Heading to VinItaly? Seven, make that eight, tips to keep in mind
As sure as the swallows return each spring to the old mission at San Juan Capistrano, Italian winemakers each spring pack up their road show and head to Verona for the annual return of VinItaly, which bills itself as the world’s leading wine trade fair.
This year’s event (April 10-13) marks VinItaly’s 50th anniversary and understandably the buzz has been in the air for months, since no one can outdo the Italians when it comes to celebrating big events, especially one that attracts an international audience (last year more than 150,000 attendees from 30 countries) of wine buyers, importers, critics and wine lovers.
It can be a bit overwhelming – this year’s fair is expected to feature more than 4,100 exhibitors covering an impressive 100,000 square meters (that’s about 1.07 million square feet) of exhibition space. That’s big.
Because of the magnitude of the event, and the all-too-real possibility of scurrying around for four days and still missing some of the best attractions, I was bemused and relieved when I read Susannah Gold’s well-done blog posting “Checklist for VinItaly: Seven Tips for Enjoying the Fair.”
Susannah is fluent in Italian and she’s frequently come to my rescue when navigating VinItaly’s cavernous exhibition halls and discussing the finer points of winemaking with Italians who speak, well, Italian, what else?
But I also can speak from experience about one thing, and that’s the finer points of paying international traffic fines.
Hey, it’s not like I’m a scofflaw and I understand and try to abide by international driving signs, but three tickets in the last five trips? I must be doing something right.
The latest really surprised me, since it arrived just last week as I was packing for this year’s trip. At first I thought the Italian authorities had decided to be pro-active and get it over before I even arrived in Verona, but a closer look revealed the ticket was issued 10:33 p.m. March 22, 2015.
It turns out Italian authorities have up to one year to issue a traffic ticket to a foreigner and, given the intricacies of Italian bureaucracy, it may take a year for the ticket to reach you.
Funny, but this time I remember what happened. It was late and dark and I was driving around the area near Ponte Della Vittoria, which crosses the Adige River just a few blocks north of the Arena di Verona, trying to find a wine tasting but having no luck.
I finally pulled into a small space in what I thought (honest!) was public parking and wandered off for a late dinner in this tucked-away trattoria.
But apparently I was wrong. I’m not sure what would happen if I didn’t pay the fine but some countries (including the U.S.) can refuse your visa until the matter is squared away.
Not wanting to create an international incident, I paid the 105.40 Euro (about $120 US) fine and figure it’s another lesson learned.
That, and the ability to say, “Dove posso pagare la multa?” Where do I pay the fine?