• 2019.04.25
  • Asia meets Genoa
Genoa is undoubtedly one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Italy and Europe, thanks to its port on the Mediterranean, but also thanks to its large Chinese community which, among others, is now an integral part of the social fabric of the city. Nowadays, it would be impossible to think of the old town without its ‘traditional’ red lanterns and, as every year, the arrival of the colorful Festival dell’Oriente (Asian Festival) was greeted with great enthusiasm, thanks to the wide range of events that this festival dedicates to countries and traditions from the Far East.

Bazaar at the Festival

There were several dozen countries participating in this virtual journey this year: India, China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Tibet, Armenia and Lebanon and many others.
The Festival was held in the pavilions of the Genoa Fair at the end of the month of March.
The visitors had the opportunity to explore the cultural areas dedicated to the various countries, where it was possible to attend ancient and fascinating ceremonies, musical performances and also learn more about religions such as Buddhism and Shintoism. In the area dedicated to Japan, for example, one could take part in a real tea ceremony or, in that of China, appreciate a reproduction of the Chinese Wall or the famous terracotta army.
There were multiple stages dedicated to folklore, where the audience could get excited by listening to drum concerts, engage in Indian Bollywood dances, witness a Kimono dressing ceremony or admire the ‘Lion Dance’ performed by Chinese acrobats.

Bollywood dance at the Festival

Chinese Lion Dance

In addition to the shows, a large part of the Festival was dedicated to shopping, and the many bazaars offered fabrics, clothing, bags, antique jewelry and other typical products from Asia.
One could also visit the ‘restaurant’ stands and taste many traditional dishes from China, Japan, India, Tibet, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand.
New additions this year included the Raqs dance, which represents a meeting and fusion point between Indian folk dances and Arab rhythms and the addition of an extraordinary Japanese garden with a display of katana swords and samurai armors.
New this year was also the puppet show of the water theater from Hanoi, an ancient Vietnamese art which uses puppets in an aquatic environment, accompanied by traditional music with drums, horns and bamboo flutes.
I also attended the performances of a Mongolian group which proposed a vast repertoire of traditional instrumental music, songs and dances for the first time in Genoa.

Monks at the Festival

Thanks to a collaboration with the Japanese Cultural Center, there was also on offer a music performance with traditional Japanese instruments using the taiko drum which, if I’m not mistaken, was used during battles to intimidate enemies and to send commands and continues to be used even today in the religious rites of Buddhism and Shintoism religions.
The program of the three-day festival included very different activities: one could venture in the various bazaars, explore photographic exhibitions, browse through the commercial stands and sample the foods before buying them, ask about natural medicines, attend concerts, dances and martial arts demonstrations of martial arts (and even visit the reproduction of a traditional Japanese Dojo). All these activities were organized in the thematic areas dedicated to the various countries in a continuous and exciting succession of shows, meetings, seminars and exhibitions.

Mongolian dances

This year there were also some additions in the food stands: vegan-themed cooking demonstrations and Asian sweets-themed showcases were present. There was also a Zen area, with the reproduction of a small Shinto temple inside, run by monks busy with classical activities of Japanese spirituality: from meditation to practices that represent a marriage between art and religion, such as black-ink painting or Ikebana flower arrangements.
For lovers of wellness, there was the possibility of experimenting for free dozens of traditional therapies in the special pavilions dedicated to holistic therapies, natural disciplines, yoga, ayurvedic massages, Bach flowers, healing and meditation techniques, reiki, rebirthing, postural integration and much more.


  • Patrizia Margherita
  • Jobtranslator, interpreter, teacher

Although she was born in Italy, she is half Italian and half American and she has become a "multicultural person" who can speak five languages. She has lived and worked in the US, Brazil, Australia, France and the UK so she considers herself a citizen of the world. When she is not teaching or translating, she likes cooking Italian food, hiking and traveling around the world...She has traveled to 80 countries and counting!

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