I’ve always been a sucker for quaint, charming Italian towns and Castiglione has to be one of my favorite. We visited it in 2012 on Notte di San Lorenzo – otherwise known as the festival of Calici di Stelle – literal translation “Goblets of Stars”
Perched on the top of a hill, Castiglione overlooks the southern shore of the Alcantara river, with houses set on a steep slope with a 7th Century castle set right in its heart. Views from here as we parked the car were pretty amazing. Arriving at sunset we could see tiny small remote towns sat in the eastern foothills of Etna.
Traditionally Notte di San Lorenzo is celebrated all over Italy. It is one of the most highly anticipated festivals of the summer when people gather together in historical centers and piazzas across Italy and admire the nights sky in the hope of catching a fallen star and making a wish.
We couldn’t of picked a better spot, for Castiglione di Sicilia had lit up their streets with beautiful candles that romantically lit the steep and weaving path to the top of the town where the castle was. A procession of people making a pilgrimage to the top for the grand gathering – and of course being in Italy there is always always wine….
Also on this night passionate wine tourists can taste the best wines coupled with typical quality products that express the local heritage of every region that participates in the festival.
In the catholic culture falling stars of this night have been associated to the tears of the martire San Lorenzo, but more romantic is the interpretation of recent days according to which for each star you can see, you can make a wish (maybe from here the way of saying “a wish upon a star”?).
In a night where stars and wine always come together.. instead of “tear drops” and “wishes” we associated the falling stars’ night to the drops of wine in a glass and therefore “Calici di Stelle” [glasses of stars] was created.
Falling stars are more likely to be seen in the Northern Hemisphere this time of the year because the annual Perseids meteor shower reaches its peak mid-August. So if you are in Italy tonight make sure you take time to look up at the stary sky, for you may see a falling star 🙂