Perched on top of the hill facing our olive grove lies the beautiful medieval village of Montevettolini. Situated just outside the spa town of Monsummano Terme, Montevettolini is the site of the imposing Villa Medicea, a sixteenth-century villa used by the Medici family during the hunting season back in the days when most of the Montalbano area of Tuscany was their personal hunting reserve.
The Via Crucis Procession
Every three years Montevettolini celebrates Good Friday with a Via Crucis procession depicting the passion and death of Christ. This tradition dates back to the sixteenth or seventeenth century in Montevettolini and the event attracts visitors from around Tuscany. Accompanied by the sombre strains of a marching band and choir, local people of all ages walk and ride through the hilltop village dressed in period clothing. It’s a surprisingly moving affair, even for the non-religious like myself.
Following on from the wettest winter in fifty years (if I had a penny for every joke about the “British” weather…), this year’s event was a rather cold and wet affair, but a bag of local brigidini (sweet, crunchy, anise-scented wafers which resemble the communion host) helped ease the wait.