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Traditions and folklore - Consorzio Turistico Vicenzaè

Traditions and folklore

Fairs and Festivals


In Durlo di Crespadoro the cultivation of chestnuts is once again becoming of fundamental importance to the local agricultural economy. The production of chestnuts was once indispensable, as many farms integrated their income with the direct sale of this product. In the period between 1960 and 1980 chestnut cultivation was almost abandoned, as young people in particular abandoned the cultivation of agricultural areas in favour of more remunerative employment, following the industrial development of the Chiampo valley. Hence the neglect of orchards and the early death of many plants, which were no longer cared for and treated in an appropriate manner. With the introduction of the chestnut festival in 1978, farmers have once again begun to cultivate this popular and much appreciated fruit, which however has always been considered “the flour of the poor”. The festival is also a showcase for the honey produced in the valley, chestnut honey representing a natural food integrating the diet, thanks to the vitamins, protein and mineral salts it contains. The Festival takes place in October.


The traditional "Grape and Wine Festival", established back in 1974, is organised around the middle of September to promote the main typical product of the area of the Colli Berici. In this area the so-called "magnificent seven" wines, with excellent characteristics (Tocai Rosso, Merlot, Cabernet, Garganego, Tocai Bianco, Sauvignon and Pinot Bianco) stand out, in terms of their simplicity and distinction. The festival also promotes other typical local products in addition to wine, such as cheese, milk, oil, honey, ham etc., with a fair and market aiming to combine D.O.C. wines with typical dishes and products from Vicenza.


The first “Wine Fair” was organised on Easter Monday in 1970 by the " organising committee of the Festival of D.O.C. wine from Selva” and was held in the village of Selva in the commune of Montebello, where it still takes place. In the light of their day-to-day experience of the many problems linked to the cultivation of vines, the wine producers in the area were aware that the wine produced in the area was undoubtedly of excellent quality, but little known and thus in 1970 they decided to organise an event, initially called the "Festival of DOC Gambellara wine" (Gambellara, Recioto di Gambellara, Vino Santo di Gambellara), with the scope of promoting this product and making it better known, above all outside the province. Considering the problem and recalling a traditional fair which was held on Easter Monday, they came up with the idea of holding the “Wine Festival” on this day. Over the years the event has been extended to include a competition for DOC Gambellara wines, while cultural events and meetings, entertainment and various kinds of attractions are organised to provide a suitable framework for the event.


This festival of edible snails takes place every year on 8 December and was conceived with the idea of promoting a humble, but valuable product of the area in the shadow of the mountains surrounding the Chiampo valley. The event, while relatively recent, having been established in 1981, has its roots in a long-standing tradition, represented by an annual market which took place on the second Thursday in December. Today the "Sagra dei Corgnoli" (Snail Festival) is also a festival of agriculture, tourism, folklore, fraternity and good country cooking.

Exhibitions and fairs


Mostre e fiere The Lonigo fair, which has taken place for more than five centuries, has its origins in popular and religious traditions; it is indeed recounted that on 30 April 1486, returning from the Lonigo market on Monday, two cobblers from Verona, Giovanni Antonio and Guglielmo, killed their unfortunate travelling companion, a certain Giovampietro, with the scope of stealing his possessions. Having committed the murder they hid in the small abandoned church of S. Pietro, in the village of Pavarano, to divide their ill-gotten gains. Here, one of the two slashed the image of the Madonna painted on a shrine with a knife, as she appeared to be watching them. Then a miracle happened: the Madonna "covered her damaged eye with her left hand, while the other was bent over the wound on her chest ". Since that time, still today, traces of blood can be noted and the effigy of Our Lady of the Miracle has been venerated. Pope Innocenzo VIII had a sanctuary and monastery built at the site of the miracle, entrusting it to the care of the Olivetan Fathers. For three centuries, once news of the miracle had spread, the faithful came from far and wide, gathering together in the square in front of the basilica to venerate Our Lady of the Miracle in March and April. The religious occasion also became an opportunity to meet, do business and conduct negotiations. Thus over time it developed into a fair and progressively lost its religious character, to take on an increasingly clearer commercial role.
In 1806 the fair was moved inside the city walls, becoming even more important. It is not by chance that the Italian army, during the first years following the unification of Italy, came precisely to Lonigo obtain its horses.
The current exhibition area, situated where the race-course once stood, is relatively extensive, allowing the best possible display of the goods at the fair, most of these constructed by craftspeople from the surrounding district.


