Sagra dell'uva – Marino's Grape Festival, Rome

Will another miracle happen at the Festa dell Uva:

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The little hill-top medieval castle town of Marino is just forty-minutes from the centre of Rome and is one of the towns which make up the Castelli Romani region, Frascati being probably the best known of them.  This wine-growing region was famous for supplying Roman Emperors with their wine needs.  Although Frascati is the most popular of the Castelli Romani wines, the area also produces several reds including Merlot del Lazio.

Like many of the towns and villages in the wine-growing regions, Marino has a Sagra dell’uva celebration. This famous grape and wine festival has been celebrated on the first Sunday of October every year since 1925 and the annual event attracts thousands of people from all over the region.

Marino Wine Festival Highlights

  • On festival day, wine instead of water flows from the public fountain so that visitors can taste Marino’s famous wine. The city’s main fountain and the balconies of local houses are decorated with colorful flowers and lights.  Wine literally flows freely from the town’s main fountain and this is the highlight event.
  • The traditional cellars of the town also open and visitors can purchase food such as soft white bread, meat and wine to keep them going.
  • The festival includes a street procession, display of period costumes and music.  Town folks dressed in traditional costumes hand out grapes and wine and a fireworks display takes place later in the evening.
  • The Palio dei Rioni, a medieval tournament with jousting knights and competitions is held on the same day.

The Marino Miracle

In October 2008, there was a technical glitch and the pipes from the local vineyard which were to supply the marble town fountain were erroneously switched to the domestic supply that feed the homes in Marino.

The mayor, a priest and locals had gathered round the fountain and following a prayer of thanks to the Virgin Mary, everyone was ready to drink the Marino DOC.  They filled their plastic cups and were quickly disappointed as the normal fresh water poured from the fountain instead of the expected wine.

Soon shouts of “miracolo” was heard coming from a house overlooking the square. A local rushed onto her balcony to reveal that wine was flowing from her kitchen tap.  Word quickly spread in town and everyone filled up bottles and plastic containers with the wine. As this happened during the Sagra dell’uva, everyone genuinely thought it was a miracle.

The very embarrassed and unhappy mayor quickly quashed claims of a miracle and said that it was a mistake and that workmen were fixing the technical error.

Sagra dell’uva

The Sagra dell’uva commemorates the return of admiral Marcantonio Colonna to his hometown of Marino following his famous victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571. Marino sent more than 250 sailors to the battle and the Sagra is celebrated every October to give thanks for their safe return.

If you’re intending on visiting Marino and experiencing the Festa, be warned that Marino is a working town and the wine festival is not put on for the tourists, so don’t expect a polished event. Also, with the wine flowing freely, the mood can get boisterous so make sure to leave before things get too rowdy.


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