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Iniziativa finanziata dal Programma di Sviluppo Rurale per il Veneto 2007 – 2013 Organismo responsabile dell’informazione: Consorzio per la Tutela dell’Asparago Bianco di Bassano D.O.P. Autorità di gestione: Regione del Veneto – Direzione Piani e Programmi del Settore Primario


Asparagus originated in Mesopotamia and discoveries in Egypt suggest it was known in ancient times, spreading around the Mediterranean basin from there. For a long time it was used only for medicinal and therapeutic purposes, then making its debut in cuisine. Asparagus has been cultivated in the Bassano area and it is mentioned in countless documents, with testimonies also found in popular traditions.

“The discovery of asparagus was quite accidental. At an uncertain date, possibly in the 1500s, a violent hailstorm destroyed the aerial part of the plant and a farmer decided to pick what was left underground, the white part. He realized it was good and so he started to pick his asparagus before it sprouted above ground.”(Antonio F. Celotto, L’Asparago di Bassano, Neri Pozza Editore Vicenza, 1979).

Another legend says that even St Anthony of Padua, a Portuguese monk arriving from Africa, under orders from St Francis of Assisi to follow Ezzelino, was able to calm the tyrant’s appetite by throwing seeds from an asparagus plot. Accounts from the Republic of Venice, dated 1534, show how much the Doge Andrea Gritti spent on “sparasi mazi” for a banquet. During the Council of Trent (1545-1563), the attending fathers, who sojourned in Bassano with their enormous retinue, found “sparasi” amongst local produce. In The Supper of Emaus, a famous canvas by the Venetian painter Giovanbattista Piazzetta (1682-1754), a typical Bassano-style dish is clearly visible with“sparasi, e ovi, sale e pevare, oio e aseo”[asparagus, eggs, salt and pepper, oil and vinegar]. Even now it is customary to eat asparagus when spring arrives and for Easter. A famous local saying states that “quando a Bassan vien primavera se verze la ca’ e la sparasera”, in other words when spring comes to Bassano, houses and asparagus plots open for the traditional “sparasada”, an asparagus-based lunch eaten after Easter.