Festa della zucca
The pumpkin festival is unique for its somewhat goliardic manner of interpreting the antique events regarding Venzone.
As if by magic the Medieval village centre is suddenly populated with characters from a fairytale: minstrels, jugglers, fire-eaters, noble dames and damsels, chivalrous knights, fearsome soldiers, personages such as the Duke of the Pumpkin and members of the Sacred Arch Fraternity of the Pumpkin, charlatans, beggars, country folks with their fowls and many other unforgettable characters. But the main attraction is His Royal Highness the Pumpkin. Pumpkins are everywhere, in the village square, in shop windows, in restaurants and taverns, displayed on stands: pumpkins in all sizes and shapes, served in every imaginable sauce, guaranteed to satisfy even the most demanding and curious palates - on top of all this a most unlikely contraption called the zuccometro, the pumpkin measure. But it doesn’t stop here. There is also a contest-exhibition of this precious (and often forgotten) vegetable: pumpkins carved or decorated in a thousand different ways, some are true works of art. A special prize goes to the heaviest pumpkin: there have been some weighing as much as 251 kilos!
All this continues until the sun sets on a Medieval day like no other: but the darkness only serves to enhance the charm of the festival. Lit candles and torches create a Medieval atmosphere in Venzone and mysteriously you are swept into the past to the times of Patriarch Bertrand and so many other personages buried under pages of history which this festival wants to rediscover and remember.
Venzone pumpkin festival has its origins in an ancient folk tale, known as the Legend of the Golden Pumpkin.
A long time ago the noble community of Venzone fortified the village with superb defences, adorned it with precious palaces and a magnificent cathedral, but when the construction of the bell tower was almost finished the village unexpectedly found itself short of money. The tolls applied to the transportation of goods were doubled, all foreigners passing through Venzone had to leave an offering, people had to work, often entire days, without pay.
Thus, in spite of some grumbling, they managed to finish the steeple of the church tower and cover it completely with copper. But something was missing and so an artist from Udine was summoned who crowned the beautiful steeple with a golden sphere with a cross on top. But when the artist went to receive payment for his work he was disappointed: the Council informed him that the village funds were depleted and that he too should offer several days of work free of charge; in a gesture of goodwill, the Council would grant him one-third of the money agreed upon. The good fellow said nothing, displaying satisfaction and gratitude. In the middle of the night, though, he climbed up the scaffolding to the top of the tower and substituted the beautiful, shiny sphere with a fresh pumpkin so well painted that no one would notice the difference. The day after the Udinese artist removed the scaffolding, bid farewell to the Council and went on his way.
Meanwhile the Venzone people attended to the preparations of the inauguration while the church bells rang loud and clear. However, after a while something strange happened: way up high on top of the steeple the sphere began to change colours, and its shape was no longer quite the same. The villagers came to the most incredible conjectures, but one day to their astonishment they saw the sphere fall to the ground in yellow pieces similar to a cake crumbling to pieces. They realized that a trick had been played on them. Immediately the chamberlains directed that the pieces be collected and that no one breath a word to anyone of the scandal. But on that very same day some mountain folks from Carnia just happened to be passing through and all too eagerly spread the news of the hoax far and wide.
From that day on the Venzone villagers have been called cogoçârs (a Friulian word translatable as pumpkineers).
Festa della zuccaVia Glizoio di Mels, 5/4
33010 Venzone (UD)
Telefono: 0432 985034
Quarto week-end di ottobre