moment, for various 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.
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", the six districts that were in charge of organizing the festivals, had struggled for months to find a solution that would follow in detail the regulations on hydrogeological and logistical safety, but with no luck.
The only solution found was to reduce the six 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.
But what exactly were the six country festivals for Cortina? There were six town parties, organized by the six different Districts of Cortina, in 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 took place in different locations.
... The purpose was 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, do 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 in a queue, 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 alrustic low 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 sweet 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, in Italian: "Sagra d'Ampezzo", a typical event with stalls all along "Corso Italia", the pedestrian center of Cortina. During the festival representatives of the various districts compete in a series of sporting events, including "the running race of the districts", known with its dialect name "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 took place every weekend, starting with the "Azon" district.
Country festival of "Azon"
The festival of "Azon" has been held for years on the penultimate Sunday of August, but later they decided to change the date, moving to the weekend immediately after the village festival and thus becoming the first country festival in Cortina.
The district of "Azon" is one of the smallest and its party took place in a moment of the year where tourism had not started yet. It has always been the most rustic festival, and this made 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 spherical "kind of pancake" cooked at the moment, so that at certain times you had to wait in long lines to get a plate. In the week of carnival it's 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. Given the distance from the center, a shuttle service was generally offered from the bus station.
Country festival of "Cadin"
The country festival of "Cadin", for many years, was 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 festival 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 night.
The country festival of "Cortina"
The country festival of "Cortina" was the one that took place in the most central position. It was, in fact, set up in the parking lot of "Via del Parco".
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 was 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, was a problem, so it was generally organized a shuttle bus for transportation on site. Among the gastronomic specialties of "Chiave" there were the "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 took 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 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 was huge, so you wouldn't had 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. The party concluded the tradition of country festivals in Cortina in the best way. 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.
Two running races are still organized for sport lovers, both at "Cadin" and "Zuel": 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 PM 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 PM at the Olympic ski jump "Italia" 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 our home page, with all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'Ampezzo.
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