05.03.2019 - City Guide
CHEERS VERONA: city guide by Bolé
Bolé is back with our third proposal of mini guides encourage us to look at cities with new eyes. After Milan and London, we found ourselves in Verona, where Vinitaly, the international wine and spirits exhibition, takes place in April. We couldn't miss the opportunity to explore the curious side of this historic city during the most bubbly four days of the season!
In fair Verona... where ordinary mortals set foot among the Venetians, the population with wine in their blood, where the taverns are busier than churches and the religion of the glass rules society.
The endless hours we spent in the closed environs of the fair finally spilled out into the open air and we took to the streets of the centre to the tune of the crossings of chalices, chatter and small-bites, which lighten the aperitif and toasts at the restaurant or in the tavern, and at the dinners that accompany us into the small hours.
In this month's guide, we share this colourful city, where hours spent between Shakespearean walls brought joy, pleasure, and sated our taste for adventure!
Piazza delle Erbe is the place to meet those who want to be found. From 6pm the marble of the flooring becomes progressively invisible. The spaces tighten and the air becomes full of clinking glasses and snactches of conversation, but in almost every street there is at least one room where people find themselves sharing the sacred moment of the aperitivo.
We grew fond of the two red doors of Verona. The first of the Terrazza Bar Al Ponte, with a picture-postcard view of Adige and Castel San Pietro, open 7 days a week from 7am to 2am, and the second the Osteria La Mandorla, in via Alberto Mario 23. Here, just a stone's throw from the Arena, we sampled an excellent IGA beer made with the must of Gerwürztraminer; a drink that bridges the wine world and the brewing world, and an apt toast to kick off our marathon!
The delectable Osteria Caffè Monte Baldo in Via Rosa wins top marks for the quality, variety and care that is evident in everything they do. The attractive room at number 12 is well known ast the place to unwind, order a glass, and sample one, ten or a thousand canapés - the most creative, colorful, fresh and tasty in Verona. They even take bookings and do food to go! Don't miss the creamed cod canapé, perfectly paired with a fresh spumante, from this highly regarded kitchen and welcoming restaurant.
There's a time and a place for gourmet pizza slices, and it is anytime at Saporè Pizza Stand Up, Via della Costa, at the foot of the Torre dei Lamberti and practically in Piazza Dante, where the owners worked overtime to keep up with the demand of the revellers! Strictly to be eaten on your feet, they brought a much needed dose of carbohydrates to support the waltz of toasts of the Vinitaly crowd.
For those who appreciate leavened products, we suggest indulging in a meal at Saporè Downtown, in via Amanti 6/8, where you can take a culinary tour through the bread products of Renato Bosco. Different in shape, texture, leavening and cooking, this is pizza's last frontier. Perfect when washed down with Baladin beer on draft!
Restaurants with a captial R
Vinitaly means overexposure of the senses, and the restaurants we experienced were nothing short of Dionysian. The flavours, accompanied, completed, contrasted, indulged, enriched, and enhanced by the character of the wines, were amplified by environments able to tell a story by themselves, and by attentive service.
The Alcova del Frate was a pleasant surprise, with its plush curtained ceilings and extensive wine list: a beautiful geographical selection, including Italian and international bottles, the equivalent of having a globe at the table and being able to materialise the new world - New Zealand, Australia, Chile- at our whim. The dishes were intense, with well balanced flavors, very enjoyable.
We didn't want to leave, but they who dare win, and so the next evening we ventured out to a new discovery.
The reflection of the street on the window and the narrow entrance, which almost blends into the wall, make the Café Carducci visible only to those who know it. You cross the threshold and are immediately won over. The furnishings, the soft light, and the warmth of the open kitchen take you to another time, the 1920s; the wine, food and care of Stefano and Benedetta do the rest.
Here we found the best selection of cheeses in all of Verona. Every dish brought to the table was chosen with the wisdom and passion of those who travel to get to know the producers directly - the managers really do so.
They also keep wines for years in their old cellars and serve them to customers when they are at the peak of their expression. Of particular note is their impressive collection of old vintages of wines from Veneto, including some Valpolicella's most precious gems.
