One of the dear friends that I made here in Roma, Mitzi, moved at the beginning of the summer up to Lazise, a beautiful small town on Lago di Garda, in the Veneto region of Italy. Her husband Luca grew up in Lazise, where his father and grandmother still live, and he got a new job as the General Manager at the Villa Quaranta Park Hotel, outside of Verona. While I’ve been to Venice and Verona in the past, I wanted a few days to see Mitzi’s new home and have the opportunity to hang out with her and her family.
The fast train got me up to Verona in under 3 hours. Mitzi picked me up and we went to a lovely cafe/enoteca (wine store), Enoteca zero7 for lunch. We wandered around Verona for a bit, where there is a lovely ampitheater that looks like a small Coloseo where they hold concerts. We then headed back to Lazise, about a 20 minute drive, in time to get her daughter Sofia from school and take her to a birthday party for one of her classmates. Afterward, we stopped to say hello to Nonna Lillian, Luca’s amazing and fully independent 89 year old grandmother. Mitzi kept me happily busy in the kitchen that night preparing vegetable soup and roasted chicken, and her father-in-law joined us for dinner.
The next day we visited the old, walled part of Lazise, where there’s a market day held every Wednesday. I was tempted by some handpainted pottery, but fell in love with ANOTHER pair of great eyeglasses, that held sway over my wallet. Since it was sunny out, we then ventured to the next town on the lake, Bardolino and found a wonderful family run restaurant, La Piccola Osteria in the centro, where we enjoyed a yummy lunch. That evening we joined Luca at Villa Quaranta for a drink before having dinner at Trattoria alla Coa, where the food was delicious and Mitzi and I marveled over the fact that even the radiator was covered in gingham! I know it sounds like a lot of eating and it was, but we drank a lot of good wine too!
On Thursday before having to catch the train back to Roma in the afternoon, we indulged at the wonderful terme or spa at Villa Quaranta. There’s a big workout facility where we encouraged each other to go just a bit longer on the treadmill, and I got to show Mitzi some of my strength training moves. After a light lunch with Luca in the cafe, we used the terme, which consisted of 2 steam rooms; a very hot dry sauna; a cold room that was a ‘dressed up’ walk in freezer to be used after the hot sauna; a whirlpool; warm and cold plunge pools; a relaxation room that had individual sized water beds to relax on; and what they call “emotional” showers, which are programmed to change from warm to cold and also will spray some scents on you (I don’t really get it, but it’s not the first time I’ve seen them in Europe).
It was a wonderful midweek getaway and great to see Mitzi settling into her new life, where day to day living is so much less stressful than in Roma and she has the support of Luca’s lifelong friends and family. Grazie mille Mitzi for your lovely hospitality!