San’Antonio Birds, Fires & Song Experiences

If you’ve stayed at Santo Stefano di Sessanio’s Albergo Diffuso you will know the incredible work of the ethno-anthropologist  Annunziata Taraschi as she curates,  records and brings a forgotten Abruzzo proudly back to life.  Join her in her hometown of Tossicia  for an all inclusive, very intimate break  to take part in the town’s  historic winter San’Antonio festival full of ancient rites.

Images courtesy of  Gran Sasso Laga Intangible Cultural Heritage

Day 1  Thursday 17th January 2019, 15.00

“And you open those drawers, and you take those little birds, and you open that box, and you take those ten eggs ”

On the first day  you’ll learn the historical and cultural aspects of the Feast of  San’Antonio Abate.  You’ll accompany local musicians as they take a tour around Tossicia, sing and are invited into each family’s home to receive alms, food, wine and the wood required for the community’s Saturday bonfire night.

Day 2 – Friday 18th January

Join Signora Alida, together with her friends for a confectionery cooking lesson  and share their secret recipes that includes Cellittë,   the stuffed pastries shaped like little birds that are the “gastronomic” symbol of this feast.

Day 3 – Saturday 19th January

Help Mario and his ‘fireman’ create the town’s colossal fire dedicated to the Saint and domestic animals.  The blessing of the bonfire will officially kick off this small town’s official winter party.

3 places are available, Price €150 – Language spoken Italian & English, learn more

Book by email:  –;


Read more about Tossicia

A Touch of 15th Century Cubism in Tossicia
Uccelletti -The Sweet History of San Antonio’s Birds
San’Antonio Abate – Tossicia’s Firestarter
The Fourth Musketeer & Salsiccia di Fegato

12th or 13th January  – Join Folkband  Li Sandandonijre in Penna San Andrea

Penna San’Andrea is famous for its folklore & music festival in August but also for its San’Antonio Abate celebrations. Join the town’s famous folk band Li Sandandonijre for the most authentic of Abruzzesi experiences, accompanying the musicians as they traditionally celebrate the Feast of San Antonio, plying each house with music and song in exchange for local food, wine & delights in the small town and the surrounding villages.

3 places are available on each day. Although a smattering of Italian is useful, you could just soak up the whole experience, eat some amazing food & shoot some incredible photos to take away as a memory. This video dates back to 2006 but gives a taste of what to expect 

Cost – a €10 donation to the church and a food donation. For more info & booking –👉 . If you don’t know why San’Antonio is important in Abruzzo read




Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 11 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance travel and food web content manager and copywriter and EFL teacher - she is the founder of English in the Woods. She is the co-founder of the social enterprises: The Abruzzo Blogger Community and Let's Blog Abruzzo. She is currently writing the book 'Abruzzo: Folk and Food.

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