Hey look, another vacation!
“Happy Cadaver” is how my host dad used to refer to Fronleichnam — the Corpus Christi holiday on the Catholic calendar — because literal translations are hysterical. We used it for a long-weekend escape to Northern Italy with some first-timers.
We rented a car (for some extra leg and headroom, and got an unexpected free upgrade!) and took it to some of our favorite spots, and a couple new ones. We did a return to Mantova (it had been over ten years). We explored Castelfranco Veneto again. Some more. And of course we returned to Ca’ de Memi, who are always so gracious and helpful and just downright charming. Love that place!
Some impressions of Mantova
- It’s cuter than it looks at first glance. Give it some time after arrival to grow on you.
- We had a great location for the two rooms we rented there fore the two nights, but parking was not ideal — that’s frequently the trade-off.
- It’s pretty easy to get from there to other neat places in the area, like Modena, Parma, or Vincenza.
We had lunch one day at La Smorfia, which, besides the cool-sounding name ((Google Translate says it means “grimace” — is that appetizing?)) , had really cool pizza varieties on offer.
Dipping a toe into Vicenza
We’ve driven past it for years on the way to Piombino Dese and Venice and whatnot, but we’d never stopped in for a look. It’s a beautiful city. We ate at a cafeteria-style restaurant called Righetti: You gather all the stuff you’re going to need/eat and pay at the end. It was good and fast and cheap ((Those magical mutually exclusive properties in software development don’t appear to apply, which is great for the hungry traveler.)). I didn’t detect any other tourists there; it appeared to me to be all people on their lunch breaks from businesses in the area.
Our whole trip kind of centered around a grocery haul from the iPer La Grande i in this town. We brought back the usual goods:
- olive oil
But the town is cool by itself, even without the draw of the big supermarket. We had a nice stroll inside and outside the gates of the old town. We stopped for drinks and snacks on a city square in the shade. We had a nice meal with great ambience as the sun started to set.
Check out the selection at Ferrowine! Rest assured, some of these made it home with us.
This was a nice retail experience, but we had plans to sample the bubbly goods directly at the manufacturer recommended by our hostess at Ca’ de Memi. She did not steer us wrong!
We drove towards the “Prosecco Road,” finding dal Fabbro in Valdobbiadene after a little navigational confusion. It sure was a beautiful drive getting there!
We did a visit to Bassano del Grappa, hit the Grappa Museum and marveled at the scenes on and near the Ponte Vecchio…including this very shiny rhinoceros sculpture:
Lunch was a delicious and quite priceworthy stop at Nuovo Borgo, where we took refuge from the heat in the shade of their garden. It was close to a large, free municipal parking lot, so that was a big plus. We got in there in the nick of time, right around last call for hot food before their kitchen stopped preparing lunch.
It was a great trip. The drive back was quite a bit longer than expected due to the G7 summit happening in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and all the extra police presence around the border to Austria and in the region in general. We were all exhausted by the time we made it home, safe and sound, and definitely earned a bottle or two of that prosecco.