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City Life, Country Life, Suburban Life: Trip Report from Emilia Romagna and the Veneto

City Life, Country Life, Suburban Life: Trip Report from Emilia Romagna and the Veneto

Oct 18th, 2005, 10:13 AM
  #21  
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LoveItaly, I certainly agree that it makes all the difference if you have a friend to show you the ins and outs of a town. And I think we just hit Padova on a bad day. Really, I did have the feeling while we were there that we could have had a very different experience under different circumstances. It was just one of those days when things started going sour, and you know how you can get in a mood where you start looking on the wrong side of things. Well, maybe not you -- you always seem so warm and positive in all your comments!

Anyway, thanks for having a good word to put in for Padua; I really wouldn't want anyone to stay away just because it wasn't tops of our list. And thanks for the nice words about our photos, etc.
nonnafelice is offline  
Oct 20th, 2005, 08:16 AM
  #22  
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The Palladian Villas

We went to three villas on three different days, but I think it probably makes more sense to describe them all together. We had to design our itinerary in the Veneto around the villas because they are open on very limited schedules, usually just one or two partial days per week. It was just as well to spread out the visits, since I think it helped us appreciate each one more individually and gave the days more variety. That was one reason I didn't want to take the river tour of the villas; also, not all the ones we wanted to see were on that tour.

The first villa we saw was Villa Foscari, better known as La Malcontenta, just a bit west of Venice. The legend says that its name comes from a very unhappy woman who was more or less imprisoned here for a time by her husband, one of the Foscari brothers who owned the place. But other sources say that the town where the villa is located was previously known by that name because outlaws ("Malcontenti") used to hide out in nearby marshes. At any rate, the villa is in a beautiful setting, its dramatic tall portico looking out on the Brenta Canal through graceful weeping willows. Inside, the walls and ceilings are completely covered in frescoes, including one of the sad-looking woman. Descendants of the original Foscaris live there now, although the family haven't owned it all those years since Palladio designed it in 1560. They have done a magnificent job in restoring the place, although the frescoes are muted because they were once covered in whitewash to sterilize the walls during a plague epidemic.

The next day we went to the Villa Rotonda outside Vicenza, which was partially inspired by the Roman Pantheon, right down to the hole in the center of the dome. In the floor underneath is a great looking drain with a sculptured face to catch the rain falling in, although the roof opening is now closed over. The building is an amazing exercise in symmetry, fascinating in its geometric perfection, but with few "homelike" qualities. Actually, I understand it was built on its hilltop more as a party palace than a home, and it probably worked very well for that use, with its sweeping vistas over the countryside. It was used as the setting for a film of Mozart's "Don Giovanni," which is currently on my Netflix queue, although I haven't yet seen it.

The third and last villa we toured was Villa Barbaro, near Asolo. Larger and more remote than the other two, it was a most impressive country retreat. It also had the most impressive frescoes: trompe l'oeil masterpieces by Veronese covering every inch of the walls and celings -- with amusing touches such as Veronese painting himself gazing across the length of the building to his mistress at the other end. This was the most crowded of the villas we visited and felt a bit surreal because they made everyone put huge slippers over their shoes to protect the floors, so you're in the midst of masses of people shuffling about in giant duck feet with painted people staring down at you from the ceilings.

We were really sorry we could not get to see the Villa Cornaro in Piambino Dese on our way back from Villa Barbaro. We had both immensely enjoyed the recent book Palladian Days, in which American Sally Gable describes how she and her husband bought and restored that villa and became accepted into the town. But it's only open on Saturdays through September, and today was Saturday, October 1. We were going to try a driveby anyway, but then we had one of those "lost in space" encounters with the Italian road system and got so far behind schedule we had to give up.

I do highly recommend Sally Gable's book, along with Witold Rybczynski's The Perfect House, for a wonderful introduction to the villas. The Perfect House came with us to Italy and greatly enhanced our villa visits. I think I should close this section with the very appropriate quote from Goethe that opens Rybczynski's book:

"You have to see these buildings with your own eyes to realize how good they are. No reproductions of Pallaio's designs give an adequate idea of the harmony of their dimensions; they must be seen in their actual perspective."

