The Italian Almanac

king nose

Italian News - August 28

Soragna, a small town near Parma, thumbs some magnificent noses at Italy's beauty obsession by holding a yearly "King Nose" contest.

The idea started 20 years ago as part of celebrations for the Befana, an ugly crone who delivers treats to children at Epiphany, but organizers began to take it seriously when they realized that Italy is second only to Brazil in terms of the number of folks who go under the knife seeking beauty. Needless to say, of the 100,000 nips and tucks done each year, slimming down the old schnozzola is very popular.

The contest turned into a proper feast day every fall, in celebration of "important" noses. An equal opportunity for the nasally-endowed, a contest for Queen Nose was added two years ago. The "crowned noses" win about $2,500 to be spent in local shops.