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1- Santa Lucia’s markets
Santa Lucia’s markets are a traditional market for Santa Lucia’s day (13th of December) usually held in Piazza Bra, via Roma, via Pallone and Piazza Cittadella, in the heart of Verona, where you can find 326 exhibitors from all over Italy that expose their typical and handmade products, offering you an unmissable occasion to find particular stuff.
In the dialect of Verona they are called Banchéti de Santa Lussia, and they are dedicated to Santa Lucia, who lived in Sicily at the end of the III century. According to the tradition, in Verona it is believed that in the night between the 12th and the 13th of December Santa Lucia, with her trusted assistant Castaldo and a donkey, brings sweets and toys to good children, and sweet coal to the bed ones.
This tradition dates back to the XIII century, when a dangerous ill of the eyes spread in Verona, and this ill hit especially children. Parents and relatives started to make a pilgrimage to Santa Agnese church, as a vow to ask to stop the epidemic. Also children were forced to participate to this pilgrimage on bare foot, with the promise that Santa Lucia would have filled their shoes and socks with presents and sweets.
The habit to take the children to the church in Piazza Bra carried on until the XIX century and the presence of so many children and parents in Verona’s biggest square attracted the pedlars of sweets and toys. From here comes the “Santa Lucia’s fair”.
To crown the atmosphere was built an enormous arch sculpture by Olivieri: a illuminated Christmas comet that stats into the Arena wall and dive sparkling in Piazza Bra, inviting the people to visit the annual Christmas Cribs exhibition (Rassegna dei presepi), in the aisles of the ancient Roman amphitheatre.
2- Verona in Love
Since centuries Verona rhymes with Love. And if Shakespeare sanctified the city by setting in Verona the unforgettable “Romeo and Juliet”, it is impossible to think of a better city to celebrate your own Valentine’s Day. Every year, in these days (from the 14th to the 17th of February), Verona becomes the City of Love, capital of lover, a town that blossom under the touch of Love, a city center lighten up by people, colours and music. The squares of the city center, in particular piazza Bra, piazza dei Signori and Cortile Mercato Vecchio, are the heart of this event.
Piazza dei Signori usually hosts “A heart to discover” (“Un cuore da scoprire”), the typical heart-shaped market where you will find thematic gift ideas and particular objects for you Valentine’s Day, whereas the near Loggiato di Fra’ Giocondo becomes “Loggiato in Love”, a particular tasting area where you will find and discover famous and traditional confectionary products and wines.
In Cortile Mercato Vecchio you must not lose “The message of the heart” (“Il messaggio del cuore”), the particular board where you can leave a message or dedication to your beloved, or the “Love seal” (“Sigillo d’amore”), a parchment that testify the lovers’ feelings with a sealing wax..
The soundtrack of the festival is the music of “Live in Love”, which will be stopped by a coloured and heart-shaped confetti rain called “Soffi d’Amore”. Under this rain thousands of lovers could kiss each other for a minute. For those who love writing love letters, each day on the 14th of February, there is the award ceremony of the prize “Dear Juliet” (“Cara Giulietta”), dedicated to the most beautiful and passionate love letters, written to the young Capuleti from all over the world.
But Verona in Love is also love illuminations in the streets of the city center, thematically decorated shop windows, discounts in the monuments dedicated to Juliet, striking performances in theatres and astonishing new events every year.
A large-scale festival, with lots of initiatives to satisfy every person: The most romantic with the one-minute long kiss, the sports addicted with the marathon through the city center, the artists with exhibitions in the great palaces in Verona, the music lovers with choir performances in the squares and also the most greedy with chocolate sculptures and the famous heart shaped market that became the symbol of Verona in Love.
If you love someone bring them to Verona!
