Photo top right: Walter Smith, bottom right: Nuwandalice
Halloween is not an Italian tradition.
I have been trying to drum up some excitement among the locals all week and have been rewarded with a whole bunch of shrugs and mutters of "We're really more interested in Carnevale".
As a kid growing up in Australia, I was never allowed to celebrate Halloween. My mum called it, "that American holiday".
Now that I'm adult, I'm a little obsessed. Call it making up for lost time or holiday fixation or unfulfilled dreams of candy and costumes, I don't care. I love Halloween.
The Maremma has a handful of Halloween festivals that appeal to tourists and expats alike. So if you're in the province this October 31, check these out:
Festa delle Streghe
October 31 and November 1
My absolute top pick because it so closely resembles the American Halloween parties of my fantasies. That's probably because it's organised by a German and I'm guessing Germans love Halloween too.
This one is going to be a family fun fest! There's live music, costume parades and competitions, a haunted castle and even a burlesque dancer.
Obviously the last one isn't PG, unless you're an Italian parent. From experience, I know they're a-okay with letting little Francesco watch a woman dance in nothing but spinning nipple pasties.
The highlight of the festival is the decorations. Montemerano is officially one of Italy's most beautiful villages and it's worth coming just to see the beautiful juxtaposition of horror movie set and medieval architecture. You can get idea from the first picture in this post, which is a snap from last year's event.
There will also be plenty of local treats and something they're calling "enchanted potions".
Zucche in Festa
October 31 to November 2
Not as impressive as the former. This is Halloween Maremman style. It's a traditional pumpkin festival that has been held for more than a decade.
They've jazzed it up with pumpkin cocktails and treats. I'm going to see the carved pumpkin display and try my hand at winning the carving contest!
Happy Party Halloween
Where: Porto Santo Stefano
Engrish at its best! I'm not sure who thought of happy party Halloween, but it's almost as good as 'baby parking' - the official Italian terminology for nursery school.
Hilariously wrong name aside, this is one for the older crowd. There will be costumes and candy and even free Nutella sandwiches, but the real highlight is the live music and DJ sets.
Organisers always go to great lengths to make the boardwalk look scary and inviting, which is why they charge a €5 entrance fee into the festival.
Halloween al Museo
's Archaeological Museum
My last Halloween festival is completely left field. Grosseto's Archaeological Museum will be holding a special evening opening (5pm-8pm) in honour of the holiday.
It's a guided tour that promises plenty of local gore and historical herises that date back to the Etruscans. You'll need to understand Italian to get the stories and legends. Expect appearances for ghosts of the past including Emperor Augustus. The first emperor of Rome has a statue in the museum.
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