Italian Food & Folklore

An Interview With Lisa Voegel: Author of Food & Folkore
By: Angelina DiMaggio


Lisa Voegel’s DNA is only 4% Italian, but it’s a strong 4%. She grew up in an Italian American neighborhood in Connecticut, went to a catholic school, and had Italian American friends. She grew up loving Italy, and tries to travel there once a year. She says,  “Every time I go anywhere other than Italy for vacation, that’s a mistake.”

So, when the recession hit, and she found herself laid off with some extra time on her hands, she took advantage of her new found freedom and planned the trip of a lifetime! She studied Italian for a month, packed her bags and set off for Florence, Italy.

On day two of her trip, she and a group of friends decided to take a road trip to Montepulciano. It was there she happened upon her first festival, Il Bravìo delle Botti, a celebration before the harvest in which athletes from 8 districts gather in a competition of wine barrel rolling.

Voegel was in the back alley of a neighborhood when she heard the festival drums. Everyone came outside! Italian grandmothers hurried around excitedly cooking and preparing food. Then, the strenuous uphill race began. It was unlike anything she’d ever seen. The celebration that followed brought tears to her eyes, and with that she was hooked! 

Lisa says there are 3 corner stones to Italian festivals: “Good food, dedicated families, and great entertainment, that’s everything!” Traveling to Italian festivals can bring you deeper; make you feel like a part of the community, the neighborhood. They’re a great way to get a sense of the culture, and the town.

She began to plan more festival trips and then decided to start a blog ( In 2012 Voegel had the idea to write a reference book. It took a year of research, but soon Food and Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals was born. It is a current guide of over 450 festivals focusing on traditional food and folklore, and organized by month. The book even has an index for food-specific festivals, making it easy for any traveler to find an experience an authentic Italian celebration, just like Lisa!

Lisa will be doing an online book signing. If you are interested in buying a signed copy e-mail your information to Signed books are 1 for $11 or 3 for $22 and include tax and shipping.

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