If you want more information about the villas, a very good web site is:
http://www.boglewood.com/palladio/
which, if I remember correctly, is the work of Carl Gable (Sally's husband and co-author).
nonnafelice is offline  
Oct 20th, 2005, 08:21 AM
  #23  
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P.S. I twice tried to correct my typo of Palladio's name in that last post after previewing it -- I'm sure Goethe did not spell it wrong! However, among the other problems the Fodor's site is apparently having now, it is refusing to take edits to messages. I had the same problem with an earlier message where I wanted to change a word, and then just gave up.
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Oct 20th, 2005, 08:51 AM
  #24  
 
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Thank you! I have been wanting to take a tour of the villas for so long! I should have made it a priority long ago, but now I will start with the books. I find Andrea Palladio so interesting. Thanks again.

SeaUrchin is offline  
Oct 20th, 2005, 09:00 AM
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Thanks for this informative trip report.
My notes are getting out of hand.
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Oct 20th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Hello nonnafelice, thank you for the nice compliment but let me tell you when I am not feeling warm and pleasant I just try not to post, LOL.

BTW, most people love Asolo. I have only spent one miserable week in Italy and it was in Asolo. I imagine at some point I will be back there and I am curious if I will have a different opinion of it. From the time I arrived there things did not work out well. I did have a few joyful moments but they were far and few between. So I always understand when someone does not like a certain place. Take care.
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Oct 20th, 2005, 01:00 PM
  #27  
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Treviso - unpretentious but attractive

OK, now back to the places we saw in the spaces between the villas. After visiting Villa Foscari, we headed north to Treviso. I didn't really know much about Treviso except that it has canals, and Grisham's main character in The Broker had found it a pleasant spot before he settled down for a while in Bologna. Oh, and Fred Plotkin (Italy for the Gourmet Traveler picked it as his classic food town in the Veneto.

We were lucky on the way there to stop for gas at a station where the cheerful attendant proudly told us he'd been married in Las Vegas! All you Fodorites who plan destination weddings in Italy ... did you know that it goes the other way, too? Personally, I can't see picking the Vegas Venice over the real thing ... but our gas jockey was extremely enthusiastic about his American ceremony. Anyway, his directions got us on the right road to Treviso, we easily found a parking spot near the center, and had lunch at Plotkin's favorite trattoria, Toni del Spin, via Inferiore 7. It did have that authentic, old-fashioned ambience ... right down to the Turkish toilet. We decided to try baccalà, since we'd never had the real thing, and it was supposedly one of the specialities of the house and the region. After lunch we agreed we had much preferred the "nouveau" version of baccalà served as an appetizer at Caminetto d'Oro in Bologna. The old-style version was rather lacking in flavor, we thought. The accompanying polenta was good, though.

We walked through old Treviso, with its many canals and water wheels. Everything was very quiet since it was the "chiuso" hour. Treviso is a very attractive city, with many nice-looking shops, and very clean. I wish we'd been able to visit it during the morning, when it apparently has a great market on a bridge across a canal -- but we were restricted by the very limited hours of the villas we were visiting.

If I had to come up with a word for my impression of Treviso, I'd say "unpretentious" or "understated." To me, it seemed like a place that was doing just fine without a bunch of tourists clogging up the streets, and didn't particularly care to go out of its way to attract them. There seems to be very little information available on Treviso's history and sights (maybe there really isn't that much of interest, but I think a good marketing agency could jazz up their brochures quite a bit). The TI office provided a handout with some interesting walks around the city, but the maps were so badly designed that we kept getting off the track. We finally ended up on what was a very scenic walk on the old wall around part of the town -- we figured it was hard to get lost when you're on a wall! I would like to explore Treviso some time in the morning during market time when it's probably much more lively, but my DH got so frustrated with the bad maps that I don't know whether I could ever entice him there again. Especially after trying to find our way out of town in our car and heading around a blind corner, smack into a very busy one-way street -- with the cars coming straight at us! Thank goodness there was a driveway on the right, or we would have been Treviso toast.

In retrospect, we should have taken a different way home which would have been longer in miles but put us on a faster autostrada. We set out to retrace the morning's route, which had been fine coming in to town, but going the other way in late afternoon, it was solid traffic, complete with those maddening tantalizing signs that leave you hanging at crucial decision points. Finally back in Mirano, traffic frustrations were topped off by telephone trauma -- about an hour spent in a phone booth with my DH unsuccessfully trying to call his mom on a phone card that just wouldn't go through. Since he wrote about this at length in his blog:
http://rozault.blogspot.com/2005_09_...t_archive.html
I won't reiterate it here, except to say that I later read someone's pointers on phone cards that said the kind to get was "Europa." Unfortunately that came too late to help us, but maybe it will be good advice for someone else.
nonnafelice is offline  
Oct 20th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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I'm enjoying your report so much! But by mentioning Palladio AND Goethe, there's some risk it will soon be over my head!

