Distant Winds: 23rd Festival del Vento, Spotorno

Ah, Liguria … distant and lonely … Even a bit deserted in early March. Sun-blessed, yet with the most unpredictable weather imaginable.

How it started:

How it was ending (for us) …:

Liguria, distant and …

When friends asked where are we headed to this time, we said “Spotorno!”, and the conversation that followed was always the same:

– Where is this Spotorno?
– In Liguria, on the road from Genoa to the French border.
– Ufff … and how long will you stay there?
– Just for the weekend!
– So … you will drive a thousand kilometers altogether just to fly kites for a couple of hours?
– No, of
course not. We wiil drive a thousand and four hundred kilometers just to fly kites for a couple of hours!

– And the weather?
– They say it will rain!

Liguria … distant and – soaked.

We climbed into a van that early Friday afternoon – “we” this time included the Croatian Kite Association, as Žuža and Žare of Zmajoljupci joined us for the trip – and hit the road.

Oh, how long the road is!
Oh, my valiant steed!

Liguria. Distant and lonely.

When we … docked in front of Hotel Tirreno in Spotorno, the loooong drive was instantly forgotten.

Festival del Vento in Spotorno is basically the first kite festival of the year in Europe, the opening of the kite season here. So the first couple of hours are just saying hello and hugging and laughing, as the kiters finally got together again after a long cold winter.

Hello! Hi! Oh hi, you are here too! Oh look, Gadis! And Massimo! Susanna! Antonio! Daniela! Roberto! Giancarlo! The other Giancarlo! Liana! Sandro! Gerhard! Alona! Andrea! Alessandro! …

Hours of hugs 🙂

After a long and exhausting Friday night – the rain conspired with the wind to create a vicious downpour no shelter could keep out, so when you went for a smoke you got a free cold shower on full power for free – the morning was sunny and promising. We staked our piece of land, unloaded the kites …

… and unleashed them into the sky.

The wind blowing across the bay and down the mountains got quite confused as from which direction it should blow, and turbulent layers wrought havoc on every kite aspiring for height. Which was especially troubling kite aerial photographers …

Master István getting ready

It was a pleasure discussing tricks of the trade, cameras, kites, and picavets and other rigs (one 3D printed simple rig that rotates on shaking the kite line was really amazing!) with István and Bert and other KAP masters, but lifting a camera into the sky above Spotorno proved to be very difficult.

We managed to break through the first five or six layers of turbulence and got some decent kite aerial shots – even though the light was not at its best and the photos don’t show neither the beauty of Spotorno nor the colours of the festival …

As the saying goes, for a successful kite festival all you need is friends – and a couple of hours of wind. In this regard, the 23rd Festival del Vento Spotorno was a total success.

Behind a successful kite festival you always find a completely exhausted team of organizers. Giancarlo, Sandro and the rest of the illustrious 30 Kite Club were dead tired when we arrived, and all we could say is that they looked like we felt when we did a festival back in 2022 … but nothing a couple of cold ones couldn’t heal!

Where the hell did we bury our beer last night!?

Anyway, we got a few hours of wind. Unfortunately, the sun soon hid behind the clouds, so the light was rather dull and the photos are not that spectacular. Well, at least our photos aren’t – go check out Giancarlo’s, or Daniela and Gerhard’s masterpieces to see the beauty of the Spotorno kite festival!

We had a lot of fun, and naturally the exuberant wind wanted to join in. But since the Ligurian wind is like a little child, its idea of “fun” was throwing things around and laughing hysterically …

The Tyrrhenian sea was excited about the festival too – so the wind gave it a kite!

Unfortunately, it was our kite …

Photo by Gerhard & Daniela Zitzmann

Since the poor trilobite got a thorough washing, we had to put it out to dry – and what is simpler than drying a wet kite: just bring it up and the wind does the rest!

It joined its flying comrades, a bit embarrassed, a bit moist, but glad to be a part of the show 🙂

Kite flyers want to fly kites, to have fun, and to learn something new.

So in the evening Roberto had a workshop, a demonstration of how to make a decent appliqué on a kite. To be honest, we are still rather far from this mastery:

The hours behind the sewing machine are nothing – it’s the years, the decades of trying, learning, failing and succeeding …

And then it was dinner time …

Spotorno is in Liguria, Liguria is in Italy, and all Italian kite festival have something in common.

Great food!

Dal bosco al mare … Liguria, where the mountains fall pretty much straight into the Tyrrhenian sea, has a pretty unique – and pretty fantastic! – cuisine. And we were fortunate to taste it for two days straight … first all the pizzas and pizzettas and focaccias and whatnot, and later sumptuous Tyrrhenian dinners at – who’d guess – Hotel Tirreno

Topped up with a special cake celebrating the 23rd birthday of the Festival!

The rain started in the evening and kept falling through the night … and the next morning. Of course the organizing team had a plan B – a perfect indoor beach volleyball hall, with soft sand ready for eager indoor kite ballerine and ballerini … The real problem was how to get there.

The place was just 3 minutes walk from our hotel, but it was still raining, so we took the van. And on the first roundabout the street leading to the ASD Pallabeach Village was closed.

Because it was flooded.

We took another route and found ourselves on a steep road going into the mountains above Spotorno. We turned around, got lost between the railroad and another flooded street, drove on a hunch into a narrow passage that turned out to be a dead end, made a couple of increasingly bizarre and aimless circles, and finally parked the car where we felt the hall was close.

It wasn’t.

We managed to catch the masters of indoor kite flying, enjoyed the show for a while, and then it was time to hit the road …

Of course, we had to hug everyone first, so we left Spotorno at noon.

We climbed into the van – and went on a looooong way home …

Thank you all, it was a fantastic kite festival!

Liguria … distant and beautiful.

Kite aerial photos shot with Nikon P330 on The Original Blue rokkaku by Dr.Agon kites.

See you at the next festival!

5 thoughts on “Distant Winds: 23rd Festival del Vento, Spotorno”

  1. Thanks KAP jasa, always a pleasure to meet you and Croatian team !

    it is always pure fun to read how you describe the days, the place, the people…. YES Liguria is far away from your country but we will be pleased of coming again to Slovenia that is not exactly close to Milano area….

    it is a GREAT pleasure to see how much you have grown-up in skills, know-how, capability of reporting…. GREAT congratulations

    SMAC from Italy

  2. Thanks KAP jasa, always a pleasure to meet you and Croatian team !

    it is always pure fun to read how you describe the days, the place, the people…. YES Liguria is far away from your country but we will be pleased of coming again to Slovenia that is not exactly close to Milano area….

    for me it is GREAT pleasure to see how much you have grown-up in skill, know-how, capability of reporting…. congratulations

    SMAC from Italy

    • Our places are far apart only if you look at the kilometres. Participating at Festival del Vento, meeting you and everyone else was totally worth every minute on the road. It was fun, it was emotional, and it was beautiful – we wouldn’t miss it for the world. Thank you! 🙂

      See you soon!

  3. I very much enjoyed to see the pictures! What a fun time that must have been. The kites were all so unique and full of imagination. I hope sometime I can participate in such a colorful and fun event. Thanks for sharing, it was AWESOME to see~


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