Skip to main content

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Well Julie girl, I can't explain just why he had to be born a Montague, but I might be able to show where he does hang out when not lurking under your balcony, and let me tell you, it ain't very far. Andar per goti is the veronese version of a pub crawl. Andar (to go) per goti (for glasses of wine) can only mean one thing - a heck of a great time in the old streets where Shakespeare's tragedy took place, and this is what we set out to do in fair Verona...

One day in Verona

From dimly lit hole-in-the-walls, to osterie, to restaurants, 6 randomly chosen locations from Slow Food's guidebook share the spotlight in our quest to discover who pours the best. Salud! Cin-Cin! Okole Maluna! Kampai! Mabuhay! It was a BLAST, with only one bad apple out of the whole bunch. The wonderful thing about all this is that Verona's old center is restricted to pedestrian traffic, thus creating the perfect opportunity to what I can only describe as a great way to lose the crowds and enjoy this breathtakingly beautiful city on an intimate level.

Images of Verona intermingle with glasses of Amarone, Valpolicella and Soave, punctuated with “distractions” because we all know a girl can't go to an italian city without exploring the gelato, cheese, pastry and/or shopping scene. Beginning from the tourist-packed Piazza Bra at one side of the arena (B) and finishing at another (M), the map below lists all of the spots included in our itinerary. Initially we had planned on taking the train but realized that precious time would be wasted in getting there. You just can't do Verona in less than 6 hours! The large pay-park named Arena (A) is where our journey begins and is a short distance from Piazza Bra. Loads of photos, getting chased and proposed to by a gladiator, and a video clip (yeah I know it's so disco!) is included at the end, so without further ado, let's begin the tour.

Visualizzazione ingrandita della mappa

C) Vista of Santuario della Madonna di Lourdes from Ponte della Vittoria

The Adige river winds around Verona's medieval center like a snake, offering amazing views like this one from Ponte Vittoria. Tree-lined streets along on this side of the river make for a lovely stroll until we get to the first stop.

D) Trattoria Pane e Vino

Rotten eggs first. This place left me with such a bad taste in my mouth that I had to spit outside. As the owner rudely stated: "If you can speak italian then you can read the italian menu outdoors. This is a trattoria, not a place for wine and nibbles!" Well then, your name shouldn't be bread and wine, genius.

E) Ostaria A Le Petarine

With no less than half a dozen old guys hanging around indoors, I honestly can't say that I would have walked in here all by my lonesome, but this is exactly the sort of locale where you mingle with the regulars for cheap goti of wine or go for a little more depth without breaking your wallet. We ordered a glass each of Amarone and Valpolicella - 4.30€ total - and tried to decipher the local dialect as we drank and listened in on the small talk.

F) Osteria Al Duomo

Up to this point we were only drinking and taking advantage of the free bites just to see what each place was like. I wish I could have stopped the tour right here because the aroma coming out of the kitchen at Osteria Al Duomo was simply to die for! Hot, steamy waves of hearty polenta, ragu and mouth-watering victuals seemed to be directed our way where we sat at the entrance. If it weren't for a set itinerary I might have said screw the rest and let's just eat here. The chef's assistant, a pleasant young woman, acknowledged us as soon as we walked in, poured our glasses of wine and went about her cooking tasks (we had a clear view right into the kitchen). Within a few minutes another person showed up with this huge bag of taralli and we were given a bowlful. Nothing fancy, but it was the courteous service which makes gems like these so nice to return to. One thing that I took note of was the plaque on the door as you leave. URTAR (oor-TAHR) is dialect for spingere - push - which if you've already guessed I got all wrong! Hey, after the 3rd glass things were looking pretty hazy, but I was determined to save my appetite for something more. On the way to our next stop we passed a wedding group and I made like one of the guests.

