On the first Sunday of October, thousands of Europeans gather in the Roman Hills for La Sagra dell'Uva di Marino. The long-standing wine festival features good wine, of course, as well as processions, historical costumes, music and even a jousting tournament.
The festival, hosted in the small working town of Marino, Italy, has been around since 1925, when it was advocated for by Leone Ciprelli, a local poet with a deep affection for history and an even deeper love of traditions. He wanted a festival to celebrate the return of Admiral Marcantonio Colonna following his victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, as well as the return of Colonna's 250 sailors. Among the sailors was a vine grower who, legend says, brought back a Malvasia vine from the island of Candia, a grape which the little town of Marino is now known for.
also provide great publicity for their local white wine industry, so be it.
The most famous part of the festival occurs at the Fountain of the Four Moors, which sits in the center of the town's courtyard and is named after the Moors whom Admiral Colonna brought back as slaves to work the vineyards.
Each year, at the pivotal moment of the festival, called the 'Miracolo,' the fountain flows with chilled white wine from a local vineyard (which the crowd happily imbibes) as representation of the miracle of turning water into wine.
It was at this very pivotal moment of the 2008 Sagra dell'Uva festival that a real "miracle" occurred: The priests blessed the fountain, as tradition dictated. The mayor, dignitaries, locals and tourists alike all waited anxiously, glasses and jugs in hand, for the wine to start flowing and the party to start. As their wait grew, the cry of "Miracolo! Miracolo!" rang out from the nearby houses instead.