Notable Events - A selection of the many goings on, throughout the year, in and around Vicenza.
Each week you will find plenty of interesting activities including concerts of all musical genres, exhibitions, shows, and general cultural events. For a more detailed view, once in town, you can pick up a free bimonthly guide, aptly named Informacittà, at the Informagiovani centre, situated on via Levā degli Angeli, around the corner from the Teatro Olimpico.
Among the most regular happenings are the Tuesday and mainly the Thursday morning markets that take place in the town centre directly in the main squares and where you will find every kind of ware: from local produce such as Asiago cheese, to kitchen utensils, to clothing, to antique furniture.
Over the winter holiday season there are a series of quite spectacular and busy festive markets, which concentrate on books, gifts and specialty foods, including local organic produce, leading up to Christmas and the Epiphany.
Vicenza also hosts occasional special interest markets, such as those for antiques and organic foods. Currrently you will find a range of locally grown organic (in Italian biologico) products every Saturday morning between 8 AM and 1 PM, in the Piazza delle Erbe, behind Palladio's Basilica. If you have a special interest in either of these areas, for more information give the local tourist board a call on +39 0444 320854
Feste and Sagre
Feste and Sagre are yearly village or neighbourhood fairs that span a few days to a week; there are scores of them throughout Vicenza and province. They are usually based around a theme, typically a local dish or wine, and are an excellent way to sample these in a characteristic setting, often with a live music accompaniment. You will find the greatest concentration in spring to early summer as well as the month of September. The aforementioned Informacittà will give you more details - or better just wander into a bar full of locals and ask away.
The 8th of September, is the date of the city’s yearly festivity in honour of the patron saint of Vicenza, the Blessed Virgin Mary of Monte Berico. Amidst other more solemn celebrations, the Corso Palladio, Vicenza’s high street, is blocked off and tables spanning its entire length are beautifully decked out for a sumptuous meal, open to your participation for a princely sum or free, if you happen to be a VIP.
Palladio’s great Basilica itself functions as an exhibition centre. During most of the year, either the main hall, the Salone degli Zavatteri hall, or the LaMec gallery host a series of events, often of international renown. The main hall's exhibitions are typically in the field of modern architecture, the Zavatteri usually covers arts and crafts, and the LaMec is a contemporary art exhibition gallery.
Vicenza also has a more modern exhibition complex, the Fiera di Vicenza, just out of town that provides for a full calendar of public as well as trade-only fairs, such as the well known Vicenzaoro gold fairs.
Music and Drama
Classical concerts are held throughout Vicenza province all year. From April to June the Palladian Teatro Olimpico provides the ultimate setting for international-level orchestral and chamber music as well as solo recitals.
In March and April the aforementioned Fiera di Vicenza hosts a festival of contemporary and classical dance.
Every May, Vicenza Jazz, international jazz festival get under way bringing the streets, bars and piazzas alive with numerous outdoor performances, along side the more usual theatrical venues. This year's festival line-up is set to include: Brad Mehldau, John Surman, Archie Shepp, Paolo Fresu, John Taylor, Andrew Hill , Horacio "El Negro", Charles Tolliver, Norma Winstone and Fred Hersch to name but a few.
The Teatro Olimpico also hosts a drama season in September and October, returning in spectacular style to its original raison d’être. The plays normally include the well known favourites of classical tragedy. You should note that these are usually in Italian, with the occasional notable exception, such as the recent Globe Theatre (London) production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Operaestate is a Veneto-wide summer festival of opera, theatre, and culture, it includes many open air performances in spectacular settings. The town of Bassano del Grappa provides the organisational centre and main venue. This year's program will include performances of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci as well as by the Martha Graham Dance Company.