The lovely city of Verona

Posted on: 8th November, 2016

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

In September we flew with Topflight from Cork to the city of Romeo and Juliet and transferred to Sirmione on Lake Garda. The charter airline, which carried us there and back, Volotea, a Spanish low cost carrier, have just announced that it is starting up a regular service on this route from this coming summer. Verona is a convenient gateway to a variety of interesting northern Italy destinations so I thought I would share some of my experiences with you.

First of all Verona itself. The Arena, Italy’s second most important, nowadays stages operatic performances rather than gladiatorial combat! Evidence of Verona’s past as a powerful city-state is everywhere. Perhaps most startling is the outdoor tomb of Cangrande, one of the Scaligeri dynasty who ruled Verona and much of the surrounding area. Blessed with two atmospheric piazzas, Signori and Erbe, and with Giardino Giusti, one of Italy’s finest Renaissance gardens, there is much to admire in Verona. Of the hotels we have stayed in, the predictably named Giulietta and Romeo are my favourite.

Vicenza, a glorious city dominated by the architecture of the great Palladio, is a mere 25 minutes by train from Verona. Perhaps one of the most underrated of all Italian cities it boasts a stunning piazza, the world’s oldest indoor theatre, and surprisingly, one of the most important collections of Russian icons. A short hop further along the Verona-Venice trainline is the fabled city of Padua with one of the most important early Renaissance frescoes in all of Italy, the work of Giotto.

Taking another train route from Verona you can easily access the stunning Dolomite mountain range. We visited Bozen and Brixen in the Italian Tyrol region, for centuries up until WWI part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Brixen, also known as Bressanone, is particularly beautiful, its Duomo is unique and the surrounding mountains make a beautiful backdrop. The Goldener Adler located right on the river is a lovely Austrian style hotel and very welcoming.

Our most recent trip to Verona and beyond brought us to Sirmione on Lake Garda, perhaps the lakes’ most visited town, popular because of its well-preserved Scaligeri Castle, the hot water springs and important Roman ruins, said to be a villa belonging to the Roman poet Catullus. The Hotel Catullo is highly recommended as an oasis from the crowds, which can be overwhelming, particularly in high season. Personal preference on Lake Garda based on previous travel experiences would be Salo on the western side where Mussolini made his last stand, and pretty, relatively un-touristy, Torri del Benaco on the eastern side. The Albergo Gardesana is well-located and the best choice in Torri.

Of course Verona is an Italian wine lover’s dream. Familiar types grown in the area would include light and fruity Bardolino named after the pretty town on the lower east side of Garda, Valpolicella from the area between Verona and Lake Garda, increasingly producing Ripasso, a stronger version of traditional Valpolicella. Soave is the most famous white from the region. On our recent trip, I discovered two new and wonderful wines, grown in the area roughly from Salo to the city of Brescia, more about these discoveries in a future article!

This month’s recommendation: Super Valu’s Australian Barossa Valley Estate red wines are great value on special at the moment, €12, and available as either a straight varietal Shiraz or a ‘GSM’ combination of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre. I can’t decide which one I like the most, but both are excellent on these darkening cold nights.

Latest News Articles:

Issue of childcare a major concern for 72 per cent of female entrepreneurs
Rain, slurry deadlines and housing
Celtic Ross Hotel awarded AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence
St. Joseph’s in Clonakilty looks back on 50 years of educating young girls
‘Operation Transformation’ for Young Beef Farmers
Macra President welcomes publication of EU Young Farmer Survey
Vital role of Focus in the West Cork community highlighted at Open Morning
Clonakilty Food Company opens new production facility in Clonakilty
Beara student one of three Cork students awarded €20,000 scholarship by Naughton Foundation
International success for Skibb rowers

Join us on Facebook

Bandon Walled Town Festival in looking for new ideas!
Would you like to get involved in the 2018 Festival?If you yourself would like to be involved in big or small way
email bandonwalledtown@gmail.com
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
... See MoreSee Less

26th September, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top