She’s bacccccccccccccck. Missed all you Beaconeers like nobody’s business! Sure they had the oldest wine bar in the world in Ferarra, Italy. But they’re not like our wine bars here, where everyone knows your name – in English.
Yes, we snuck away for almost 3 weeks to Venice, Rome, and Florence where all of the Tuscan sun blazed on our backpacks. But we also ventured to Ferarra, Ravenna, Verona and Bologna. And, as we had the 14 year-old daughter Samantha there for her first trip, it wasn’t all about the wine.
Answering one Question
Hey Eve. Your pictures are great. What was your itinerary? We have been to the regular tourist spots: Rome, Venice, and Florence but would love to go back and not hit the same old same old. Any suggestions?
(Photo link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1164517440530.25716.1455706632&type=1&l=48c99cd73a )
Ferarra – everyone, and I mean everyone, on bicycles, makes for a very interesting afternoon sipping Aperol spritzers and people watching, a great castle w/moat, pumpkin ravioli and the oldest wine bar in the world.Ferrara – Everyone, and I mean everyone, gets around on bicycles, which makes for a very entertaining view while sipping Aperol Spritzers (Aperol liqueur, Prosecco sparkling wine and fizzy soda water) in sidewalk cafes. The walled-in city of Ferrara also has a great castle with a moat, a decent sushi bar and, the oldest wine bar in the world.
Dating back to 1435, the walls of al Brandisi . Ferarra – everyone, and I mean everyone, on bicycles, makes for a very interesting afternoon sipping Aperol spritzers and people watching, a great castle w/moat, pumpkin ravioli and the oldest wine bar in the world. (This will be in Friday’s columns with the West Ranch Beacon too…)are hidden behind dusty bottles of wine, scotch and bourbon. The bar itself is on a narrow cobblestone street that looks more like an alleyway.
(Samantha was awed to find that every place we ordered wine allowed for her to be a grown up. The drinking age in Italy is 16, or up to a parent’s discretion, we allowed her to linger over our ‘tasting pour’. She never finished the amount served….and had more fun checking what the waiter called a “Tupka” Turkish bathroom complete with foot holds and a porcelain h— in the ground.)
As we suggest to others, and have read for ourselves, you should try local wines and foods when traveling. The local wines our server suggested that night were a Fortana and a Merlot, each between 3-4 Euros a glass. I enjoyed the Fortana enough to warrant a second glass and got a very quick peak at the label: Burson Randi with 14% alcohol.
One other note of what we dug: the practice of “Avinare”. When our bottle was opened (even when just ordering by the glass each bottle was freshly opened) our wine glass was rinsed with wine “to remove water and impurities from the glass”. I found more here about this practice: http://www.ibabuzz.com/bottomsup/2008/09/23/la-sommelier-practices-stem-priming-or-avinare/
We also had a great wine, and the town’s famous pumpkin Ravioli, at Antica Osteria Al Postiglione: 2004 Colutta Gianpaolo Schioppettino. The Schioppettino varietal being one I looked for in other parts of Italy…but never found among the thousands they produce. http://www.coluttagianpaolo.com/vino_eng.htm
Bologna – The food (The king of our bologna is their mortadella, our jarred meat sauce is their Bolognese and our hotel’s “breakfast included” took on a whole new meaning.), remarkable leaning towers and a Basilica that the Pope cut off funding for as it was to be as big as St. Peter’s – was also a place to sip more Aperol Spritzers, try the local fizzy-cold-red Frizzante just once, and enjoy the “complementary” spread of liquor set up daily at the Hotel Corona d’Oro since 1890.
Ravenna – Historical churches and Basilicas – so many in Italy – but these are covered in tiny mosaics. Day trip = no wine.
Verona – Juliet’s home is just a tourist spot but pretty, as are the views of the city…another day trip and again no wine. We were done with those.
The Beaten Path
Rome – After the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, a chain of wine stores: two Enotrevi, two Enotecas, a Guerrini and a Vinovip were big on pouring tastes of cream based liquors with grappa. We went from berries to nuts to chocolate and finished off with limoncello. Nice way to wile away an afternoon, or two, if you can’t get back to your hotel room for a proper siesta.
Vudabar offered almost a dozen champagnes by the glass and a great wine list. The Blue Ice gelato chain with 16 stores only in Rome, not yet making wine-flavored ices, was a nice palate-cleanser. And dinner, at Hard Rock Roma, was noisy but the water didn’t come in a bottle with or without gas and the Grey Goose martinis were a welcome change.
Venice – My husband Eddie’s favorite European city with its seemingly endless canals and bridges, all go to St. Marks Square/Piazza San Marco. We were lucky to pass plenty of café’s to have our Spritzers and Vino Blanco during the day time.
Of note for us was VinoVino (http://www.anticomartini.com/eng-index.html) with an excellent food menu and wine menu to match, and, a restaurant we dined in 25 years ago that was still serving Pasta Carbonara and Quattro Formaggi pizza: Pedrocchi. With its bright awnings opening up into a quiet piazza we were reminded of dining there as weary travelers with other ‘kids’ we had just met…
Florence – Staying across the street from the Duomo, we saw the finely sculptured David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus among a bazillion others, the Bridge of Gold and Michelangelo’s…park. In between we dined at the same touristy restaurant twice – as Samantha liked it. Wish we could’ve found something remarkable in the wine…better luck next time. And yes, there will be a next time!