If you've been following me for a while you know how much I've rubbished the organisation of Verona Fiere for the 49th edition of Vinitaly, but if you don't, I advise you to read Vinitaly, another love story -ended tragically- in Verona which even the title suggests a less than happy tone compared to the last edition of the event. This time, however, I can't pretend it's not happening: I have been to Vinitaly every day except Sunday and I know exactly what I'm talking about!


On Monday I went to Vinitaly by car. I was leaving from Lovere, Alto Sebino, in the province of Bergamo. I left around 8:20 a.m. and arrived very late because of an accident in the Sommacampagna area which caused about 2 hours of queues and delays. And then because I missed the Verona Nord exit twice and went up and down Nogarole Rocca - Sommacampagna four times (but it was my fault for being distracted, not someone else's!). Once I arrived in Verona, I was practically in front of the entrance to Vinitaly in 5 minutes from the motorway tollbooth, and I parked for free about 1 km from the fairgrounds (more than anything else, since I have to lose weight in anticipation of consuming millions of calories, it was good for me to walk a bit). In the evening I found no queues, but I left just after dinner at around 10pm.

On Tuesday, mindful of Monday's incident, I went by train. I left Pisogne at 7:31 and arrived in Verona at 10:20. From there I didn't even wait 1 second for the shuttle (there were 3 ready to leave) and in less than 10 minutes I was in front of the main entrance to Verona Fiere. Ditto on the way back: I took the shuttle at about 18:00 and at 18:40 I was on the train eating a sunflower seed pipas. Apart from a train delay of about five minutes, the journey was smooth as silk. And if you want to blame Verona Fiere for the fact that there were too many people on the outward train and I was standing the whole way... well, I invite you to get on a regional train from Ravenna to Rimini this summer and tell me if you can find a seat!

On Wednesday I decided that the train was not for me and braved the queues and the traffic. Result? I left at 9 a.m. and by 10.30 a.m. I was in Verona, parked at the usual place on Monday. I was inside the fairground before 11 a.m. I got back impeccably, I left around 5 p.m. and I didn't find a minute of traffic jams, just a few delays up to Sommacampagna, but it took me less than an hour and a half to cover 159 km, so I can't complain.

The parking price of €25 is absolutely inconceivable, at the Fiera di Milano it costs €16.50 and that is no small difference at all! I would add that I found it absurd to put bans on most of the available parking spaces in order to get people to spend €25, a way of making money that makes little sense to me... Apart from that, those who complain about the overall trip and the time, I was at the Salone del Mobile both yesterday and Friday (that's why I waited to write this article) and Milan was unmanageable! Hours and hours queuing to get in, hours and hours to get out, at all hours there was not a shred of salvation. So?


Granted that I had been accredited directly by Verona Fiere and therefore did not pay the entrance fee, I read on Dissapore - Vinitaly 2016: we move it to Milan -  that no one paid them and that everyone was entering and leaving blissfully through the turnstiles. I must have a bunch of asshole friends then, because they did pay for their tickets (36.50 € sommeliers the most, a couple the 80 € one without reductions). Even people I met at Vinitaly blissfully showed me their entrance tickets (I did a little investigation asking here and there in order to write this article). I absolutely agree with Verona Fiere's method of charging 80 € for admission to deter drunks (do you know how many bottles of cheap wine you can buy for 80 €?) and I honestly didn't see any drunks vomiting here and there! I happened to see a few guys sitting on the ground eating a sandwich outside the pavilions, and I don't see anything wrong with that: I did that too since there were few seats! Well, if I can make a criticism it is precisely that there were not many places to sit outside the pavilions! But from here to pointing at some guy with two tattoos eating a sandwich on the floor as a drunkard, I have to laugh... or cry!

I did indeed see queues at the entrance, but only at Vinitaly's main entrance: Teodorico and San Zeno were always empty, so much so that I only entered the press entrance once! But do we really all have to queue up to enter from the main entrance (Cangrande) with 4 entrances available? I really don't understand this...

As for going through the turnstiles and getting in for free at Vinitaly 2016, I can only tell you that some friends of mine tried with used tickets, but they were out. Not even with the stand passes did they manage the feat, so tight were the controls. Yesterday at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, I entered with a used ticket from a Chinese booth attendant. Do I look Chinese to you? And the operator even read it to me and slipped it in, obviously saying that the ticket had already been used, so he manually opened the entrance for me. Apart from me, everyone before me did this. But let's put on Vinitaly in Milan and everyone pays the entrance fee, don't worry!


Well, I have something to say about that too: apart from the fact that the toilets were so small that I couldn't turn around in them, they were so cramped, I couldn't even bend my legs to pee, it was really a bit of a mess in that respect (I'm only talking about the chemical toilets equipped externally), they were unbelievably clean! It didn't even feel like we were at a fair with so many people: it may have been by chance but I found a cleaning lady for every toilet and complimented her on her impeccable cleanliness every time. Queue? Maybe five minutes in the Piedmont pavilion, apart from that never queued anywhere else! I don't know, maybe I was lucky... in three days I went to the bathroom 7/8 times!

I read about escalators that didn't work for the PalaExpo in Lombardy... even here I must have been lucky because I went up and down 20 times in 2 days!!!

The sandwiches in the cafés at the fair look unbearable, last year I ate one and it was chewy and inside it was half a slice of ham. This year I paid an exorbitant price for a porchetta focaccia (€7.50) at an open-air stand near Agrifood but I must say it was good, tasty and plentiful, so it wasn't all rubbery sandwiches, come on!

The Wi-Fi worked so-so, but maybe it didn't bother me that much because I have some connectivity problems on the lake. I confirm that the speed was better in Milan, but each visitor only had one hour of surfing available... I may prefer the hiccups, but all day long, then it's a matter of opinion!

What was really missing was a place to recharge phones or tablets! First of all because we are in the age of the internet, but then because if one really needs a phone it can be problematic if one finds oneself with a dry battery. This I find really inconceivable: set up corners with sockets as they did for example at Identità Golose I don't find it an epic feat!

To summarise... for me, this Vinitaly 2016 worked much better than all the other Vinitalys (I have attended a dozen or so), but I find that there are things that absolutely must be improved! I don't know why many enthusiasts who attend Vinitaly continue to compare it to the Merano Wine Festival: of course everything is different in Merano, but they are 2 different events that were created with different objectives! In this regard I would make this list, if you have other things to add please leave me a comment:

  1. Drastically reduce the cost of parking and bring it up to the standard of other fairs (around €15 maximum);
  2. Increase the entrances to the fair (e.g. door C was closed)... and try to incentivise people to use the other entrances as well and not just the main one;
  3. Create relaxation areas where people can sit quietly in proportion to the number of people Vinitaly is able to accommodate in order to avoid seeing people eating sandwiches on the floor;
  4. Definitely improve the food offered in the exhibition corners!
  5. Create points where smartphones and tablets can be recharged with sockets of various kinds;
  6. Improving Internet connectivity;
  7. Be even stricter with entry controls (but then you risk increasing queues, don't you?).

I especially invite the producers who participated to leave me their impressions!

Ah one last thing! I didn't find a single minute of queue at any stand... on any day and at any time! Maybe a bit of a crush at Vivit, but apart from that I had a great time. But how is that possible?

P.S. Let it be clear that the Milan Fair is not even comparable with Verona in terms of everything! But I sincerely find it senseless to move Vinitaly to Milan just when the Verona Exhibition Centre has made a move and started to improve. Instead, let us wish Verona Fiere continued improvement and surprise us even more with the 51st edition, where perhaps we will find precisely those things that have not yet worked at this Vinitaly corrected!

See you soon,


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