In 1998, the Touring Club Italiano launched the Orange Flag (Bandiera Arancione) program. ‘Orange Flags‘ are eco-tourism recognitions awarded to villages and small towns (with a maximum of 15,000 inhabitants) – identified in Italian as ‘borghi’ – that, not only have a historical, cultural, and environmental heritage of merit but also excel in welcoming tourists in a carefully maintained environment while promoting local industry and crafts – ie sustainable tourism. This year, on the occasion of the program’s 20th anniversary, the Touring Club Italiano organized the ‘Orange Flags Autumn‘, a series of events, tastings, and guided tours that until October 14th  leads to the discovery of over 120 of the 227 borghi boasting an Orange Flag.

The full title of the program, ‘Orange Flags Autumn – set another borgo at the table’, plays with the words of a popular Italian song, ‘Set another place at the table’ (‘Aggiungi un posto a tavola’), and highlights the important part played by food and wine in the discovery of these little treasure chests. According to the Orange Flag website (bandierearancioni.it), which lists the detail of all the events organized in the borghi spread over 19 regions – including Sicily and Sardinia -, there are at least 7 good reasons to participate in the initiative:

“1. to taste genuine flavors and dishes, made following ancient traditions and recipes;
2. sip a good wine inside a courtyard, in a square or walking through suggestive alleys;
3. visit history-rich monuments, some open specifically for the occasion;
4. participate in engaging events, where authenticity is a distinctive element;
5. learn about typical food and wine products and crafts, together with the work and the passion of who produces them;
6. immerse yourself with children in nature, walking on paths and itineraries to discover unusual landscapes and places;
7. live an outdoor experience, appreciating with your own eyes the richness of the Italian hinterland.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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