Folklore of the Veneto: a living tradition


To fully complete the identikit of the Veneto there are the traditions of its people: all of which have origins lying far back in time, yet play a key role in the life of today. There is not one area in the region in this is not true: in addition to the dialect, every corner of the Veneto has its customs to which the respective community feels it represents. These may be connected to magic and superstition, or are revived through sacred processions, fairs, games and parades bringing alive the history of the city or individual village.

One of the most representative manifestations of this is surely the Carnival, which in Venice,Verona and Belluno assumes slightly different connotations with their masks, particular days and central attractions of the festival: for example in the province of Belluno the Zingheneta is selected (the most beautiful girl of the area, dressed in gaily-coloured gypsy costume), while at Verona it is the Papà dello Gnocco; at Sappada there are three Sundays of festival, one dedicated to the poor, one for the farmers and the last for the lords.

Particularly striking is the annual Historical Regatta at Venice, which takes place the first Sunday of September along the waters of the Grand Canal, with replicas of the typical 16th century boats and the participation of the entire city in memory of the gesture of Caterina Cornaro, bride of the King of Cyprus, who in 1489 was compelled to renounce her kingdom to Venice. Not to mention the human chess game at Marostica, the Palio of Montagnana and the Palio della Marciliana in Chioggia, just recently returned to the splendours of the past.

Among the religious celebrations may be mentioned the feast of the Redentore at Venice on the third Sunday of July, which symbolises the end of the plague in the 16th century and which consists of the Saturday night of banquetting and dancing in the lanes and squares followed by a firework display, and the Sunday's processions culminating in the arrival at the church of Redentore by crossing a long bridge made of boats. Tradition has it that the ceasing of the plague was due to the intervention of the Virgin.

There are many ways to experience the folklore of Veneto however, not simply following the calendar. In fact there are a huge number of country fairs, with typical produce of the zone and season (such as asparagus in Bassano del Grappa, red radish at Treviso, the Prosecco of Valdobbiadene, the cherries of Marostica or the terracotta whistles known as cucchi of S. Gottardo in Asolo), the simple but time-honoured daily rituals of the osteria, and other customs more hidden but nevertheless fascinating, such as the Grand Rogation of Asiago, involving a 30 km procession through stunning scenery.

Venetoinside offers different activities to help you to get in touch with Veneto’s old traditions: in our Tour section you can find many ideas to enrich your visit beyond the usual guided tours… Moreover, on the occasion of Venice’s most important traditional festivals, such as the Carnival, the Redentore and the Historical Regatta, you will find online some offers to live these extraordinary historical events as real protagonists!

To know the dates and the programme of the most important events in Veneto, check our Events Section!