Seriously, I appreciate the information, and I enjoy reading from your perspective.
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Oct 20th, 2005, 02:07 PM
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Hi nonnafelice, I have a friend in the region of Veneto whose son works for the tourist office in Treviso. I will pass on your comments! I wonder how that will be accepted? LOL. But I think it is good for the tourist office to know that they maps etc. are not up to snuff. And they really do want tourist to come and enjoy Treviso.
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Oct 21st, 2005, 12:57 PM
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What a terrific report!! Thanks so much. So glad to read about another Fred Plotkin fan; I only wish he would reissue his great book! I will print this out and take it to Bologna with me. That is funny about the Turkish toilets; I just returned from Turkey and did not see one TT in 11 days!
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Oct 21st, 2005, 06:00 PM
  #31  
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LoveItaly, I hope your friend in Treviso doesn't take offense at my comments, since none was intended. I just thought perhaps they really weren't too interested in the tourist trade, even though it does seem like a very nice town. Maybe they should consult with Benetton (which has its headquarters in Treviso) on how to make a splash with PR!

Well, I have more to add to this report, so I hope it's not getting too long and boring. The places I haven't covered yet are Vicenza, Verona, one special shopping note, our B&B in Marghera, our trip to Bassano and Asolo, and then a bit about Venice.

Thanks to everyone who has been interested enough to read so far and post feedback. I do feel as if I am taking as long to write this report as the trip itself, but I hope I can give people some useful information.
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Oct 21st, 2005, 06:05 PM
  #32  
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Vicenza: "Bella Figura"

I thought the Italian term "bella figura" was a good one to describe Vicenza, with its attractive streets, welcoming atmosphere, and so much beautiful Palladian architecture. (I liked Rick Steves' description of Vicenza as a town where whole streets look like the back of a nickel.) Our good feelings about Vicenza started even before we arrived, since the roads into town had big signs clearly pointing to parking garages, electronically telling you how many parking spaces were left in each one. Leaving the garage, we found nice clean restrooms for patrons, then entered out into a lovely park. Vicenza was also the only city I recall that had a lot of strategically placed "You are Here" maps to help you find your way into and around town. And everyone we came in contact with there was just so cheerful, pleasant and helpful.

The sight absolutely not to be missed in Vicenza is the Teatro Olimpico, with its amazing stage sets, truly making you believe that there is an entire city behind the stage. The sets were designed for a production of Oedipus Rex in 1585, but everyone was so blown away by them that no one ever dared to change them. Photos don't really convey how impressive the space is, but you can get some idea at: http://www.rozault.com/Italy2005/sou...limpico04.html Also, check out this wider view of the theatre at http://www.photo.net/photo/pcd0803/v...ico-oblique-79

The audioguide is very informative, if a bit on the long side, but I would recommend renting it to get the most out of the visit. This was the only audioguide I've seen that lets you plug in two headphones, which is kind of nice if two people are visiting together, since you know you are both sharing the same information simultaneously. (Of course, you have to be good enough friends that you don't mind sticking close together!)

We had a nice pasta lunch at Al Pestello, Contrà S. Stefano,3 for only 23.50 € . The only problem was ... you may have guessed it -- the Turkish toilet. This was the worst of the lot, because there was absolutely no way to lock the bathroom door. This situation inspired us after lunch to move on to the Archeological Museum nearby (our Teatro ticket also got us in there for free) in search of a "real" WC. Fortunately we were successful in that quest! We didn't see much more in Vicenza as we had to move on to the Villa Rotonda that afternoon, but we really enjoyed the time we had there.
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Oct 21st, 2005, 06:12 PM
  #33  
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Verona: Many-faceted

It was in Verona that we first encountered crowds of tourists on the streets during this trip. Of course, the big tourist draw there is kind of a Disney experience, with no basis in reality -- Juliet's so-called house. My DH only went there with me under protest because he was so put off by all the hype about something that was so patently fake. But once there, he did succumb to romance long enough to add our names to the "X loves Y" graffiti on the walls.

