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Yunnan Tea Culture Feast Staged in Rome

On the evening of May 27th local time, the setting sun cast a golden light on the chrome of the ancient Colosseum in Rome. On the top floor of the Hive Hotel which is a stone’s throw away, the 2024 “Making Yunnan Tea Known Around the World”: Promotion of Chinese (Yunnan) Tea Culture in Europe was staged, where artists from Yunnan and Rome presented performances that embodied the essence of the thousands-year-old Chinese civilization and the civilization of ancient Rome.

Rome marked the fourth leg of the promotional tour in Europe co-hosted by the Information Office of the People’s Government of Yunnan Province and the Foreign Affairs Office of the People’s Government of Yunnan Province, following Paris, the “Romantic Capital,” Lyon, the “Silk Capital of Europe,” and Brussels, the “Heart of Europe.” The promotional tour has brought the tea culture feast to Europe, which were warmly welcomed by the European people.

In Rome, the “Eternal City,” the organizers specially set up three sessions: the “Feng” Yunnan Tea Chamber Concert, the “Ya” Yunnan Teamaking Intangible Cultural Heritage Techniques Demonstration, and the “Song” Yunnan Tea-Based Food Promotion and Tasting, to show the audience the many-splendored life of Yunnan.

A performance by Chinese and Italian artists

The life in Yunnan is one of singing and dancing. Yunnan, long inhabited by 26 ethnic groups, has a long history of multi-ethnic exchanges and blending, and has created a brilliant multi-ethnic culture. It is a veritable “ocean of song and dance” and “paradise of music.” At the event site, artists from Yunnan recreated the scenes of tea planting, tea leave picking, tea making and drinking tea through Dai, Yi and Hani dances. Their immersive performance made the audience feel as if they were in Yunnan themselves. The Chinese and Italian musicians played together the famous songs of “The Jasmine” and “My Sun” in unison using guzheng and violin, and fascinated the audience with the beautiful music.

Foreign guests hold the result of their DIY experience with inscription rubbing, an intangible cultural heritage technique in Yunnan.

Life in Yunnan is one with a shining galaxy of intangible cultural heritage. Yunnan is among the most richly endowed with intangible cultural heritage in China, with more than 100 national-level intangible cultural heritage items. Each ethnic group here has its unique cultural traditions and intangible cultural heritage.

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At the event site, intangible cultural heritage products such as Yiliang bamboo weaving, the jade-colored plateau pottery of Huaning, and the “Pu’er Tea Inscription Rubbing” made with “China’s oldest printing technique” were displayed side by side with the techniques of making Yunnan black tea, Pu’er tea, Yunnan Dark Tea, and sour tea, showing the richness and vitality of Yunnan’s intangible cultural heritage and tea culture.

The life in Yunnan is a simple, tasty one. Yunnan is known as a “Kingdom of Plants,” a “Kingdom of Wild Mushrooms” and a “World Garden.” A great variety of plants and mushrooms have been skillfully made into many mouth-watering delicacies by the locals.

In the cuisine session, the Chinese and Italian chef teams joined hands, used Yunnan’s specialty ingredients such as roses, wild mushrooms, and rice noodles, and mixed them with Italian cheese and pasta to make original fusion dishes, giving the participating guests a unique flavor.

According to Chen Jianyang, Director of the China Tourism Office in Rome, Yunnan is an important origin of tea trees in the world, a major tea producer in China, and the hometown of Pu’er tea; moreover, it is home to the most ethnic groups in China, a major tourist destination, and a paradise for gourmets.

With tea as the medium, this event hopes to promote Sino-Italian friendship and harmony through the tea culture, and will further enhance the Italian people’s understanding of Yunnan’s culture, tourism resources, and tea culture.

“In as early as the 13th century, the Italian traveler Marco Polo traveled to China along the ancient overland Silk Road and made Yunnan known to the Europeans at that time. Today’s event allows us a closer look at Yunnan,” said Alberto Bradanini, President of the Research Center on Contemporary China and former Ambassador of Italy to China.

“Yunnan is culturally rich and colorful, where people with different traditions live in harmony. It proves to the world that peaceful coexistence in diversity is possible. I hope that the people in Italy and Yunnan will deepen exchanges and enhance friendship by having a cup of Yunnan tea together.”

In his remarks via video link, Lai Yong, Deputy Director-General of the Information Office of Yunnan Provincial People’s Government, welcomed the Italian people to Yunnan to enjoy its attractions, tea, scenery, and many splendored life.