Thursday, May 03, 2007

Froggers Unite!



I mentioned this in a Macerata Monday from a couple of weeks back, and I promised I would blog about it, so here I am, a little bit late (big surprise!). A couple of weekends back, Antonello and I were lucky enough to get the chance to meet fellow blogger Rowena right here in Le Marche, up near Urbino and Pesaro. She had mentioned the Palio delle Rane before in her blog, and this year she and her husband were planning to come down to find out for themselves what all of the commotion was about. We were more than happy to hop in and participate as well.

The event didn't start until the early evening, so Antonello and I went wandering a bit: from the quaint town of Fossombrone and its high-up castle to the Gola del Furlo, one of Northern Le Marche's most splendid natural wonders, a sort of chasm/canyon whose gleaming blue cuts through the mountains. After that, it was off to Fermignano for the frog races!

After walking through the town's renaissance-style parade, we eventually found Rowena, her husband, and their famous budding star, Maddie, in the crowds watching the events. There were flying hawks, fire-breathers, and plenty of dancers. Finally they brought the frogs out for their medical exams (a veterinarian was there, making sure the frogs were healthy), and the excitement was about to begin!




The history of the Palio is here, and while it never really seems to explain just WHY frogs were used (and how they thought up placing these frogs on little wheel-barrows and running with them until the finish line, or until the frog jumps off, face first into the crowd, hopping away into freedom) is unclear, but the result was pure delirious fun. Watching kids and adults racing alike, dressed from head to toe in renaissance costume, running after their frogs, was unbeatable. Rowena and I snapped through loads of pictures, and it still didn't feel like enough! Rowena even filmed a little segment, capturing the froggies in action as they hopped away from their wheelbarrows. Check out Rowena's coverage of the event here.

After an evening of frog watching, we headed to a nearby town for a lovely Slow Food dinner. We were the only ones in the restaurant, and the four of us chatted away, while Maddie waited patiently at the foot of the table. By the time dinner was over, it was later than we had expected. Our upcoming drive home was nothing in comparison to Rowena's, but at least they had the night to rest up! We said our goodbyes, hoping to all meet up again. Upcoming frog races perhaps? Other various festivals? Who knows--Italy has so many festivities that it seems like the possibilities are endless.



Jackie

Update: More photos of the fun on Flickr! Check them out!

3 Comments:

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous rowena said...

Yesssssssssssss! What a fab, fab post! Your pictures are awesome! You got one where they kept the froggies under wraps, and all of the other photos (including the bottom one), are so much more better than what I got.

We did head over to Gola del Furlo on the drive back. It's absolutely gorgeous, and we're looking forward to visiting again...soon. Heh heh, there was this humongous fig tree with fruits just beginning to form, and I'm thinking hmmmm...shouldn't they be ready to pick by the time August rolls around? ;-) Thanks again for meeting up with us although I was a bit scatter-brained on when and where. Now I'll go update my Palio post with this here link.

Have a great Cinco de Mayo!!

 
At 10:30 AM, Anonymous rowena said...

P.S. I'll point dario to this link too.

 
At 12:15 AM, Blogger Stelle in Italia said...

i don't know, rowena--you're photos are awfully good! i still love your video so much--i watched it again the other day, and it made me laugh. what a fun little festa!

can't wait to see you again here in le marche! bicycle festas and other palios surely await!

hope your cinco de mayo was great! we celebrated a little late (tonight, the 7th), but we made enough burritos, guac, and chile con queso to last us till NEXT cinco de mayo!

Jackie

 

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