Leaving Bormio this morning and off to Verona. You know, the town made famous by Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Taming of the Shrew are all set in this town.
I have an appointment for a wine tasting at the Viviani winery in Mazzano, just outside Verona at 1pm.
The GPS this morning plotted me 3 different course options, the fast option was back over the Stelvio Pass. So I chose that route, partly because I wanted to see the road on the downslope given at some point in the future I will probably be back to ride that road. The mountainscape is very different on the South Tyrol side. Also very noticable is the change in architectural styles and the very obvious German signage everywhere. There is plenty of history here and a long story about how a major province in Italy is dominated by German language.
Fast forward 3 hrs and I am in the heart of the Valpolicella wine region. Famous for Valpolicella and Amarone red wines. I arrived at the Viviani Winery at Mazzano, a small village up about 400m above the valley floor. Difficult place to find this, absolutely no signs anywhere. I had to pull up and ask a bloke if I was at the right address. Sure enough, under the old split level house was a fully functional winery.
I met Ellia Viviani and his mother Sandra, who expertly guide me through a tasting of their range. I really love Amarone in particular and their wines are excellent. The pick of them was the Amarone Casa del Bepi 2010. Sadly they had none for sale. I also enjoyed their Recioto, which is a sweet version of Amarone.
Next stop was the village of St Pietro in Cariano, to visit the Bigali winery. Similarly, their specialty is Amarone once again. I met Lorenzo Bigali and tasted his quality range of wines. Really enjoyed his Tigiolo, a blend of Corvina and Cab Sav.
Arrived in my Verona hotel about 16:30. Tidy place, nothing spectacular though.
Into town for dinner after a cruise around the tourist strip. Checked out the old Roman amphitheatre built in 30AD. This place is still holding concerts, especially opera. Fantasticly preserved structure, I believe it holds 15,000 people these days. In its heyday, the gladiators used to draw a crowd of 30,000 into this venue.
Simple Romana pizza for dinner tonight at Emanuel's Restaurant, loved the anchovies.
Off to Venice tomorrow and fly home on Saturday.