An asparagus fair and competition, which dates back to the beginning of the century, takes place every year on Sunday at the end of April or the beginning of May. Each year the event, the first to animate the centre of Bassano in spring, attracts thousands of people, thanks not just to the exquisite vegetable, but also to the associated folk events which enliven the fair.
A similar fair and competition is also held at S. Zeno di Cassola at the end of May with the name of "l'asparago d'oro" (the golden asparagus).


The idea of organising a milk and dairy products fair and competition, cultivated for some time by the shopkeepers’ association, the Pro Loco association and the municipal government of Thiene, became a reality back in 1959. The idea did not develop by chance, but was rather a logical outlet and natural consequence of the cultural and economic background, the fruit of solid and deep-rooted traditions. Indeed, Thiene has a long tradition, particularly in the milk and dairy products sector, and since the end of the First World War has also boasted an important school, in many ways unique in Italy, representing one of the most significant civil and social institutions in Thiene. The fair, which takes place on the 3rd Sunday in October biannually (in even-numbered years) has grown year by year. Since 1976, alongside the milk and dairy products fair, the event has also acted as a showcase for machinery and equipment for the milk industry. One peculiarity of the fair is the competition involving all the exhibitors; the best cheese being recognised with the "Spino d'oro" award, while the best butter is given the "Zangola d'oro" award, along with a quality mark which the winners are entitled to adopt for a period of two years.


In Pove, in order to pay due tribute to an agricultural sector which offers considerable prospects for development, a by now well-known fair and market dedicated to olives, derivates and plants in general has taken place since 1982 at the beginning of spring, attracting numerous trade visitors as well as the general public. Although olive-growing in Pove represents a part-time activity, offering only an additional income, the renewed interest in olives and related products is linked not only to the importance of this plant in the area in terms of the landscape and environmental conservation, but also to the rediscovery of the sensory, nutritional and biological characteristics of the olive.


A fair of typical wines from the Colli Berici area, organised by the local authority and the Consorzio Tutela Vini D.O.C. "Colli Berici" takes place in Nanto around the second Sunday in May. The event is made up of two main elements, linked together by the so-called “magnificent seven” typical wines from the Colli Berici. The first sees the tasting and classification of the best wines of the year, while the second revolves around the serving of typical Vicenza dishes with the D.O.C. wines. An international open-air sculpture exhibition called "Nantopietra", by now well-known, takes place at the same time as the wine fair, the artists creating their works in the square, starting from undefined blocks of stone extracted in the Berici hills.


The by now well-established traditional event known as "Maggio Breganzese" takes place between the last two Sundays in May in Breganze. On the two Sundays the event centres around the “magnificent seven D.O.C. wines”, accompanied by typical local dishes, while during the week there are also cultural and folk events, along with other entertainment, setting off the Sunday markets.


Every year, in the last ten days of September, the traditional grape and Recioto wine fair is held in Gambellara. It was established at the beginning of the century as a result of the desire of wine-growers in the area to pay due homage to the most important product in the agricultural economy, which for a long time was the only activity for the people of the area. During the festival there is also an exhibition-competition for the Garganega and Trebbiana grapes used to produce Gambellara D.O.C. wines, the pride of the event.


