Verona is one of the most picturesque cities in the whole of Italy. The city is known for being the setting of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and every year thousands of people flock in the tiny cobbled streets to visit the Casa di Giuilietta and the Casa di Romeo, said to be the family homes of the ‘star-crossed’ lovers. This reputation as the ‘city of love’ also racks up a hefty price tag in the city’s hotels and restaurants, but the beauty of the centre is something that cannot be missed. The concrete balconies that line the narrow stress are draped with gorgeous fuscia flower displays. At the heart of the city lies the Piazza delle Erbe – originally the city’s forum, the piazza is now a bustling square where people gather in the evening to enjoy an aperitivo beneath the incredible frescos than run along the tops of the bars.
We soon discovered that the local cuisine uses a lot of unfamiliar ingredients, the most notable of which were donkey and horse. After wandering through the streets for hours looking for somewhere that will still open, we stopped for late lunch in a little place with a lovely outdoor patio. We decided to stay clear of the donkey, but both tried something new – fresh bigoli (thick spaghetti) pasta with nettles & smoked ricotta, and fresh maccheroni (macaroni) in a ‘nduja sausage, tomato and cimbro sauce. The sausage gave the sauce a rich, vibrant colour and a good kick of heat, which worked beautifully with the local creamy cimbro cheese. The nettle sauce was like nothing we’ve ever taste, almost seafood-like and quite salty. I’m still not sure whether I like it or not but it was definitely an experience. The smoked ricotta was delicious though!
We spent most of the afternoon exploring the city and visiting the Casa di Giulietta along with its famous balcony. The whole surface of the nearby walls is plastered in love notes and padlocks left by couples who’ve come to see the historic home.
In the evening we ate in a tiny osteria with just a handful of reserved tables. We shared a deli platter of local cheeses, chutney, sundried tomatoes, salami, flatbreads and deed fried mozzarella which was amazing – literally proper mozzarella dippers. The salami was thickly sliced and really soft which was a nice change from the really thin processed ones you get at hotel breakfasts 😬. For mains we had the sea bass baked in a potato galette, served with parmesan and black pepper potatoes and grilled vegetables. You could taste how fresh the ingredients were – it was really delicious. The sea bass especially was wonderfully tender and flavoursome. The potatoes underneath soaked up the cooking liquid too so we’re also really good.
Excited to be going on a day trip tomorrow to the iconic floating city – Venezia! 🚣🇮🇹