Where to Eat in Udine

Moving from the sea of Trieste to the lowlands before the Dolomites lies Udine. It’s the largest city in the province, and the only city in Friuli Venezia Giulia to have a professional soccer team in the Serie A. Continue reading “Where to Eat in Udine”

Day 2 ~ Getting “Cheesy” in Parma, Gelato Perfection in Modena, Branzino in Bologna

I stayed the night in the outskirts of Verona. One night at a random hotel in the city was 150 euro, so I drove past hookers standing on the roadside and made it to my little place, Hotel Gelmini. They had excellent wifi and served a real nice breakfast in the morning. Heading south now, I was surprised by the impressive entrance to Mantova.


It was a nice causeway toward an ancient city where Romeo held out and mostly cried during his banishment from nearby Verona. Parma was my next stop and I was getting hungry. Traditionally, the Emilia-Romagna region holds the secrets of Italy’s best food. Lasagna, Bolognese sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, tortellini and prosciutto among others’ have their roots here. I used Google again, and it led me to Trattoria del Tribunale (Vicolo Politi 5). It was just off the main square. I ordered a plate of parmigiano, and anyone who has seen the famous Sunny “philanthropist” episode where Charlie eats cheese before meeting a woman, and Dennis replies that “Any amount of cheese before a date is too much cheese, Charlie!” Well, I ordered too much cheese.


It was delicious and had a little crunch as you chewed. A few drops of balsamico only added to the flavor. I ate half and saved the rest for my pasta.


It was Tagliolini with Culotello. Honestly, the noodles tasted like the best kind of Ramen. After a big lunch, I walked the streets and found many of these little stores, specializing in the quality food of the region. People ordering had the look of students computing calculus in their heads. Each choice of ham or cheese was a delicate decision that required much consideration.


Back in the car and headed to the balsamic vinegar capital, Modena. I felt heavy with formaggi, and needed something light. I got real lucky finding this gem of a gelato place. One young guy, Gianluca, owns and operates it and told me he spends 14 hours a day there. His recipes are perfectly balanced and low in added sugar. The cones he shapes to look like a flower (ergo the name, BLOOM). This place set the new bar for gelato. It was among the best I’ve had, “the best Jerry.” I ordered a mango and blueberry. Then, it was so good, I got a raspberry and chocolate.

(Somehow, I lost all the photos of Modena and Bologna, so it’s just imagination from here.)

Now headed to Bologna for the night where I got a cheap price in a 4 star hotel. I still needed something light to eradicate my cheese-laden gullet, and found a nice local place, Fraiese (Via Emilia Ponente 22). The waiter with no neck recommended the branzino, which was excellent in Croatia, so let’s try it again. It was a nice salty fish with tender white flesh.

It came with the vegetables I picked from the buffet area. It’s so nice to pick apart a fish and be left with the bony body like a hungry cartoon cat.

Another Day at the “Beach”

Although Trieste doesn’t have a sandy beach, they do have hard paved stones on which to lie. It’s always crowded, and most people hang the whole day, and smartly bring a lounge chair. But first, I needed lunch. My roommate Marco and I headed to the city. We were headed to a strictly pork restaurant, but as they were closed for August break, we were now lost and hungry. We found an abandoned place and decided it was fine due to the high concentration of meat on the menu.


I ordered goulash with polenta. It was salty, but just what I wanted.


Next, we headed to our local, and deservedly famous gelateria, Zampolli’s.


I had the smaller one, tiramisu with chocolate truffle; he had a triple scoop of nero e bianco and his favorite–dark chocolate without milk…basically looks like tar, but tastes better.

He took a nap and did some work, I went to the “beach.”


It’s a flesh party with little room to yourself, but once you jump past the jagged rocks that lead to the water, it’s perfect swimming conditions. Of course, you have the classic stereotypes, speedos…


gelato from a truck…


cool guys playing guitar and smoking…


old people playing cards in the shade while admonishing the youngsters…


and fat guys swimming in the fountain…


It’s a helluva town. I walked the hour back to my apartment because the buses were chock-a-block. I bought a big beer for 1euro and sang the whole way home with the rhythm of my flip flops keeping time.