The fair, held regularly on the first Monday after 8 September in Grisignano, is an age-old tradition, whose origins are lost in time and which is deeply rooted in the traditions, culture and customs of Veneto people in general and the Vicenza people in particular. It is known as the "Soco Fair". The origins of the fair are not altogether clear, lost in time among old stories and legends, the sacred and profane coming together. We must look back around six centuries to the era of the Venetian Republic, when the town had one of the largest annual inland markets. The legends handed down to us, with their mixture of fact and fiction, narrate that even the Saracens reached Grisignano from Venice to trade their exotic products with the local population. The very name of the fair is of uncertain origin. It is indeed recounted that in distant times (the memories date back to 1252) the Madonna appeared to two peasants in the Arlesega area on a tree trunk, right by the place where the local people traditionally held an annual market to exchange the fruit of their hard work in the fields. The faithful had a chapel built to commemorate the miraculous happening and since then the fair has been called "del soco", a dialect term used to indicate a tree stump. The first document which mentions the fair is a proclamation of the superintendents of the Rason Vecchie of the Venetian Republic, dated 12 August 1763, from which we learn that the fair had existed since 1555. In 1965 the fair was updated: whereas before it had been dedicated exclusively to livestock, from then on folklore, cultural and sports events were introduced, while machinery and crafts products were also on show. Naturally the fair also offers an extensive programme of events, including a cycle race, a performance by majorettes, popular dance evenings and a magnificent firework display, together with a funfair and food stands, genuine "tented restaurants", where it is possible to try all the typical products of Veneto cooking, accompanied by the famous local wines.


As far as the origins of the ancient fair are concerned, tradition has it that the fair is linked to the worship of S. Valentino. The official date for the birth of this old agricultural fair is commonly given as 1748. It took place on the Sunday closest to St Valentine’s day in the meadows surrounding the small church of S. Valentino, which was to become the symbol of the fair. In 1956, given the increasing numbers of people attending the event, the municipal government decide to transfer the fair along the Pozzoleone road. The Pozzoleone fair is rightly considered to act as a preview for the better known and important international agriculture fair which takes place in Verona. There are also a number of lively and entertaining initiatives.


The first local crafts fair took place in 1973 thanks to the commitment of a group of local craftsmen within the Pro Loco association in Marano, set up in the same year. The aim was to promote traditional crafts from Marano within the area, such crafts activities having become renowned in Italy and abroad from the very beginning of the 20th century in terms of their quality and the unique nature of the products. The fair expanded until in 1977 it was decided to continue to give the main emphasis to the craft sector, but without excluding the commercial sector. Currently the event, which takes place every year at the end of September and is open to the various market sectors present in the area, is essentially a trade fair. Each year a specific sector is chosen for special but not exclusive emphasis.


The first "Sandra" cherry festival took place in Pianezze on Sunday 23 May 1971, following an initiative of the A.C.L.I. club, with the collaboration of the local authority and the 3P club. Since then it has taken place every year. Thanks to the early maturing of the cherries, a characteristics of the Sandra variety, it usually takes place before other similar fairs. The fair usually takes place on the first or second Sunday in June.


In the first fifteen days of June the traditional "Cherry fair in the foothills from the Astico valley to the River Brenta "takes place in Mason, attracting thousands of visitors and products from all over the province. The fair has the scope of recognising and rewarding the best examples of each variety of cherry, exhibited by individuals or groups and judged by an expert commission.


The cherry fair has always been extremely important in the life of peasants and farmers, who seized the opportunity to show off the best products of their farms. The fair takes place on the second or third Sunday in May, offering the chance to spend a relaxing and enjoyable time among friends.


"Pissota" is a form of bingo with real-life human figures, a popular traditional game of Roman origin, which brings alive the stories of a time gone by, recreating the family values associated with coming together around the "filò" in the stables or at the firesides in the Bassano area.
The 64 figures which make up the "Pissota" combine allegorical images and images linked to life in the fields and the work of craftsmen, recalling the simple daily life of times gone by, times which should not be forgotten.
Together with pottery from Nove, the "Pissota" is the other main protagonist in terms of the traditions and cultural heritage of this part of Veneto.

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