HIDDEN TREASURES

Anecdotes and Curiosities about Venice and other cities in Veneto: history, secrets and legends

Discover a different side of this wonderful Italian region

Hidden Treasures is a weekly column on venetoinside.com dedicated to those who wish to learn about legends, secrets and mysteries of the lesser-known sights of Venice as well as off-the-beaten track locations, amusing anecdotes related to the other main cities - Verona, Vicenza, Padova, Treviso and Belluno – and the picturesque towns of our region.

Our stories aim to accompany you in the discovery of the most interesting aspects of Venice and Veneto related to history and folklore, mysterious places and famous works of art, monuments and ancient traditions! We will reveal the hidden treasures of Venice that make up the most mysterious and fascinating character of the city as well as the mysteries of the lagoon and original tales, all based on a foundation of historical fact, without forgetting the intriguing anecdotes on the other pearls of Veneto, such as Treviso, Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Belluno, picturesque villages, the awe-inspiring Dolomites, Lake Garda... Week after week we will disclose the most captivating secrets of our land combining art, culture, tradition, mystery and legend!

Hidden Treasures is a true tourist guide to the secrets and mysteries of Venice and Veneto ... Make yourself comfortable! Exciting reading awaits you with stories and legends never told before which will excite your curiosity and encourage you to visit the places you will learn about...

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Highlights

Frittelle_di_carnevale

History of the Queen of Venice Carnival: Frittella!

It is Carnival time...and what could be better than biting into a soft and tasty Venetian frittella? Frittella, ‘fritoea or fritola’ in dialect, is the king sweet of the Venice Carnival and has always been considered the national dessert of the Serenissima Republic. During the Carnival period, the windows of all the pastry shops from Venice to the gates of Milan are a celebration of frittelle of all kinds: they can be filled with cream, zabaione (Marsala-flavored egg-cream), chocolate, pistachio or raisins ... but what is the history of this amazing sweet? The history of frittelle dates back to the second half of the 14th century and their recipe is one of the oldest preserved in the Canatense Library in Rome. Then there is a Renaissance version of the ‘fritoea’ which was included in Bartolomeo Scappi's cooking notes present in a number of documents at the Correr Museum in Venice. In the past, this Venetian fritter was produced exclusively by fritoleri, who formed a corporation in 1600 to safeguard the exclusivity and official nature of their craft: there were seventy members, each based in their own area where to they carried out their profession in an exclusive way, with the guarantee that only their children could succeed them, thus passing on this precious art from father to son for generations. This activity only ended in the late 19th century. The frittella was so well known and appreciated that it is present in various arts and literary works. One of the most famous examples is the painting by Pietro Longhi, now preserved in Ca ’Rezzonico, which depicts ‘The seller of frittole’ offering a nobleman her sweets on a skewer. Even Carlo Goldoni talks about the frittella in his Commedia ‘Il Campiello’, whose protagonist, Orsola, is precisely a fritolera! Both works offer evidence of how established and common in everyday life was the figure of the fritolero, who used to knead the dough sweets in the squares and streets, frying them and coating them with plenty of sugar. Just mouthwatering, don’t you think? Then this is the best time to taste a good frittella in one of the many pastry shops in Venice ... and between a Venetian frittella and a cream one, experience the magic of Carnival thanks to our masquerade balls! Fun is guaranteed!

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