Every year, the Italian wine world gathers in Verona in the weeks that lead up to Easter at Vinitaly: The Italian wine industry’s largest wine trade fair and tasting and, according to some trade observers, “the largest wine show in the world” (see the Wikipedia entry here for some background on the fair and its importance on the Italian wine community’s calendar).
Now in its 51st year (the inaugural gathering was held in 1967), the fair extends over 95,000 sq. ft. of the Veronafiere (Verona Fairs) grounds each year, hosting more than 4,000 presenting wineries and more than 150,000 visitors.
As you prepare to attend the fair, we highly recommend that you visit this page on the fair’s website for attendee information.
In particular, be sure to download a copy of the fairground’s map.
Another very useful tool is the searchable online directory of exhibitors (called a “catalog” on the site).
In recent years, exhibitors and attendees alike have welcomed the addition of parking shuttle buses, which make it a lot easier to reach the fairgrounds.
If you haven’t already reserved your accommodations, you might find it challenging to reserve anything in Verona or immediate surroundings. Most hotels are fully booked by October of the previous year (as a rule of thumb).
One solution is to stay in neighboring cities like Vicenza (to the east) and/or Desenzano (to the west): You generally can find last-minute lodging there and Vicenza is just a 20-minute train ride to Verona, while Vicenza is a 25-minute ride.
Dining in Verona can be another challenge during the fair. Most of the restaurants are booked well in advance and unless you attend a dinner organized exhibitors or marketers, it’s almost impossible to find tables available in the historic center of Verona. But if you venture out beyond the city’s historic center, you will find some dining options still available.
One secret of professional fair-goers is that many exhibitors have excellent artisanal salumi that they share with tasters.
Many attendees and exhibitors will agree that Vinitaly’s greatest conundrum is parking. Finding space for your car can be extremely challenging, even though the situation has gotten a little better in recent years.
We wish everyone a great and productive fair experience.
Image via Fabio Ingrosso’s Flickr Creative Commons.