There is a lot more to Verona than the trumped-up Romeo & Juliet stuff, and we did enjoy walking its streets and experiencing the variety of its views and history. (The Rick Steves walking tour is very good.) There's the Roman arena, the picturesque piazzas, the lovely river views, and the Castelvecchio fortress. And Verona has some fascinating churches. We were especially intrigued by the Basilica of Verona's patron saint, Zeno, who came from Africa, and the Duomo with its layers of excavations. There's a whole lot to do in Verona, and we only scratched the surface of this multi-faceted town.

Lunch was at Al Bersagliere, Via della Pallone 1, where we had delicious grilled vegetables with tomino cheese, in a lovely little courtyard. 25 € with wine. It was amusing to see all the American football photos on the wall, as the owner apparently was a big fan, who in fact had played on an American-style football team in Italy. Unfortunately, the restaurant's bathroom did not depart from the Veneto norm. (Please don't think I'm overly obsessed with this subject, but I thought it might be useful to people to be aware of what to expect -- it was a surprise to me!)
nonnafelice is offline  
Oct 21st, 2005, 06:29 PM
  #34  
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A Fantastic Shopping Experience

Verona was our last day trip from our base at Villa Mocenigo in Mirano. Before leaving though, we paid a visit to a fabulous shop we had discovered in Mirano, the Cantina Produttori Noale (it was on the road out of town toward Spinea). If you look at my photos (link above), you will see the pictures of its wine tasting machine and wine pumps. This seems to be sort of a specialty outlet store for Italian goodies -- an incredible variety of Italian wines, at very low prices, plus a great assortment of typical Italian products, ranging from pasta and canned goods to soaps and toiletries. This would be a perfect place to pick up lots of little gifts to take home. For example, we got some cute little jars of mushroom and olive pates, olive oil soaps, balsamic vinegar, grappa, etc.

There are (at least according to their plastic bag) several of these cantinas in the area, and I'm going to list all the towns where they are located. If you find yourself in any of these places, definitely make a stop! In addition to Mirano, they have stores in Noale, Pianiga, Carpenedo, and Belluno (two shops listed in Belluno). Probably there are other cantinas like this around Italy, but this was the first one we had encountered in our travels and we were blown away.
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Oct 23rd, 2005, 03:31 PM
  #35  
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Marghera: A Stay in the Suburbs

First of all, let me say that if you are visiting Venice for the first time, you absolutely should stay in Venice itself. You will not get anything like the same experience if you are commuting in for day trips. But we had been to Venice before, and we still needed our car. So I spent a lot of time online trying to find some place that looked presentable and would give us easy access to Venice, along with free parking, and reasonable prices. I did have some trepidations about booking in Marghera, since it seems to be regarded as having some of the worst qualities of New Jersey. I couldn't find any reviews online of Casa Villa Gardenia B&B, but the pictures on its web site looked very nice, and the price was right: 85€ a night. It turned out to be quite a fortuitous choice. The pictures really didn't lie -- it did have a lovely garden setting. And even though the street in front was fairly busy, it was in a tree-lined residential area, yet within walking distance of a variety of shops. The price also included a free, fast Internet connection in the room. Best of all, just steps from the front door you could get a bus that ran every few minutes and took you across the causeway to Venice in 10 minutes.
http://www.casavillagardenia.com/en/index.htm

Lorenza, who runs the place, is an excellent hostess, and the only word of warning I would offer guests is to be prepared for her husband Dino, who seems to feel that his role in life is to play the Italian lecher. Every woman of any age who walks through the front door gets kisses and cheek pinches from Dino at any opportunity. And then he'll turn to your husband with a leer and ask "Geloso?" (Jealous?). You just have to laugh him off and take him as part of the experience. Actually, I ended up having a nice conversation (in Italian, no less) with Dino when I got him on to the subject of his quite lovely garden. Lorenza knows a little English (she said she'd just had a crash course), so she can communicate the basics, but it would help to know some Italian if you stay there.
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Oct 23rd, 2005, 03:33 PM
  #36  
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Up in the Hills: Bassano Del Grappa and Asolo

The Saturday we visited Villa Barbaro we stopped in to nearby Bassano del Grappa and Asolo. In retrospect, we probably should have skipped Bassano. We got there while the Saturday market was going on, which sounds like a good time, but the market crowds really overwhelmed the town, and we couldn't see much of anything else. It also was not a particularly impressive market after some of the others we'd seen. And the main reason my DH wanted to visit Bassano was its unique covered wooden bridge. Well, it was covered, all right -- with scaffolding for repairs. In fact, the thing that most impressed us about Bassano was its high-tech parking garage! It had a very clever system where (as we finally figured out) they photographed your license plate on the way in, and you then keyed your plate number into a machine on the way out, so it could tell you how much you owed for your time. We had a not-very-memorable pizza lunch there, then went on to the villa, and finally to Asolo.

