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Notte di Fiaba
By Anthony Parente
Frank Sinatra's "Young at Heart," reminds us that Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you If you're young at heart. Riva el Garda must have a very young heart, because they transform the entire town into a fairy tale with their annual Notte di Fiaba (Fairy Tale Night). For over 60 years, to celebrate the end of summer, this town located on the northern tip of Lake Garda sprinkles some pixie dust and magically turns this lake side resort into a fairy land straight out of a Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen or Carlo Collodi story.
The first Notte di Fiaba took place in 1950. It was a one-day event that featured a parade of boats. Several groups and associations took part in the event and it soon became a competition to see who could colorfully decorate and illuminate their vessels. The event was a big success and continued for 13 years. Due to financial reasons the Notte di Fiaba went on a 19-year hiatus. It was brought back to life in 1982 but could only survive for five years before they cancelled the event once again. The town did not want to give up hope and in 1993 they tried a different approach changing the event by doing away with the boat parade and hosting a medieval competition and costume parade. The event was still popular drawing tens of thousands of visitors to the town, but the medieval theme lasted only six years. For the 25th edition in 1999 the committee came up with an idea to have a theme for each event surrounding a popular fairy tale or fictional character and they also expanded the event to four days. Each year since, a new theme has been chosen (see the list below) and the town metamorphosizes into a fantasy land filled with magic delighting children of all ages.
Children and adults will be captivated by the beauty and charm as they enter an enchanted land. The town goes to great lengths to transform the area into one great big theme party. During the four nights the streets come alive with music, dancing and live shows. Performers act out scenes on the streets and in the theater to the enjoyment of children and adults. Storytellers will captivate your imagination as characters from the story can be seen throughout the town center. You can take part in various games and workshops. Booths with food, drinks and artisan crafts are on full display for all to see and enjoy. The four nights are packed with events for children of all ages and it all builds up to the finale, which is a spectacular firework show on the lake.
Italy is a popular tourist destination for its history, art, architecture and beauty. Riva del Garda gives you all that Italy has to offer in a setting that comes straight out of a fairy tale.
Themes Through the Years
1999 Alice in Wonderland
2000 Peter Pan
2001 Mary Poppins
2003 Snow White
2004 The Wizard of Oz
2005 The Jungle Book
2006 Ali Baba
2007 Pippi Langstrumpf (Pippi Longstocking)
2008 La Spada Nella Roccia (The Sword in the Stone)
2009 Hänsel and Gretel
2010 Treasure Island
2012 Around the World in 80 Days
2013 Tom Sawyer
2014 Little Red Riding Hood
2017 Sherlock Holmes
2018 The Little Mermaid
2019 Sandokan and the Malaysian Pirates
Photos copyright © Notte di fiaba Riva del Garda - Credits Jacopo Salvi. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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