The Christmas season is here and after spending most of 2014 globetrotting I couldn’t think of a better time to journey home. So with overly full bags, and a few more passport stamps I journeyed back to Italy, more specifically my hometown of Verona. Though I grew up here, each time I visit I realize what a precious jewel it truly is. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and it’s with a full heart with which I view Verona. I can appreciate the beauty, rich history, architecture, food, and culture in a way I was never able to before. It changes constantly, but remains similar enough to how you remember it to always be familiar and comfortable.
This tiny town has a lot to offer, with each alley, square, and bridge being so picturesque and Instagram-worthy that it was pretty hard to summarize just a few in a single city guide. In fact, that is precisely why we are creating two posts, so stay tuned for Part Two. But for right now, enjoy these highlights as I have combined the best of what locals enjoy and what any traveller would want to know.
My stay-cation began in the luxurious hotel Palazzo Victoria located in front of the Roman passageway Porta Borsari, just a few steps away from the quaint Piazza delle Erbe and the Arena. Palazzo Victoria’s architecture is an example of several stylistic influences that are a part of Verona history. Roman remains, which can be found under the hotel, blend with medieval frescoes and combine with a modern hall in a contemporary style. The inner courtyard is typical Veronese style. The Zen garden and other leisure areas all make this a “must” location for those who want to meet, relax and hang out. The concept restaurant Borsari 36 offers a genuine offering of the Italian culinary tradition, but with an expertly modernized interpretation.
The high-end yet cool atmosphere, attentive staff and the opulent beauty of the venue made me feel like a queen for my entire stay. I had the pleasure of sojourning in the amazing Affresco Suite, which it is to die for. The suite, 105 square meters, overlooks an inner courtyard and is the perfect mix between the sumptuousness of classic taste and modern comfort. This suite exemplifies luxury and history throughout: the elegant living room with its original frescoed ceiling and wooden beams and the bathroom with its large tub enriched by wonderful original fresco on the wall are among the highlights. It is a perfect choice whether traveling for business or spending a romantic weekend in Verona.
Up next is Lazzari, one of my favourite boutiques in Verona. It is a family company renowned for its high quality craftsmanship and Made in Italy philosophy. Lazzari’s garments are feminine with a touch of irony. They are retro-inspired and colourful in way that can’t help you think this is cuteness personified by clothes. Highly recommended for the modern day Little Red Riding Hood or Alice in Wonderland.
Finding a good restaurant with local and traditional food in Italy is rarely a problem. But as good as those traditional dishes might be, sometimes you desire something with a more exotic flair. Yes, even a heart and soul Italian can tire of pasta, tortellini and risotto. When this happens my reference point is Ikai, the best Japanese restaurant in Verona. With its minimal yet sophisticated atmosphere, great selection of wine and amazing dishes it has everything you need to satiate your international cravings.
Fancy a nice Aperitivo or an after dinner cocktail? Archivio is the place to go. With an easygoing vibe and hipster ethos it has fast become one of the coolest bars in town. Its drink menu changes daily and you are in the hands of its expert mixologist and owner. Mixology is part science part art and these guys are like Einstein and Picasso. This is the closest thing to Brooklyn cool in Verona! So drink up!