If we had known beforehand what was going on in Asolo, we would have done things differently. They were having a wine and cheese festival, and we could have paid a few euro each and sampled a lot of local specialities. But we'd had too much pizza and weren't hungry any more. The lesson I learned from today was that I should have written to the tourist offices of all these towns ahead of time to get maps and information on events. We wasted a lot of time getting to and around Bassano because we didn't have a map, and if we had known about the festival in Asolo, we would have planned our day to take advantage of it.

Now, this is for LoveItaly -- I think I can understand your feelings about Asolo. It does have a certain amount of scenic charm, but I thought that there was something sort of faked about it -- that much of its ambience was put on for the tourist trade. It was a welcome change of scene to be up on a hill after all those days of flatlands, but I couldn't help thinking that Tuscany really does the hilltown thing better. That probably isn't fair, and we weren't there long enough to get more than a first impression, but to my mind it was more the contrast with its surroundings than its unique intrinsic qualities that made Asolo stand out.

After another drive full of wandering unplanned detours, we finally got back to the hotel. Some friends from home had arrived that day, and we had planned to help introduce them to Venice. Unfortunately, it was too late and we were all too tired to go into the city that night, so we just walked up the street to a pizza place recommended by Lorenza at the B&B. In case you had any doubt, you can't always guarantee a good meal in Italy just by finding a place full of locals. It wasn't bad, just very ordinary -- and also extremely loud since most people seemed to be congregating there more for raucous socializing than the food.
nonnafelice is offline  
Oct 24th, 2005, 07:13 AM
  #37  
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Venice: Just a Few Notes

Our first day at Marghera my DH and I went in to Venice and enjoyed walking around some of the less-frequented areas, mostly away from tourist crowds. As I said, we had been there before, and had already checked off the main must-sees. We had lunch at Prosecco (a Slow Food osteria), 1503 Campo San Giacomo dall'Orio in Santa Croce. This was an ideal spot to sit outdoors on a crisp sunny day and enjoy a simple but perfectly prepared salad, along with a great wine selection, away from the throngs of the most-visited areas of Venice.

Two days later, when we went to Venice with our friends (who hadn't ever seen Venice) the experience was not so ideal. First of all it was a Sunday, which probably doubled the tourist load. Secondly, our friends only had one day, so needed to cram a lot in. Third, the weather was rapidly going downhill. Fourth, we made the mistake (because we couldn't find the place we were looking for and everyone was really hungry) of settling for a mediocre lunch at a tourist trap facing Santa Maria Formosa. Don't go there. Finally, on Sunday San Marco is only open in the afternoon, and we barely managed to battle our way through the crowds to get in just before they shut out the lights at 4 pm -- an hour earlier than the guidebooks had told us.

By this time the drizzle was intensifying, and we were getting pretty wet after finding our way to La Fenice. I do want to go back there sometime when I can see the interior, but it was amazing to see the reconstruction from what had been a burned-out shell on our last trip. (Read John Berendt's "City of Falling Angels" for a wonderful inside-story view of the afermath of the fire.). I was disappointed though that Venice is STILL working on the San Marco Clock Tower. It is pretty funny the way they have covered it with a picture of Big Ben. When we were there in 1999, the picture was of the actual Venetian clock tower, but I guess people got tired of looking at that, so now they are working their way through other famous towers. They've had Pisa and Eiffel, and next up will be the Empire State.

Anyway, walking around in the rain was getting old fast, so the rest of our time in Venice was mostly spent indoors consuming food and drink. First there was a glass of prosecco at Vino Vino wine bar, then coffee, tea and gelato at Paolin's in Campo Santo Stefano -- both very pleasant places to sit and chat.

The best experience of the day was an excellent meal at another Slow Food Osteria -- Da Rioba, 2553 Fondamente Miseracordia in Cannaregio. Highlights were a pepper flan in curry sauce (sounds weird, but it was fantastic) and swordfish in sesame crust. Total for 4 (with wine and dessert) was 120 euro -- quite reasonable for the quality of the meal.

