The History of the Sagra della Zuppa Festival

La prima edizioneThe first Sagra della Zuppa, or Soup Festival, dates back to 1971 when a group of young people from Massarella joined the Spontaneous Group of Initiative (G.S.I.) under the leadership of the unforgettable Don Duilio Rogaziani (then pastor of Massarella) and decided to liven up the social life of Massarella with an event to be held in the square.

Soup with bread is a typical Tuscan dish; made with the simplest and healthiest locally sourced ingredients, including fresh vegetables, cabbage, beans, good olive oil, salt, pepper, and stale bread. It was considered by past generations as a “poor” but nutritious dish, that took quite a long time to prepare but was decidedly and proudly considered “peasant” food.

So the simplicity, the nutrition and the decidedly rural Tuscan characteristics of this dish were the reasons for choosing the Zuppa di Pane as the festival theme.

The first festival took place on a Sunday afternoon in mid-September of 1971, with a parade of tractors belonging to Massarella’s farmers who had washed and polished them for the occasion. The young girls of Massarella were dressed in simple garb with flowers and the boys held the typical soup tureen filled to the brim with Zuppa di Pane that local housewives had prepared the evening and night before. In the square below the Church, which was not yet paved, the Zuppa was distributed free of charge, while the young people of Massarella took part in simple games like tug-of-war, potato-sack races, musical chairs and cross-country races.

Everything was free of charge and those who so desired could leave a contribution. This system was the beginning of a tradition that still exists today: the Zuppa is offered free of charge the second Sunday afternoon of the Festival and admission is free to all the entertainment offered during the event.

I giochi in piazza

The tradition of the parade of tractors and the games in the square lasted for many years. They were always held in September and filled with enthusiasm and improvisation, but with the growing success of the festival the public also began arriving from the surrounding towns.

Over the year this event was moved to the month of July and the duration of the Sagra della Zuppa levitra france has gone from a single afternoon to a total of 6 days over a two-week period, requiring more and more work and an increase in the responsible and professional organisation of the festival.

The G.S.I has acquired the proper structures and an organisation consisting of an always greater number of Massarella residents of all ages and social classes, with no political or religious discrimintation, becoming an extraordinary community social centre for Massarella. The enthusiasm for this spontaneous participation enables the group to organise evenings in the open-air, where people can sample the Zuppa di Pane and other fine Tuscan cuisine as well as enjoy themselves with the music and live entertainment offered in the town squares.

The Sagra della Zuppa has also been enriched by cultural, sports and folklore events as well as performances by top-notch professional entertainers.

In 1983, the Patronage of the Town of Fucecchio helped institute a Extemporaneous Painting Competition that takes place every two years and is called the “Quadrifoglio d’Argento” – Trofeo Padule di Fucecchio. Artists from all of Tuscany come to participate in this competition. Every year, during the Sagra, there is a Soccer Tournament between the four quarters of Massarella, known as “Levante”, “Tramontana”, “Maestrale” and “Libeccio”. Exhibitions of tools and crafts related to rural life are organised, as well as historic photographic exhibits on Massarella and the Sagra itself and vintage automobile and motorcycle rallies.

Ilpalco degli Stadio

For every festival of the Sagra della Zuppa the G.S.I. always strives to organise live entertainment free of charge with such famous Italian artists as Luciano Tajoli, Raoul Casadei, the Mago Silvan, Gigi Sabani, Giucas Casella, Giorgio Panariello, Carlo Conti, Leonardo Pieraccioni, Jerry Calà, Paolo Ruffini, New Trolls, Maurizio Vandelli, Umberto Tozzi, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Stadio, Rettore and many others who have delighted the audiences, which grow in number every year for the evening events in Masserrella.

The overwhelming enthusiasm and dedication of the residents of Massarella have remain unchanged over the years, making their Sagra della Zuppa one of the most historic Tuscan festivals.