Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 13, 2012

The chestnut festival at Colognora

With autumn comes the chestnut harvest, and with the harvest, chestnut festivals. Many small towns and villages in and around Bagni di Lucca hold a chestnut festival. I love them, it is a chance to see the villages come alive and show off just a little.

I visited the festival at Colognora with Heather Jarman from Sapori-e-Saperi recently and joined hundreds of people wandering around this gorgeous little village.


There were displays of old equipment used to grind grain.


This is thousands of years old.


This one from the 8th century.


And this elaborate one…..I can’t remember.




There was a man making nails….slowly.


There were hand made things to buy. I had to have one of those brooms…..and the flour sifter.



Colognora has a wonderful chestnut museum, full of things from life in a different time.





This is an old water driven grinding device.



These men and boys look great dressed up for the photo.


There were many basket makers…..all different styles.




Meet Dina who makes baskets and her husband who makes wooden shoes.







Here are some young weavers….it is great to see that the skills are being handed down.



And just look at this gorgeous man.



The village is very pretty.







There were some men sawing wood.



There was music.


And of course there were chestnuts roasting.




These delicious little things are frittelle made from chestnut flour.


Keep an eye out for local festivals when you visit Italy… won’t be disappointed.

Click here to see the gorgeous festival last year in Lupinaia, high in the Garfagnana.


  1. Fantastic! You’re lucky to always be present in such events! 🙂

    • Thanks to Heather.

  2. Reblogged this on RD Revilo.

  3. Oooooooooh could almost smell and taste those roasted chestnuts from here.

    • …..and they tasted pretty good.

  4. I could “kill” for one of those mortars and pestles! They are really wonderful. And Colognora is a beautiful town, full of character. It was used as a set by Spike Lee to film “Miracle at St Anna”, because Stazzema was looking too modern nowadays. The only problem with the town is that they speak a very difficult dialect, a mixture of spoken or vulgar Latin (“vulgata”) and Lombard… hopeless to try to understand them!

    • I will have to look out for that film, and I want to go to Stazzema too.

  5. Debra I really enjoyed this post. I imagined myself being there, I would have had to have a broom and flour sifter too. A beautiful village.

    • The broom is now in our new house in Vergemoli.

  6. Debra, absolutely beautiful. Lucky lucky you, to be able to ‘shoot’ all this. I love the museum, those old tools, the old craft…..wonderful. Thanks for showing this to us. Ciao Carina

    • There is so much to see in the villages around Bagni di Lucca….I will never run out of places to go.

  7. Love the old the equipment …. Craft is one of my passions so it was great to see the basket-makers at work.

    • I loved the basket weavers. I now have one of Dina’s baskets.

  8. Ciao Debra, I am Angelo from Lucca Italian School, playing accordeon at the chestnut festival. Grazie mille per la bella foto!

    • It was a fun day. I thought I recognised you when I took the photo. I am glad you like it.

  9. What a great event to attend. There’s lots of cultural events in the area.
    You’re absolutely right when you say there’s so much to do.
    The chestnuts and frittelle look pretty good too!

    • If you look around, there are festivals happening all the time in Italy. Each one is different, and it is a great way to meet the locals.

  10. How fun to “attend” this event with you! Thank you, Debra! Wonderfully evocative photos that remind us all why we adore Italy. Ah, those adorable basket weavers…..
    And thank you for reminding me that when I get back to Sicily in early December, all those luscious chestnuts await me. We get them from the slopes of Etna. I’ve even bought my own chestnut roasting pan!! Can’t wait!

    • We have bought a chestnut roasting device as well. I look forward to using it one day.

  11. Maybe I’ll be there for it next fall. I’m definitely going to be in Lucca at the end of Sept. beginning of Oct.-too far away!

    • Can’t you come in spring?

      • I’m hoping to do both!!!! I do have a group booked for the fall already.

