Day 1 ~ Padova, Vicenza and Verona

My Lancia rental car pulls out onto the airport expressway, and the trip begins. I try the autostrada first, and yes, there are high speeds and extensive amounts of truckers, but the tailgating was insane! I could have picked the guy’s nose in the white car behind me. I felt like Ned Flanders trying to drive faster to escape the clingy Homer, but the car just can’t accelerate! “Daddy, drive faster!” “I can’t! It’s a Geo!”

First stop was Padova, (Padua) a university town and the setting for The Taming of the Shrew. It was a Monday in August, before noon and nobody was moving, not even a nun.

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I found a cool feature on Google maps, where I hit a button and it recommends different places based on location and time of day. It told me to go to Ai Porteghi (Via Cesare Battisti 105), and who am I to disagree with a computer? It was a delightful place with no customers on an early Monday afternoon.

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That bread is included because it was excellent. No day old stuff here. You didn’t need to tear it to bite through it, and the pasta was so al dente as to be almost crunchy, but still cooked. The meat sauce was typical Padovese–a mixture of poultry meat that was heavy with rosemary. The wine was a Cabernet from Padova.

Next stop was Vicenza, and it was after lunch, so the town was either asleep or gone away on August holidays. So my idea of a second lunch got erased. I went sightseeing instead.

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It was a great afternoon of gelato and walking. I got back on the road to head to those lovestruck punks Romeo and Juliet’s hometown, Verona. It was nighttime, so I just headed for dinner.

I went to Leon D’Oro (Via Pallone 10) and had a beautifully symmetrical and delicious pizza of sausage and onion and Montepulciano Superiore vino. It was an outdoor place with the typical crumbling walls and shuttered windows.

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And what better way to end the day in Verona than by catching some saucy and fashionable lady smoking on her balcony.

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Then off in the morning with espresso, buttery bread and salted meats in the belly.

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