The city of Melfi is also known for being the home of the marroncino, a chestnut grown in the Vulture area, in particular in the Melfi area. It is thought that the chestnut tree, an integral part of the landscape of the whole area, was imported from Turkey by Frederick II. This ruler was closely linked to the city of Melfi, where he also promulgated the famous Frederician Constitutions.
Marrancio is a variety of chestnuts that can be eaten fresh, therefore highly sought after for making marrons-glacés. It is a large fruit, with a rounded shape and a glossy brown colour with evident stripes. The harvest takes place in the months of September and October.
The Varola festival celebrates this food, which is the symbol of autumn in Melfi. The name of the festival comes from the large perforated iron pan that is used to roast chestnuts over the fire. For the occasion, the city becomes a large forest, with stands in the shape of typical mountain huts, showcasing many foods produced with this fruit. The festival is therefore an opportunity to taste chestnuts not only as roasted chestnuts, but in numerous sweet and savoury recipes strictly accompanied by the robust Aglianico del Vulture wine.