In Mr. Massart’s 9th grade English class, we had to memorize the prologue to “Romeo and Juliet.” Turns out, 18 years later after a couple of glasses of wine, I can still recite about half of it. Then again, maybe I was just inspired by Verona. 🙂
My fellow London-based American world traveler and friend Alan and I took a painfully early flight from London to squeeze the most out of our weekend. We arrived in Verona, wandered through the huge Piazza Bra, the most open piazza I’ve seen outside of Rome, and not long after went to forage for pizza. Juliet could wait.
Our search took us to Pizzeria Du de Cope in a small galleria off of the main shopping street Via Mazzini. After munching on delicious brick oven pizza with that superb crispy-outside, chewy inside dough and a couple of glasses of Valpolicella, we were off to orient ourselves with this little town.
The great thing about visiting Italy in the winter is that the other tourists are scarce. As we wandered the Via Mazzini to the main Piazza Erbe, we were partaking in passeggiata with all of the locals, which, for me, an elementary Italian student, is a feast for the ears. We rambled to the river and then over to find a coffee shop and a gelateria. Sadly, gelato is not a big seller in January so the recommended Gelateria Ponte Pietra was closed, but we did find the warm and comfortable Caffe e Parole. This quickly became my favorite spot in Verona with exquisite creamy cappuccinos, fresh spun vegetable juice concoctions and pastries to die for. My favorite were the little “frittelle” doughnuts filled with cream.
Buzzing a bit on good Italian espresso, we continued to wander the town, getting our bearings and planning our tourist adventures for the next day. We wanted a little apertivo before heading to concierge recommended restaurant for dinner and as we wandered the Corso Porta Borsari, we found a great wine bar, Osteria del Bugiardo. It was a bit quiet around 4pm on a Friday, so we sidled up to the bar, ordered some 2.50 Euro glasses of Valpolicella classic and soaked up the scene. This is clearly a local favorite, but being in a tourist area, the staff is welcoming, English-speaking and friendly. The osteria got increasingly busy as we sat there while the town got off of work and got ready to party. While we sipped the house red, everyone around us was drinking a sparkling rose. It was obvious that we needed to try this, and after one glass of the lovely Vigliacco we were hooked. We dragged ourselves away to dinner, but knew we would be coming back later.
And return we did. The clientele was notably younger and clearly starting the weekend right. We squeezed into a tiny corner near a group of attractive Italian guys celebrating a birthday. They were drinking the bubbly first but then changed to a beautifully decanted red. And this is why I love Italians. A birthday party in London or New York would likely involve a teetering tray of Jager Bombs. In Verona? A bottle of fine vintage.
The shots came later. But more on that shortly. 🙂
© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2014.