We left bright and early (after my coffee at the corner bar), for a walk to Ferrovia, the Venice train station. We boarded the train for Verona, where we were met by our guide and driver for the day. We boarded a van and set off for the Valpolicella area of the Veneto, a wine region just north of Verona.
One of the wonderful things about exploring the Italian countryside are the amazing places you find in what seem to be "out in the middle of nowhere". This lovely little church, San Giorgio di Valpolicella, is a good example. It is a storybook sweet stone church in a little tiny hilltop town with views of vineyards as far as you can see!
For some reason, this little church moved me. I love little country churches. We entered through a lovely little cloister. Our guide knocked on the door of the rectory, and the priest came to unlock the door. Most churches are unlocked in Italy, but unfortunately, this one was burglarized, and now remains locked. Depositing a few coins in an offering box triggered the light switches to come on.
I am not usually drawn to statues in churches, but I loved this statue of the Virgin Mary. She is so colorful, and the baby Jesus had a sweet face. Mary also had breasts, which is unusual in statues of her. This is one of my favorite photos because of the juxtaposition of Mary holding the baby, and a grown Sacred Heart of Jesus in the background.
Our next stop was a winery! We were given a tour of the small family-run production, and there were my grapes and poppies! The group tasted Valpolicella Superiore, Ripasso and Amarone. Since I am not a red wine drinker, I did not taste anything, but based on the excitement of the others, I did buy a bottle of Amarone for Brad's arrival on Friday.
It was lunch time, so we walked around the corner from the winery to a little trattoria that didn't look like much from the outside, but had great food! We started with some burrata!
My entree was a tagliatelle with sugo bianco. It was hearty and delicious. Several tried the risotto made with Amarone in a parmigiano shell.
Back on the bus for a sleepy ride north through the Veneto until we reached one of my favorite towns, Bassano del Grappa! Brad and I stayed there for 5 nights last fall, and it is as lovely as I remember.
As we only had an hour, I made a beeline to my favorite ceramics shop and in the time it took the others to order a gelato, I bought a "plate of figs". I spent the rest of my hour in a favorite outdoor bar with a cool glass of prosecco.
We returned to Piazelle Roma, a bit tired, and walked back to the apartment. Our weary group decided on a picnic dinner with plenty of wine on our terrace.
Another wonderful Grape hops day!