As Italians come out of months of hibernation, many events and festivals take place to celebrate the sun, new life, food and wine.

One of the month’s most prominent events is Vinitaly, an international wine competition and exposition that is held annually in the north-eastern Italian city of Verona.

The event is regarded as the largest wine exhibition in the world, and is exclusively for wine professionals and experts.

Vinitaly dates back over 50 years and the event’s origins lie in Verona’s traditional annual agricultural market.

A journalist by the name of Angelo Betti believed that the wine industry needed its own event, and so Vinitaly was conceived.

It began in 1967 with a wine tasting day, a chance to appreciate some of the regional wine denominations that had recently been established by the Italian government.

Over half a century later, the event now has in excess of 4,000 exhibitors and showcases around 14,500 wine varieties.

Nowadays, around 150,000 visitors flock to the Verona Trade Centre to participate in the array of tastings, workshops, seminars and events on offer.

For producers in the Italian wine industry, attendance and the reception that their wines receive is considered a barometer for measuring the health and success of the market, particularly for emerging Italian wine regions.

The event is also used as an opportunity by wineries to release new wines and wine styles or announce partnerships with universities, organic and biodynamic wine organisations or even other wineries.

The 52nd edition of Vinitaly will be held from April 15 to 18, 2018.

This year’s event will feature an exhibition dedicated to international wine, and tastings of wines produced from Italy’s north to south, from full-bodied reds to refreshing whites and everything in between.

In addition, the fair also boasts a selection of themed gourmet eateries and “citadels of gastronomy”, where visitors can sample pairings of regional wines and cuisine for an exquisite dining experience.

As well as helping to export Italian wine around the world, Vinitaly has played a major role in establishing wine as a quintessential part of the Italian national identity.

About Verona

The city of Romeo and Juliet, symbol of eternal love, Verona is a major tourist destination for its great historical, architectural and artistic heritage.

Verona was nominated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its urban structure and its architecture, a classic example of a fortified city in different historical moments.

Strolling through the historic centre, it is impossible not to be struck by the majestic Arena di Verona, the world’s best preserved Roman amphitheatre.

Juliet’s house with its famous balcony is one of the major tourist attractions in Verona, which is why the courtyard is always crowded.

The house, a medieval palace, is located on Via Cappello and its foyer is covered with love letters left by  tourists.

The Ponte di Pietra, or “Stonewall Bridge”, is located in one of the most evocative locations in Verona, across the Adige, the second longest river in Italy.

The bridge is the oldest Roman monument in Verona, built in the 1st century BC to substitute a previous wooden bridge.

Its current appearance is the result of several renovations over 2,000 years, between floods, collapses and devastations during World War II.