Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aida in Verona's Arena, Monte Conero, aceto balsamico

30 Agosto
Time to get in another post. The week has been full of activities for me. We are winding down the busy season here at Nascondiglio di Bacco and I woke up early today to see our nice German family off with a quick breakfast. They had many interesting stories to tell, having found out about the Marche in a book called The Big Laugh written by a german author.
The wife had spent 6 months in the USA in the mid 70's and the stories she told took me back to a simpler, more trusting time in our country's history. She and a girlfriend hitchhiked all across the US and were welcomed into people's houses wherever they went and given the keys to the car and the house for the weekend while the family went away. She remembers having much more trouble in Mexico with the men there than in the states where everyone was wonderfully friendly (one truck driver drove his big rig into Seattle to buy them dinner at a real restaurant when he heard they were only eating fast food).
I took my little excursion up to Verona to watch Aida by Verdi-4 hours of spectacle with up to 100 people and 3 horses on the stage at one time. I didn't get Adrian's email in time to choose the highly rated restaurant Botega di Vini, but instead ate at Enoteca Segreta which is a wonderful little corner in an alley with a nice wine list and carefully selected foods. I had duck and goose salamis and gnocchetti and a cheese plate paired with the wines of the Veneto. The enoteca is right next to an always completely full restaurant full of tourists and I think we came out on the winning end with our choice.
We saw all the sights in the guide book in Verona, then on to Aida, parting the next day after viewing the Giardino Giusti, another little gem in Verona worth a visit. The one thing I didn't like is the entrance fee charged by the Duomo and another church although you could fib and say you are just entering to pray, but in my opinion when you take money for entering a church, you are also asking the Holy Spirit to leave.
Enough pontificating.
As I drove back on Autostrada A4, then A22, then A1 and A14, I thought this must be a bit like Hell. You don't see anything, experience anything, just rush and rush to get from point A to B. But fortune struck me and there was an accident on A22 with a line of cars 6 km long and I exited the strada and headed for Modena on the back roads. That allowed me to find Villa Lesignano for lunch and the oldest acetoficio in Italy where balsamic vinegar has been made for 17 generations. The oldest barrel dates to 1600. The latest generation gave us a tour and I picked up a couple of bottles for the B&B.
Back to the fast lane I came up with a plan to visit Monte Conero, home of Rosso Conero wines and famous for secluded beaches and a national park and spent a pleasant couple of hours on hiking trails and watching the sunset over the Ancona province of the Marche from the terrace of the hotel on the top of the promontory.
Back to Nascondiglio di Bacco, it is time for the potatura or pruning of the olive trees prior to harvest. I cut out all the non producing sucker branches to give extra nutrients to the branches with olives. I finished about a third of our trees yesterday and reminded my right hand where the callouses are supposed to be!
The pictures are of Verona from a monastery above the city, the balcony where Juliet listened to the love ballads of Romeo, the Palazzo d'Erbe (famous meeting spot in Verona), the statue of Dante in the palazzo degli uomini and one of the Scagliere tombs (ruling family of Verona mentioned by Dante). Check out more fotos above.

1 comment:

adrian said...

Dwight, thanks for the tip about the Enoteca. I just booked 2 nights in Verona. Will try. If you pretend Lambrusco is Coca Cola, it goes down a lot easier!