It seems luck was on our side in Verona, as our fortuitous third culinary experience bought us to Ristorante La Canonica, where the kitchen is a creative studio, the food a palette, and the chefs artists. Each plate is a painting; gourmet cuisine offers unusual combinations with surprising results.
An inquisitive search for flavours and playful textures is transformed into the aesthetics of taste. Great selection of natural wines and superb staff, who served us with elegance, knowledge and passion.
Mackerel, aromatic salad, teriyaki sauce and passion fruit
Balfego tuna and its belly, red prawns, cream of potato, spinach and caramello di mare
Photo credit : Ristorante La Canonica
Our swift walk to Piazza San Zeno to find Roberto's star ice-cream, served only to speed up the metabolism and evaporate some alcohol, because the ice cream parlor was closed.
However, our disappointment will find compensation in your joy: Zeno Gelato and Cioccolato has reopened in Via Sant’Alessio 6, on the most scenic bend of the city, a few meters from the beautiful church of Santo Stefano and the Roman theatre.
Our morning inspiration came via Cantonucci, in Via Interrato dell'Acqua Morta 46 where we continued to return for breakfast every day, and not only! This retro eatery is utterly photogenic, full of jars of candy, sweets, milk and confectionary of all sorts. From delicious sugar-dusted snacks and salty pick-me-up elevenses, to an aperitivo and even lunch. The team carefully prepare each morsel, and the food is genuine, as is their approach to customers.
Verona on foot is the only way to go, and there are three streets that are worth going out of your way for, concentrating the essence of the city and showing its most picturesque face. Via Ponte Pietra is a flowery curve of beautiful terraces full of bouquets of tulips, which make their appearance in the spring and invite you to stop for a coffee, an ice cream, a spritz or a meal.
The cobblestoned Via Sottoriva runs along the riverbank at a lower level. On one side, along its entire length, it is flanked by a low portico that gives it a medieval appearance and that counts, among others, the Osteria Sottoriva- the place to sit on a summer evening and try typical Veronese cuisine . No reservations, and sharing of wooden tables softened by a flower.
Corte Sgarzerie, hidden in the heart of the city and just a few steps from Piazza delle Erbe, houses a recently restored stepped portico and a corner sheltered from the voices of the crowd.
Here we discovered Libreria Pagina 12, named for the number of years it has been open - and the number of pages you need to read to understand if a book is good or not, says Roberta, a courageous bookseller, who has made this independent refuge the point of reference for the strong readers of the city. This is a haven for those who believe in the unifying power of reading and in the possibility of establishing a dialogue on and through books.
Roberta is well prepared, an eager ear that listens, and an eye that really sees. You'll find her amongst the shelves, ready to advise!
Chosen and made with love
Walking around, we stumbled across a row of small windows. Intrigued, we pushed open the doors and met a collection of adorable humanity.
Via Carducci 2 is a collection of creativity, where you can have tailored shoes made, and find magnificent backpacks, bags, belts and other creations in leather, rigorously handmade and customizable. This specialist artisan shop, Il Gabbiano J., uses only vegetable tanned leather with natural dyes that do not damage the environment.
Sottosopra 33, in Via Scrimiari 3, is a gem of vintage clothing. Claudia and her mother search far and wide to find treasures that are hard to resist. In Via Roma, at Cappelli Moda Carcereri, it is impossible not to find something special among the piles of hats of all shapes and sizes that the eccentric owner pulls out from every corner, and with a trained eye can suggest.
Fanatics of paper, the pen, and gardens must pass by the Libreria Il Gelso, in Via G. Zambelli. A large selection awaits you with plants, flowers, vegetable gardens, botany and curation of greenery. They have papers of all colors, weights and compositions; diaries, hand-bound notebooks and a number of greetings cards for all occasions, made by young illustrators like Giada Floris.
Written by: Rachele Perbellini
Rachele was born in Verona, but is a citizen of the world. She lives between the pages of books, and it seems that writing is the thing she was meant to do. She drinks a lot of craft beer, eats mountains of vegetables, and loves odd socks and nineteenth-century cemeteries.