Food festivals, known as sagre, abound in Italy. Often held in small towns and dedicated to the quintessential local foodstuff, sagre offer the chance to taste regional specialities and delve into local culture. The Sagra degli Agrumi, or Citrus Festival, in Sardinia features tastings, traditional folk songs and a parade of terrifying furry monsters.
Held at the beginning of April in the town of Muravera on Sardinia’s southeast coast, the Sagra degli Agrumi marks the end of the citrus season. Around the time of the festival, new blossom appears on trees in the citrus groves, eventually maturing into fruit that will be harvested in the colder months to come. In celebration of the region’s prized produce (and the arrival of a welcome break for those who work in the agrumeti, or citrus orchards), the town hosts a three-day bash showcasing the best local produce.
Thanks to Sardinia’s long, hot summers and mild winters, the island enjoys the perfect climate to grow citrus and residents of Muravera are especially proud of their oranges. Visitors to the sagra can sample a range of recipes infused with the fragrant fruit – think typical dishes like ricotta-filled pardulas or fried sebadas pastries, as well as an array of jams, liqueurs and sweets.
The highlight of the festival, however, is not the food but a chaotic and colourful parade of traditional Sardinian folk groups. Donning elaborate costumes and performing the customary dances of their communities, the participants come from across Sardinia to celebrate their heritage at the Sagra degli Agrumi. Ox-drawn carts, known as traccas, are decorated with vibrant citrus while launeddas, wind instruments made of reeds, provide the soundtrack to the day.
Among the depictions of traditional country life is also something more sinister. Monstrous characters with twisted horns, grotesque masks and thick pelts of fur also make their way along the parade route, occasionally taunting the crowd as they go.
Some creatures have animal horns or skulls while others carry bells on their backs, and find themselves hunted down by other characters in this strange Sardinian play.
Though the Citrus Festival of Muravera is less than 50 years old, the origin of the menacing figures goes back much further. The modern ceremony is thought to descend from ancient pagan rituals linked to Sardinia’s deep pastoral roots, when similar ceremonies would take place in the hope of ensuring an abundant harvest or hunting season.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.