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  Editorial Issue 138, March 2015   
Luigi Veronelli: Walking the LandLuigi Veronelli: Walking the Land  Contents 
Issue 137, February 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 139, April 2015

Luigi Veronelli: Walking the Land


 It took place at the “Triennale di Milano” - from January 21 to February 24, 2015 - an exhibition dedicated to the greatest of Italian journalists and wine writers, the one who started the revaluation in Italy of wine and olive oil: Luigi Veronelli. Moreover, he also had the undeniable merit of having started, in his personal, unattainable and inimitable style, the accounting of wine and food in Italy. The exhibition, with the significant title ”camminare la terra” (walking the land), has been realized thanks to the important contribution of Comitato Decennale Luigi Veronelli, founded to commemorate and celebrate the great “Gino” on the anniversary of the tenth year from his death. The committee also aims to spread the thought and work of Luigi Veronelli, with events started the last 2 February 2014. A certainly significant date, as the same day of 1926 the great “Gino” was born in Milan in the famous “Isola” district, among the most characteristic ones of the capital of Lombardy.


The two pictures at
the entrance of ``Camminare la Terra'' exhibition dedicated to Luigi Veronelli
The two pictures at the entrance of “Camminare la Terra” exhibition dedicated to Luigi Veronelli

 I have already written in DiWineTaste about my admiration for Luigi Veronelli: his books certainly are among the best ones I have in my personal library about food and wine, books I keep on reading all the time, always giving me the very same joy and pleasure. My age lets me remember - and with affection - about his TV shows in particular the renowned “a tavola alle sette”, broadcasted by Italian television and hosted with the great actress Ave Ninchi. With his kindness and good manners, something absolutely missing in today's television, Luigi Veronelli talked, with his personal style, about food and wine of Italy, with the simplicity of his huge smile, emphasized by his black framed glasses. At those times I was a boy, however that TV show, besides the subjects covered in each episode, was pretty funny also because of the provocative contrast - and evidently friendly - between Luigi Veronelli and Ave Ninchi. A lovely TV show, polite and joyous - with the reassuring Ave Ninchi's smile entering every house - of which I keep a dear and affectionate memory.

 A dream coming true about these memories was when I personally met Luigi Veronelli - it happened just once in my life - and I admit I was very excited for seeing him in front of me. He was at the booth of his publishing house in a very popular Italian wine exhibition, I was simply a passionate visitor: it was 1999 and DiWineTaste would have seen his birth few years later. My very first “conscious” meeting with wine certainly was because of Luigi Veronelli and his participation to TV shows, at least until they let him doing so. Impossible to forget, the TV show “Viaggio sentimentale nell'Italia dei vini” (sentimental journey to the Italy of wines) broadcast in 1979 by Italian Rai 3 channel, in which was given voice to that wine unknown to many. I therefore started collecting his books and writings about wine: my very first interesting and educational readings on this subject were all signed by the great “Gino”. I warmly welcomed the news about the exhibition “camminare la terra” and dedicated to Luigi Veronelli: an event for no reason at all I would have not failed to visit.


 

 A well set up room and in which was even reconstructed a very small part of Luigi Veronelli's personal cellar, following a path in which were displayed the most significant “battles” of the great Gino and his works. Pictures, reports of magazines and newspapers, books, letters, projects and even the showing of parts of the TV show “a tavola alle sette”, the exhibition has been nice to see and well made. Everything was, of course, about Luigi Veronelli's thought and work, with simple and significant items, in order to let visitors understand the soul and thought of the journalist, writer, defender of peasant culture and land. Battles he paid at a very high price: in two specific cases he was even sentenced to jail, including the silly penalty of the burning of one of his books, the very last penalty of this kind sentenced in Italy.

 Of particular interest, the reconstruction, at the center of the room, of a small part of Luigi Veronelli's personal cellar: the original one is so big that it needs a map in order to walk through the over 70.000 bottles. In the exhibition was displayed a very modest number of wines, however significant, with bottles ideally touching many Italian regions, including extraordinary French wines as well as from other parts of the world. At the entrance, there was a plate in which was written how that cellar was the primary job and study place for Luigi Veronelli, where he was continuously evaluating wines and the same bottles - year after year - in order to understand their evolution. I am sure the great Gino, in his personal winery, had not the problem of getting bored. Not because of the fact he could enjoy all those wines, but also for the pleasure of watching the bottles, ordered and well placed, just like the paintings of a cathedral.

 A wonderful experience in which I spend about five hours, enjoying books, reports, pictures and bottles, a time passed by with pleasure and no regrets. Surrounded by many memories, including the pleasure of admiring so many Luigi Veronelli's books while being pleased of the fact - with much pride and satisfaction - I too own a copy of those books. The exhibition “camminare la terra” will be moved from Milan to Bergamo, where it can be visited during the entire period of the forthcoming Expo 2015. The exhibition will in fact be set up in the monastery of Astino from 1 May to 31 October 2015, where - they say - it will also be reconstructed a miniature replica of the huge Luigi Veronelli's cellar. As far as I am concerned, I will certainly visit the exhibition in Bergamo too. An absolutely important event I suggest everyone visiting, a respectful tribute to the greatest Italian wine and food writer. There is no doubt without him and the path he traced for everyone, the world of wine, olive oil and food in Italy would not certainly be the same. Thank you Gino.

Antonello Biancalana






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  Editorial Issue 138, March 2015   
Luigi Veronelli: Walking the LandLuigi Veronelli: Walking the Land  Contents 
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