The main square of Montagnana is extremely charming and for my money one of the most beautiful squares in whole of Venetto. It is really pitty tourists do not pay a visit to such a places which are off the main roads. All you need is to take the state road from Vicenza to Padova, or vice versa, and you can't miss this beautiful place. Your small effort will be multiply reworded.
Every year, the first Sunday of September, in the moat along the wall there is the ancient "palio" (sort of horse race) among the neighbors villages, held in costumes and medieval style... See the site below, for more info (in Italian) and pictures.
Thanks to Robert98 for signalling me a blog in english about the palio.
The geographical position of Montagnana has influenced its cookery, which is inspired by ancient traditions. They have been handed down through customs & written documents. Some of the recipes have mingled with other areas in the region.
On a typical Montagnana table its not surprising to find:
Baccala (Cod) alla Vicentina
Horse meat dishes typical of Veronese area
Snails cooked in tasty sauces and served with polenta (maize porridge)
Sarde (Sardines) in Saor: a heritage of the Venetian domination.
Frogs fried or in a tasty risotto from Mantua
Crisp breads from Ferrara
Garlic Salami and cold pork meat from here
Prosciutto Ham of Montagnana
Guinea-fowl, geese, ducks, and rabbits
Pandolce di Ezzelino
See legend below
The legend says that during the great fire of Montagnana, Ezzelino was injured. A country woman made a dough with "leva" (kind of natural yeast used in the past), and she added to it a lot of honey walnuts hazelnuts from her orchard. Thanks to this "sweet bread", Ezzelino soon recovered his strength.
Pasticceria Cucccato today makes this bread based on the legend recipe and calls it the "Pandolce of Ezzelino", the cake of Montagnana.
Experience handed down from father to son:
a. accurately chosen hams
b. great care devoted to the different phases of preparation
c. long seasoning under the strict control of experts
This is what happens in Montagnana area to create the ultimate: " Prosciutto dolce di Montagnana" or sweet Prociutto Ham.
It has to be the typical pinkish colour with that tempting sweet flavour and a tenderness that melts in your mouth. It must be sliced paper thin, the only way. Knowing that, we decided to stop in a local Osteria and try the Prosciutto.
We decided to go into Osteria Due Draghi, Via Carrarese 25.
It was a great experience. We shared a toasted sandwich with sweet Prosciutto Ham and Cheese. I had a coke and Allan had a beer. It was so delicious, and now we know why it is a special product and the pride of Montagnana.