G) Osteria Monte Baldo

Jackpot! The mother lode! Monte Baldo, bubbling with high energy and happy people going in and out of the premises, was exactly what I had in mind for andar per goti. A neat little display case with all sorts of 2-bite snacks greets your eyeballs as soon as you walk in. I nabbed a spot up front and center at the bar, we ordered our wine and after a bit of hesitation (I have this thing about "digging in" without asking first), one by one a delicious morsel became the makings of a miniature meal. Tiny mortadella-stuffed panini, pizzas, meatballs, tarallucci...this time I went with a white wine - Soave - which was great with baccala mantecato (codfish spread) and a hard egg with a strip of anchovy. Hard-boiled eggs were also within reach on the counter, and I noticed this offering at another osteria. We drank and munched to stave off the hunger pangs, then went on to the next stop.

H) Osteria Al Carro Armato

Three down two more to go. High ceilings, pale walls, and large windows let in the afternoon sunlight - such a contrast to the dark, intimate corners that we experienced at the previous addresses. I needed something with more substance to counter my umpteenth glass of Valpolicella and ordered a plate of nervetti (veal tendons) with onions. Delicious stuff.

I) Osteria Sottoriva

Finally, the last one! I'm sorry to say that crumb-coated meatballs and lightly seasoned chicken wings (tetteciucciidiei sp?) - delicious all the same - were all I could manage with my wine. We sat and vegetated with the full knowledge that our tour was only half over. We still had to see the main sights, buy cheese and omiyage gifts to bring home, see Juliet's house! I took over 150 photos...what a fool to think that I could finish this post in a couple of hours. Looking forward to another Andar per goti but this time with friends. If any of you expats happen on this post and want in, drop me a line!

J) Piazza delle Erbe

K) Juliet's Balcony

So I yelled, "JULIET!!!!!!!!!" And this couple turned to look straight into my lens. Perfect shot. I dunno who they are.

L) Palazzo dei Diamanti

The Diamond Palace, so named because the exterior walls consist of marble blocks carved to represent diamonds.


Tamakikat said…
Oooh! I'd like to sit myself down in one of these places for an evening or 7:)

Ciao Chow Linda said…
Thanks for the great tips on places in Verona. I'll be stopping there for a couple of days on my way to ski in Val Gardena.
K and S said…
awesome video and foodbuzz! challenge, sounded like a great time except for that one place.
Frizzy said…
Oh man! Verona was one of our favorite cities to visit while living in Italy. Though we didn't do any of our trips like you we sure enjoyed all this beautiful city has to offer. During your next trip you'll have to cross the river and check out Giusti Gardens. Beautiful and at the top is a view of the city like none other. Loved this walk down memory lane. Thank you my friend.
Gayle said…
Ohhh, I love Verona. I have wonderful memories of my time there. In particular, a certain salumeria where the owner, a jovial old man who couldn't stop touching my shoulder and smiling with delight that I was so excited about all the food offerings! He was wonderful and he pointed us to an osteria where I had some of the best trippa ever. I went back to thank him the next day and he wasn't there, but I will thank him next time I go...whenever that is. Great post, Rowena!
RONW said…
it always eludes me how the Italians picked up on a play performed in England, written by a playwright who never visited Italy. Oh, well.
Rowena said…
Tamakikat - I thought the same thing myself! Maybe next time we'll just have to stay a couple nights instead of head back home.

CC Linda - do take notes when you go! This was only the tip of the iceberg...wish I could've gone to all of the little osteria.

Kat - I was so tired on Sunday...and then having to put it all together in a post! Argggh! When are you gonna do one? ^-^

Frizzy - I wanted to go up to the Sanctuary Lourdes for a photo op of the city, but next time it'll have to be a 2day/1night stay at least! No way to rush Verona...sigh. Glad I brought back some wonderful memories for you!

Gayle - between you and Frizzy, I'm so glad you have fond memories of the city. I've been there only once...10 years ago...but I only hung around the arena waiting until my friend's dental appointment was over! I didn't have the time to explore at all.

RONW - connections man, connetions...over here they know everything!
Rowena said…
Oops! - fyi...there's a typo on the song title. Left out the second "o" in Romeo. I also forgot to add the panzerotti in Verona!
Deb R said…
Oh Rowena...I wish I could have been there to enjoy this too!!!
Munchkin Mommy said…
Hello fellow 24,24,24 participant! It's been 16 years since I was blessed to visit Verona and other cities in Italy as an 18th birthday present.

