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Com’è triste Venezia

Italy is a very traditional country, where festivals and special occasions are celebrated with vigor. You may have heard of the Venice Carnival, a vibrant affair and famous throughout the world. You have however, probably not heard of the Verona equivalent, a much less formal event mainly aimed at entertaining children. When asked about the reason for this carnival, my airbnb host simply replied “perché carnevale” (“because carnival”). With that meaty explanation I was inspired to experience the festival first hand. I must admit that I was slightly puzzled by the enormous and completely garish carnival procession but I went home covered in confetti and filled with joy.

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The Colomba di Pasqua is a traditional Italian Easter cake, made into the shape of a dove and is fairly similar to the christmas variety calle panettone. I mean, it tastes ok, I wouldn’t rush out to buy one and would definitely prefer a nice hot cross bun! This is perhaps the only Italian food that I didn’t particularly warm to.

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Regional food is one Italy’s greatest defining features and I have to say that ragu with muso was my favourite Veronese dish. This brings me to Italian dialects; muso in the Veneto means asino, which in english is, you guessed it, donkey! Who knew, donkey is delicious.

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Now by far one my favourite traditions comes from the Marche region. The name of it escapes me but I will do my best to explain. First of all when a child is born ribbons and bunting and bows and more ribbons cover the house in honour of the birth, pink for a girl, blue for a boy. They then stay there for what appears to be months. This may seem a little unnecessary to most people but that’s really only the beginning. A tradition less popular today for obvious reasons involves chopping down a huge tree, propping it in the garden and putting a bike on top of it, at least so I’m told.

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And finally in Naples, if you give someone a chili, real or made of terracotta it brings them good luck. I bought ten to give to friends and family so I’m hoping I get some off shoot luck.

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Bethan Evans

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