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Digital Subscriptions > Italia! > Dec 2018 > Chestnuts Roasting…

Chestnuts Roasting…

Julie Friend attends a festival in the province of Viterbo and discovers that here the chestnut is not just for Christmas
The European ‘sweet’ chestnut is a common sight across France and Britain, but Italy is the largest commercial producer in Europe; chestnuts for sale; a traditional brick chestnut oven

Clinging to the side of Mount Cimino, in the province of Viterbo, is the hilltop town of Vallerano. Perched 400 metres above sea level, the air up here has that seductive draw which immediately uplifts the soul and clears life’s cobwebs.

Thick medieval walls, narrow alleys, pretty squares and cafés make Vallerano the perfect pitstop whilst exploring this magical region. The town is just 70 kilometres from Rome but a world away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. You feel you should be wearing a sweeping velvet gown and wimple as you pace the cobbled streets.

But we are not just here to absorb its beauty, for Vallerano is known for something else. And, as it is October, the clues are both hanging above our heads and crunching beneath our boots. We are, in fact, here to celebrate the humble chestnut, the castagna.

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About Italia!

There’s a seasonal feel to the pages this month, kicking off with our Gift Guide, which is full to the brim with Italian treats and gifts for friends and family. We travel to Piedmont, where Turin takes Christmas lights to another level with sophisticated displays that will take your breath away; and on to Milan, where the city’s best cafés are wrapped up in Christmas cheer. To escape from it all, we discover the forgotten history of a quiet corner of Lazio that’s right off the beaten track, marvel at the extraordinary Krampus tradition, and attend a chestnut festival near Viterbo.