Posted by: jtccitaly | May 29, 2011

The David Corona Food Diaries: Savor, Serendipity, and La Serenissima

Your Faithful Reporter is sure that all of the participants in the Study Tour have been filling their journals with pages of impressions, explanations and musings.  Being a member of the Theater class I can report that that is certainly true for us.  And we continue a mangare bene (to dine well.)

We relocated to Padova as a base near to Venice and Verona.  We spent a glorious 15 minutes with Giotto and his wonderful frescoes in the Srovegni Chapel.  Then it was off to Verona.  There we walked around the Roman Amphitheater, now the site of an expansive Summer Opera Season.  We saw the House of Juliet, the star-crossed lover.  And the more intrepid of us walked through the entirety of Verona and crossed the Adige to find the Roman Theater.

The Teatro Romano there is in at least enough repair to still be in use.  The Museum there contains mosaics and sculpture from the Theater and the surrounding area.  It contains funerary and religious artifacts as well.  We then wound our way back through town and to the Railroad Station.

There we found ourselves in the right place and time for a dining adventure.  Finding the café in the station closed we walked back to a small beer/coffee bar near the parking lot.  We ordered liquid refreshments and inquired as to the possibility of ‘appetizers.’

“Not usually,” replied our host, “but for you…”  The host of the bar brought out a tray of ham, not quite prosciutto but very good.  He then returned with a large knife an proceeded to carve of slices of a delicious and delicate local salami.  Your Reporter remarked that the only ‘problem’ with this impromptu feast was that it had caused him to drain his beverage, and that he would need un altro bira.

Our host replied, “Not beer, you will please try some wine from my family’s farm.”  He poured us a wonderful, fruity, dry red wine.  It had enough natural carbonation and was quite the tasty sparkling wine.  This little snack was more than enough to sustain us and refresh us for our ride back to Padova.  We of the Theater Class had just experienced a wonderful, gracious piece of theater—no stage, no script, but just food, cordiality, flavor, and wonderful presentation.

We also trained to Venice for a couple of days there.  After making many detours and turns we saw the Palazzo of Goldoni, a famous Italian playwright.  And then it was off to La Fenice, the Venice Opera House.  From the 1700’s, it burned down in the 90’s.  Like its namesake, the phoenix, it rose again from the ashes, as warm and elaborate as ever.

Prior to the performance the Theater Class had a delicious lunch in an adjacent restaurant.  We sampled zucchini flowers, beef cheeks, guitar spaghetti and other delights.

The show itself was wonderful with outstanding vocal and orchestral performances.  It was a tale if doomed love in which the only thing the heroine and hero could share was their sad, untimely deaths at the end of the performance.

Then it was back to the Venice train station after many wrong turns.  Despite the detours we were able to enjoy a lovely dinner along the Grand Canal.  Among the highlights were some very tall, multi-layered lasagna, calamari, and octopus.

There was also a really great Pizzeria/Ristorante just across from our hotel in Padova.  If you are interested in what other dining experiences were had by your daughter, son, spouse or friend, Your Reporter suggests that you take her/him to a local Italian restaurant in Richmond and have him/her recount experiences from the trip, and explain what the similarities and differences are.

Our next report will be from Firenze in Tuscany, the home of Chianti and Bistecca Fiorentina.  Buon Appetito.




  1. David, as always it is a watery mouth experience reading your food diaries, tell my daughter that I went to the Soprano’s Restaurant and they want to see the pics! Bon apetit!

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