It was fun barhopping with you, albeit virtually! I got to see scenes that aren't really part of tours. Hee hee. Cheers and mabuhay! :)
What fun! I only spent a short time in Verona last year but next time I go, I'll be sure to leave enough time to fit all this in...
Rowena said…
Munchkin Mommy - haha! Thanks!! How awesome that you got to visit Verona as a bday present...sweet!

Helen - it never crossed my mind to explore Verona until I became involved with this little project. You just hear things like...awwww, it's just a bunch of tourists rubbing the breast of Juliet's statue (for luck)...and nothing more. So wrong! wrong! wrong!
Fern Driscoll said…
Loved this post, Rowena - you guys sure know how to pack a huge amount in (literally and figuratively) in a few hours. Che Bravi! The wedding shots were kind of creepy, no? How come everyone's in black? And what's with the black hummer?? Maybe better not to ask...
Fantastic food fotos as ever - would love to join your on your next 'andar' but don't think it will happen. Will be with you in spirit. Soooo... about that gladiator....
Rowena said…
Fern! - I have yet to hear someone make a comment about the music used in the video. Is it just me that knows this song? ^-^ Ha! Goes to prove where I hung out on the weekends with my disco "do" (think Donna summer curls).

About the wedding...before seeing the Hummer I thought it was a funeral, but then even if it was a funeral, the white ribbon things wouldn't have made any sense!
Martissima said…
Hello, I am in Verona and I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Rowena said…
Astrofiammante - Verona is GORGEOUS! It is a pity that 10 years ago, I did not know this. Nobody ever wrote about andar per goti in the guidebooks, or to look beyond Giuletta's balcony. I can't wait to visit your city again!

Popular posts from this blog

Medieval castles but not a knight in sight

Counting castles...what we need now is a lively jousting event and fair maidens. Valle d'Aosta is the land of castelli (castles), and spotting them is almost like engaging in a game of punch bug. I felt that it wouldn't be right to leave out such historical detail, but the sharp'll see what I mean in the photos. Now I don't know if it's due to Walt setting the standard on what a castle should look like, but through the dozen or so times that I've been here, not once did I make any real effort to appreciate these medieval landmarks that have withstood the test of time - save one. That would be the Castle of Sarre (3rd image), where we had our wedding photos taken. I believe that most castles are open to the public, and further info can be found here at Valle d'Aosta Castles . The Disney ish -looking one is Castle Saint Pierre (at right). It's a small world after all. Parking sign [P] and picnic tables (not shown) in front of Cast

A Campari moment

So...the lawn is done. The shower (and a double-sized one at that) scrubbed down. The floors mopped. The "kids" bathed, dried, and nails clipped. The monstrous old fennel cut down and ready to cart away. The kumquat fertilized, dinner done (oxtail soup), and the terrace swept for the 10th time because the "kids" think it's perfectly okay to leave the chestnut peels after devouring those that fall in the yard. The best part? Having my lardo d'Arnad photo featured in an italian restaurant and hospitality magazine, Italia A Tavola . I'm pretty stoked, and was sent a pdf copy of which I've snipped a part here.

A tour of Lake Garda's western shores

If Quantum of Solace had chosen to film elsewhere, I might've never made the effort to visit Lake Garda. Two days and two nights only allowed us to scratch the surface, not nearly enough time to explore the high mountains with the dogs, or check out all of the Slow Food restaurants in this part of the region. Next time it'll have to be 5 days minimun - at least to find the very spot where that photo above was taken! All of the towns along Lake Garda's western shores are very touristic, appealing greatly to german and dutch visitors. We chose to stay in Gargnano mainly because I was able to find a reasonably-priced hotel that allowed small pets, but also for the fact that Benito Mussolini (Italy's last dictator) spent his final days at Villa Feltrinelli which is located on a private stretch of beach in Gargnano. The luxury hotel is an historical building which has been restored with truly impeccable taste (you have to see the website) commanding upwards of 6265+