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The Carnevale of Venice: The ancient origins of Prosecco, the party wine.

If you have ever spent any time in Venice, then you already know: Prosecco is the unofficial wine of the City on the Lagoon.

You really can’t go to any tavern or wine bar there without having a couple of ombre, the Venetian dialectal word for a small glass of wine. And almost universally (in terms of the Venetian universe, that is), the first ombra of the day is almost always Prosecco.

Historically Prosecco is commonly found there because the land of Prosecco is only an hour or so away by car. In antiquity, the many tributaries and canals of the grand Piave river made it easy for wine merchants to bring demijohns full of Prosecco to the city thanks to the water transport systems that had been developed over centuries.

Prosecco is also a natural fit for Venetian cuisine because seafood, with its salty and crunchy flavors and textures, is mirrored and enhanced by Prosecco with its savory character and bubbles.

But there is another important and history reason why Prosecco is so popular there. And that’s because Venice is the home to the Carnevale, the oldest party in the world, some would say.

Ever since the 14th century, Venice was considered — how can we say this? — the Las Vegas of Italy. It was where you went to party and to gamble. And the Carnevale, which takes place every year in the spring in the days that lead up to Lent (Martedì Grasso or “Fat Tuesday” is the Tuesday before Lent starts), is the ultimate expression of the Venetians’ love of partying.

What better wine than Prosecco to get the party — and the Carnevale — started! Even as early as the 18th century, it is believed that Prosecco was commonly served during the Carnevale period.

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