It Must Have Been Luigi

“Excuse me?” I stammered, thinking I had misunderstood the man standing in front of me.

“I was saying their G-strings were small and sparkly,” he continued. “Mamma Mia! You should have seen the look on my mother-in-law’s face.”

“But, signore, I was inquiring about the truffle festival.”

“I know. That’s what I’m trying to tell you.”

I had just asked a local man which festa di tartufi to attend while in Umbria. You see, there were two on the same day.


Just Found Black Truffles



In the fall, Italian villages celebrate their hard work and the bounties of nature. They place tables along the cobbled streets and flaunt their best to anyone who stops by: specialty cheeses, cured meats, vegetables, as well as soap and knitted scarves. In some places the guest of honor is the truffle, served in a multi-course meal. There’s always live music, as well as a dance in the evening—entertainment in many forms.

But what does this have to do with Brazilian dancers in pasties and high heels?


Roasting Chestnuts

Roasting Chestnuts


“The whole village was at the dance last year,” the enthusiastic man continued, “and out came these women in big feathered headpieces and practically no clothes. The boys were fighting to get a better look, their mothers were angry, and the old men couldn’t close their mouths.”

“Is this normal for a truffle festival?” I asked innocently, even though I already knew the answer.

“Of course not,” he laughed. “We still can’t figure out how it happened. It must have been Luigi.” The man’s smile did not diminish as he quietly nodded.

“Do you think they’ll have the dancers again?” I questioned, hoping to see this scene for myself.

“Oh no. The women in the village took over and planned a pizza-throwing contest instead. Said they can’t trust us anymore.”


Pizza toss with Fog

Pizza toss with Fog


And so it goes…pizza tossing with low-keyed acrobatics set to disco music. Blasts of smoke filled the air around the contestants. On closer inspection I realized it was fog…coming from a machine.  Hmm? Luigi? Probably so.

Pizza Toss

Pizza Toss


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