Grazie Mille to all our family & friends who’ve made it possible to earn a seat as one of Orange County’s Top Restaurants of 2022. As we count our blessings this year and beyond, we’d love to take a step back to recant & decant the journey from the Bay of Napoli to Newport.
While this past weekend was one of the largest beach days in America (for good reason), Italians celebrate the “Ferragosto” holiday on August 15th - quite religiously might I add. Onotria will be celebrating the lead up to Ferragostofrom the month of Julius Caesar to the month of his successor.
If you’ve ever traveled to Italy during the month of Augustus, you’d likely be shocked by the empty piazzas of the eternal city- that is if you haven’t collapsed from the heat radiating from the cobblestones of St. Peter’s. Yes, Italians will do almost anything to get out of working, but this time it’s sacred.
Celebrated on the Ides of August (15th), this agricultural holiday dates back to Rome’s first citizen: Caesar Augustus. The Latin translation quite literally means, “the rest of Augustus”, as the day was exulted after the exhausting harvest season in 18 B.C. The connections between agriculture and religion are deeply rooted, and what began as a tribute to deities of fertility, co-evolved into the Assumption of the Virgin Mary as Roma transitioned from material empire to Kingdom of Heaven. Even today you can catch the Palioin Sienna on August 16th ; the famous equestrian competition also traces its roots to chariot racing as would have been enjoyed in the Circus Maximus and hippodrome.
Declaring a day of rest – even for beasts of burden – was a massively popular act with the plebians. Today music and meat have become daily occurrences, but for an ancient citizen, these festivals were a rare occasion to indulge – especially on the emperor’s dime. So when in Rome, do as the Romans, and let’s enjoy a month of “bread & circuses”
We’ll explore more fun topics such as the etymology of Onotria (Greek for land of vines and first mentioned in Virgil’s Aeneid), viticulture & biodiversity, and personal anecdotes from Chef Massimo’s farm to your table. And don’t worry… there will be plenty of food pics- In Vino Veritas!
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