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.
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.
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.
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.
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.