  12. What? No games of conkers?

    You know how we loved the farro festival we went to with Heather. This one looks great too. Love your shots of the old chestnut-preparing equipment.

    • I haven’t seen anyone playing conkers….I’ll have to look out for it.

  13. You are making my mouth water for all of those fabulous Fall foods….can’t wait!! We are on our way this Thursday..WOOHOO!

    • Lucky you! I hope you get some good weather. There has been heavy rain in Bagni di Lucca.

  14. Love all your pictures of the villagers doing their crafts!

    • I love this too. Let’s hope there are people around to carry on the traditions.

      • Yes indeed. It is sad when traditions like these are lost.

  15. Oh how I love roast chestnuts. As children, we used to roast them on bonfire night. The last time I had any was in New York a few years ago. Wonderful photos. I so enjoyed them all. 🙂

    • I love chestnuts too, especially when they are freshly roasted.

  16. What a beautiful place, and how I wished to be there, dear Debra, but you made me to live/feel how it would be, Thank you, love, nia

    • I hope you can visit our area one day.

  17. I want one of those sifters, we have been to a chestnut fiesta but never saw all that wonderful equipment you found, thanks for the pics.

    • I will keep an eye out for a sifter for you. They are bound to turn up somewhere else.

  18. I’m sorry to say I never tasted a chestnut. May need to remedy that. Also, the grinding stones are fascinating. Hard to believe they’ve been around for so long!

    • Chestnuts are an acquired taste. I remember trying them in London many years ago and being very disappointed, but now I love them.

  19. What a wonderful day and all with smell of roasting chestnuts too. I just know I would be a better cook with one of those flour sifters.

    • I think so too, it looks like I will have to buy a few of them to bring back to Australia.

  20. Thanks for sharing your wonderful day … and for reminding me of the days my mother roasted chestnuts in the oven.

    • It was a fun day…with roast chestnuts as a bonus.

  21. Wow – what a great festa. I love that there were so many crafts as well as the obligatory chestnut roast. The old tools are amazing – neolithic, imagine! Lovely photos, as always…

    • It is great that these festivals attract such good crowds. Sleepy villages come alive.

  22. gorgeous Debra. So wonderful to be able to go to things like that.

    • I feel very lucky to be able to join in the fun.

  23. Beautiful collections!!

    • The festival was great fun. I love it when these villages are full of people.

  24. […] annual chestnut festival near […]

  25. […] Read this article: The chestnut festival at Colognora « Bagni di Lucca and Beyond […]

  26. Beautiful, beautiful post, Debra!!! Those weavers, they’re all smiling for you. So much life to the photos. So heartwarming. Those materials, very fascinating… 7.000 Anni :D. Then you show pictures ofvillage…just brilliant posting! And of course, you whet our appetite with those chestnuts. AWESOME POST!

    • I spoke to most of the weavers, who were happy to tell us about themselves. I have one of Dina’s baskets now.

      • What a spirit! I do talk to strangers during my travels, but only sometimes. I’m shy on asking them if I can take pictures. Those pictures is all-smiles awesome!

      • I was reluctant at first, but most people love to talk and are happy to be photographed. I have been knocked back, but that is OK too.

  27. Ow, chest nut festival, that sounds awesome! your pictures are beautiful.

  28. […] here to see a gorgeous chestnut festival in Colognora and here for an equally fabulous one in […]

  29. […] Near Bagni di Lucca there was the chestnut festival in Colognora. […]

  30. Interesing. I will stay there for a week in two weeks 🙂

    • It is a very cute little town. The chestnut festival happens later in the year, but there is still lots to see.

  31. brilliant – I visited the Museum last autumn and it was closed – we had the village all to ourselves but we shall have to go back to see the Museum – and I should be very interested to catch up with Heather Jarman – I am Rob Jarman and have Cambridge connections too!

    • The museum is well worth visiting. I hope you contact Heather.

  32. […] этому линку вы можете посмотреть некоторые фотографии проведения […]

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