April 28, 2014

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art my dinner?

They best way to introduce someone to the very essence of Italy is to feed them. Therefore upon arrival, my Mama and Jewel learned instantly that the core of life in Italy is (as we should all know) food. Their first night (hours) in Florence, there was wine, lasagna, and bread. For some reason the entire time I was with these ladies, we were served bread with every meal. It really isn't fair, because contrary to what they now believe, bread is not an everyday gift with your meal. But in any case, I shall stall my rant and move on to the next day. 

After Mama and Jewel got an appropriate amount of sleep (with no jet lag because they took my expert advice of just not sleeping at all until you get to your destination country) we did some general site-seeing. Soon from site-seeing we moved to food-eating, as it was that I had to get to class and needed some lunch. Mom mentioned an appreciation for cured meats, and I knew just the place to take her: La Prosciutteria

At this restaurant-not-restaurant you enjoy the company of your neighbors at a shared table while drinking house wine, FREE water, and eating delectable meats & cheeses. It hits the "essence" of Italy on the head, minus the free water thing. That's a novelty. 

I departed my dear little ladies to go to my cooking class (yes, I had more food), whilst they did some of their own touristing, only to meet them again a few hours later for dinner. 

I took them to Osteria Santo Spirito, which my roommate had been recommending for ages, and with good reason. The house wine was perfect with dinner, and the restaurant offers half plates, which is still more than enough food. 

The great thing about going out to dinner with family is the immediate option to share everything. Between the three of us we ordered: 

Risotto Zucchini Trifoliati e Midolle di Parmigiano, Risotto with Zucchini & Hart of Parmesan. This was Mom's favorite. 

Tortellini con Le Noci, Tortellini with walnuts 

Ribollita, literally meaning "twice-boiled". It is a vegetable soup made with stale bread, and though it is not an enticing description, or the best looker in the bunch, it was both Jewel & I's favorite.

The next morning, bright and early, it was time for Jewel's first train ride to the città of her dreams: Verona. 

Verona is just picturesque enough to imagine Romeo & Juliet falling in love, but also just medieval enough to make conjuring an image of Romeo shanking Tybalt in the street just as easy.  

It is also about as Italian-essensed town as one could hope for.

We let Rick (yes, Mr. Steves and I are on a first name basis) guide us to lunch, at Enocibus, and he did not disappoint.

The chipper chef and owner of the ristorante did not disappoint either with his whimsical plate decor. 

Back out on the street Jewel found the perfect Vespa, though it was lacking a beautiful Italian man to go with it, and with the paint job, I doubt one was coming. 

We kept wandering back to the main center, Piazza Bra, but at the start of our day, it was more of a mob-through on our way to see Giulietta (that's Juliet to you and I English-speaking folk). 

When we finally reached the casa we found the outside to be a bit overwhelmed by noisy school children paying homage to the left breast of the heroin, but skirting around the crowd and inside the house itself, we found the 6 Euro entry fee luckily deterred the majority. 

Looking at a crowd from above is always more satisfying than being within it. 

I tried for probably a solid 10 minutes to get a photo of me "in" Juliet's dress. This is as close as I got, let's hope Signor Romeo had better luck. 

Juliet may not have been a princess, but she was from a city-ruling family, which is pretty close. Therefore, Jewel and I found it acceptable to have many Princess Kenna and Jewel moments. 

“When he shall die, 
Take him and cut him out in little stars
And he will make the face of heaven so fine, That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.” 
William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet

When it came time for the balcony scene, we faced many more balcony-hogers than we'd liked. Note the "b***h get off my balcony" look in both Jewel and I's eyes. 

When it was Jewel's Juliet-moment, the balcon-iers vacated the premise, sensing that Jewel is Jewel-iet

Jewel-iet had to leave a note for her sweet ancestor, Juliet. 

I know I made fun of the gropers earlier, but it's good luck, and after failing to forward all those chain messages in middle-school, I need all the luck I can get. And apparently so did Jewel. 

We left La Casa di Giulietta to find our way back to Piazza Bra, finding the creepiest doors in creep history on our way there. 

Mama & Jewel really wanted to see the Colosseum, but Rome was just far to much work for us to visit. Luckily, the Verona Arena, is more-or-less a mini-Colosseum. 

What's really cool about the Verona Arena, though not the weekend we visited unfortunately, is that it is still functional. The Arena hosts a wide range of concerts and events within its circular walls. How cool is that?!

The Arena also offers the perfect view of Piazza Bra. 

We had an early-ish lunch, so midday (surprise, surprise) Jewel and I were getting a bit hungry, and Mama was ready for an espresso. Thinking we would just get a gelato (the anytime Italian snack), we popped into Caffe al Teatro with the waiter promising ice cream and coffee on the menu. 

What we did not realize when he said ice cream and coffee, was that he literally meant, ice cream with coffee. I give you, the affogato, a dessert creation I had never heard of, and regret everyday it was not in my life. Not only is it my two favorite things, gelato and coffee, but the people at this caffe put sparkler-thingys and straws in it. To say Jewel and I were in heaven was an understatement. We got more than a few skeptical glances with our squeals and giggles of excitement.

Post-affogato-food-baby, we went to see the 12th century Castelvecchio, or "old castle". 

The castle spits you out directly onto Ponte di Castelvecchio, the "old castle bridge", which I must say was my favorite spot in Verona. I love anything near a waterway and this one was especially imaginative. 

Wherever we went in Italy, it seemed that us Jones' girls were the most brightly dressed gang. 

Just off the bridge, as the sun was slipping down the dome of the sky, we found the perfect photo spot. *insert snap happy moments here*

We scampered back to our hotel after our photo-op for a quick clothing alteration (basically the addition of layers, in my case), and then were back out the door to enjoy the Veronese twilight. 

Piazza delle Erbe, which we had seen bustling earlier that morning, was closing as the sun set, leaving only a few vendors desperate to sell that last purposeless trinket.   

Note the addition of tights for my warmth, while Mom & Jewel dawned pants, scarfs, and jackets. I am really not suited for non-Californian weather. 

There's a lot to Verona, and we meandered through the last of what we could see in the last of the day's sunlight.

Our last event of the day was, you guessed it, more food! I love Italy. And food. And Italian food. So much so that I managed to forget about my camera during our last meal of the day.

It was a food-filled, event-filled first couple of days with Mama & Jewel visiting me in Italy (or visiting Italy with me), and there were still eight days of fun-having to be had! Which means eight more days of eating, but seeing as the next two days we were in Venice, you can expect a significant lack of food-discussion until we journey back to my fair Firenze.

Sans the food, there is plenty to say about Venezia, so until then and the editing of another thousand photos, 

Yours, Kenna


  1. Gorgeous photos (you took so many, editing must be a nightmare)! I've never been to Verona but look forward to photos from Venice which is one of my favourite place.

    I'd be massive if I spent much time in Italy, the food is all so good.

    1. You obviously know my life, with the nightmare that is editing! I'm way behind but definitely working on it. If you ever have the chance I highly recommend Verona! Totally different vibe than Venice, and very I'm-on-an-Italian-movie-set.

      xx K


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