We had a close brush with the vaporetto police on the way home. We really had intended to walk back to the bus stop, but it was pouring so hard that we headed for the vaporetto instead. But there was no place we could buy a ticket at 10 pm on Sunday, so we just got on to take our chances. Well, we really started to sweat when we saw that the ticket inspectors were making the rounds -- but luck was with us in that they were getting such a long harangue from the first woman they tried to bust that we were able to make it to our stop and jump out before they asked us for the tickets we didn't have! We really had not intended to embark on a public transportation crime spree, but Italy doesn't make it easy for you to pay your way on trains and buses if you don't plan ahead.
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Oct 24th, 2005, 07:18 AM
  #38  
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Final Day: Mamma Mia! Tanto Piove!

On previous trips I have seen it rain as hard as it did that Monday, but only in fairly brief showers. This torrential downpour just kept on coming. Our plan for the day had been to return to Venice, do a little shopping, and have a casual day of wandering about. But we'd already had one wet day in Venice, when it was only raining about half as hard as it was today, and the thought of squelching about the streets did not hold much appeal. I can't complain too much, though, since we'd had no rain at all in the preceding 2 weeks, and I guess it was all saving up for the last day and a half.

So we figured that since we did have a car, we might as well use it and hope that driving away from Venice would take us to someplace a little drier. One place that had intrigued me but didn't fit into our itinerary was the Abbazia di Pomposa, supposedly a very beautiful monastery, which was about halfway back to Bologna. Here's where it definitely paid off to have an Internet connection in our room. We could easily research the abbey, its hours, get driving directions, and find restaurant recommendations en route so at least we could (we hoped) have a nice lunch. I pulled up 4 possiblities for Slow Food places along the way, and we headed out. Well, the first place was closed, we never could find the second place, and the third place was in the town of Rovigo, which was pretty big, and we didn't have a map of the town to help us find our way. By this time it was getting near the end of the lunch hour and the rain was still coming down in buckets, so we just headed in to Rovigo to take our chances, figuring there had to be SOME place there we could eat. We were getting so desperate we actually almost considered a Mickey D's en route, when suddenly there on the right was the Slow Food trattoria we'd been hoping for. We'd had no idea what street we were on, or how we got there, but we took it as a sign from heaven (the heavens that were still pouring down upon us) that the day was not a total loss.

Lunch was in fact the only thing that salvaged this soggy day. I wouldn't recommend that anyone go out of their way to visit Rovigo, which doesn't seem to have much to recommend it tourist-wise, but if you do find yourself nearby and in need of sustenance, you couldn't possibly do better than Tavernetta Dante (Corso del Popolo 212). (That's where we encountered the dripping guy exclaiming "Mamma Mia! Tanto piove!" -- i.e., So much rain!) Tavernetta Dante was definitely in our top three restaurant experiences of this trip. I had crostini with an assortment of toppings -- pesto, mushrooms, cheeses, and tomato -- each one yummier than the next, followed by a sublime pasta with pumpkin and smoked ricotta filling. Mike had a wonderful platter of gnocchi con finoferini (wild mushrooms) and liver Venetian style with polenta, which was perfectly prepared. With wine and coffee the total bill was 45 €.

By the time we finished lunch it was getting on past 3:00, it was still pouring rain, and we just weren't up for attempting a further excursion. So we decided to end our day on a high note, and just head back for the B&B to finish packing for our return. Our round trip flight was from Bologna, which had worked out well as a destination airport. We flew Lufthansa through Frankfurt and everything went quite smoothly.

Well, this has been a lot longer than I intended, but I'll just sum up by saying it was one of our best trips ever. I would highly recommend Emilia Romagna and the Veneto if you're looking to explore a part of Italy with a lot to offer, a great deal of variety, fantastic food, but by and large not overrun with tourists. Don't go expecting great scenic beauty compared to other areas of Italy, since the countryside is mostly very flat (that's why you see so many bikes). But the cities and towns in this area have a wealth of delights, are mostly very accessible by public transportation, and each one has its own individual personality that it's fun to discover.
nonnafelice is offline  
Oct 24th, 2005, 11:02 AM
  #39  
 
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thank you for the report! It was fantastic and I have taken alot of notes for my future trips!

SeaUrchin is offline  
Oct 24th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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It sounds as though, despite some blips, you had a lovely trip! And you shared some very useful information! Thanks for your report!
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