Pandoro is a typical Christmas cake from Verona. It was created at the end of the XIX century and it comes from the “pan de oro” (golden bread, a typical Christmas cake of Venice) and the “nadalin”, that has been famous from the Medieval Age as a Christmas cake. The official birth dates back to the 14th of October 1894, when the baker Domenico Melegatti, founder of the confectionary industry with the same name, got the official patent to realize a soft cake, which shape was invented by the impressionist painter Angelo Dall’Oca Bianca and is like an eight-pointed star. The Pandoro of Verona is a soft and gilded cake, smelling of vanilla, sugar and butter. Without custard, chocolate or candied fruit, it is served with a wipe of icing sugar, to be dusted just before cutting the cake, so it will not lose its soft consistency. With the Panettone of Milan is one of the most famous and beloved Christmas cakes in Italy.
Ingredients: 600 gr flour, 250 gr butter, 8 eggs, 200 gr sugar, 30 gr brewer’s yeast, ½ glass single cream, 50 gr icing sugar, grated lemon peel, 1 bag vanillin.
4- The “Bacanal del Gnoco” – Verona’s Carnival
Dating back to the middle Ages, Verona’s Carnival, whose original name is “Bacanal del Gnoco”, has its roots during the years of Tomaso Vico, a XVI-century doctor that wrote in his testament to distribute every year food and nourishment to the population of St. Zeno’s area. It can be considered the most ancient Carnival in Europe that survived until nowadays. In “Istoria Veronese” (a book containing the history of Verona) written by Girolamo Dalla Corte, it is narrated that Verona was being destroyed by a disastrous famine, because of the devastating floods of the river Adige (1520-1531) and the raids of the landsknechts of Carlo V. Because of these events and the uncertainty to find raw materials, the bakers (“pistori” in the dialect of Verona) raised the price of the bread. As long as the population had few money and that there were no interest in producing bread, the bakers decided to stop the production and they did not even sell their bread. But the 18th of June 1531 the population rose in the area of San Zeno, assaulting bakers and grabbing bread and wheat. The spreading revolution was stopped by the intervention of some citizens that decided to feed the poorest people with their own money. The tradition says that also Da Vico was between them, and he is indicated as “instructor and restorer” of the “Baccanale del Gnocco”, because he decided to give bread, butter, wine and so on to the poor people of his city. In piazza San Zeno there is a stone table: It is where on the Friday before Lent (called Venardi Consolàr, Consolation Friday) all the poor people were invited to eat. From this event on, it is tradition in Verona and in the surrounding area to eat for lunch handmade gnocchi on the Friday before Lent.
In 2016 will be celebrated the 486th Bacanàl del Gnocco, the first had been celebrated in 1531.
Vinitaly is the international wine and spirits fair, which takes place in Verona every year since 1967. Vinitaly occupies more than 95,000 m2 with more than 4,000 exhibitors and records about 150,000 visitors every year. The fair receives producers, importers, distributors, restorateurs, experts, journalists and opinion leaders coming from all over the world. It hosts also more than 50 thematic tasting every year, with wines from Italy and from abroad and with a program built to face the most important problems related to the demand and supply of the wine market.
The fair has not only expositive areas dedicated to the wine producers, but also workshops, buyers clubs and special area dedicated to the promotion of the label Made in Italy and the emergent companies. During this exhibition are also organized competitions and international prizes, the most famous are: The International Oenological Competition, the International Packaging Competition and the International Vinitaly Prize that, combined with the International Wine and Spirit Competition, aims to promote the oenological culture in the world.
At the same time of the Vinitaly, there are also the Extra virgin Olive Oil Fair, the Agrifood Club, the Quality Agrifood Fair and Enolithec, the International Exhibition of Viticulture Technologies, Enology and Technologies related to the growth of olives and the production of olive oil.
Moreover, Vinitaly organizes Vinitaly for You, a winebar event open to all the wine lovers, held in the city center of Verona, in the wonderful location of palazzo della Gran Guardia in Piazza Bra.
Vinitaly has also the role of ambassador of the Italian wines in the world, through Vinitaly in the World, organizing events in the most important and strategic international areas.