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Trip Report Trip Report - Verona, Venice, Bologna, Rome

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Author: basingstoke2
Date: 01/20/2009, 09:18 am

My previous thread on this trip was poorly titled, not well conveying the overall trip report aspect. So, I am moving what was already written about Verona to this new thread and will add the rest of the trip to this thread instead.

Verona, part one - this one will be short - more on Verona later:

So, after an easy 7 Euro per person bus transfer from the airport to the train station and an uneventful train ride, we arrived in Verona and took a taxi from the train station to the Hotel Torcolo. The Taxi fare was about 10 Euro since it was New Year's day (night actually). The Hotel Torcolo is located in a tiny square of its own about a minute walk from Piazza Bra. It was a nice location. The day staff had already left. After checking out our room which was basic but nice and very clean, we asked the night person to recommend a nearby restaurant since we were starving by that time. He said that the one just across the square, no more than 50 feet from the hotel was very good and not expensive. He also said that our waiter would be a fellow named Paulo (sp?)and to mention that we were sent by the hotel. The restaurant is called "Nostro Azzurro." Indeed, there was only one waiter scurrying about. The place was almost full, most customers appearing to be locals and the ambiance was very nice. The menu had a lot of variety and 2 pages of Pizza. The waiter came over and feeling foolish we asked if he was Paulo and that the Torcolo sent us. He was indeed Paulo, and although my menu Italian is pretty good, his English was excellent. We skipped antipasto and opted for a single dish because of the hour. I had the tortellini de zucca (stuffed with pumpkin) and Mi Chica ordered the pasta with smoked salmon sauce. Both were really excellent. We had a half liter of the house white wine that was perfect. Espresso was served with a plate of tiny delicious biscotti. And SURPRISE Paulo brought us both a very fine limoncello as a free welcoming drink. We noted that we would have to return there at least once before moving on to Venice. After leaving the Nostro Azzurro, we walked over to the Piazza Bra, admiring the arena that was lit up and then took a walk down Via Mazzini window shopping in the very upscale shops. When we were sufficiently numbed by the cold, we returned to the Torcolo.

Next - more Verona - we buy the Verona card and for us it was a good value.

Author: basingstoke2
Date: 01/20/2009, 09:20 am

Date: 01/18/2009, 02:13 pm

Verona is a nice place. A really nice place, and I don't think the common half to one day run through does it or the traveler justice. We had intended to do a day trip to Mantova during our Verona stay, but after losing a day because of the airline snafu and all of things to do in Verona, we skipped that. My earlier thead describes our arrival, the Hotel Torcolo and the wonderful restaurant, the Nastro Azzurro.

We bought the Verona card and used it over the next few days to see: The Arena; Torre dei Lamberti; Casa di Giulietta; Tomba di Giulietta; Teatro Romano; Museo Lapidario; Museo di Castelvecchio; and, various Chiesi.

A little more about the Hotel Torcolo. The rooms are basic, clean and nice. The heart of the hotel however are the two sweet old ladies, Sylvia and Diana who own the hotel and Caterina, who is usually on in the afternoon. They will knock themselves out to suggest things to see and do as well as places to eat. They seem to get joy and pleasure in assuring a good stay for their guests. Sylvia said that when she retires, she will just sit in Piazza Bra and give advice to tourists. I can believe that.

Our first day was cloudy, and cold. Verona had a recent snow and there was still some on the ground. There was an ice skating rink set up in the Piazza Bra and together with the festive lights, it made for a lively atmosphere. The recent snow made our visit to the arena a slippery adventure.

Verona is a wonderful walking town. We took the first of what were many walks down the upscale Via Mazzini to the Piazza Erbe. Piazza Erbe appears to be the heart of the city and is filled with stalls selling all sorts of things, from food stuffs to tacky things for tourists. We shared a cone of hot chestnuts as we walked. Adjacent to the Piazza Erbe is the Piazza dei Signori AKA Piazza Dante, for the statue of same located there.

As would become our pattern, we spent a lot of time just walking around and taking pictures of what is a very photogenic city.

Dinner on the evening of our first full day was at a restaurant just off the Piazza dei Signori called Giulietta and Romeo. We chose that place since we wanted to sample some typical Veronese dishes that we cant get at home. Sylvia said the restaurant would be good for that sort of thing, but was not necessarily her favorite place. Arriving at the restaurant, we could see that it was quite popular and there was little English to be heard. Keeping to food theme of things that we can't get at home, my primi piatti was a pasta with a sauce made with donkey meat and my secondi was horse meat with polenta. Mi Chica, who doesn't eat meat, thought I was crazy, and ordered a polenta with gorgonzola. Both of my dishes were ok but not things I would order again. Mi Chica's dish was something else. The polenta was fine, but was overwhelmed with two huge slabs of warm gorganzola. One has to be a real gorganola fan to enjoy that dish.

Tomorrow we will do the museo thing.

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