Woke up early and took the train to Mantova (Mantua), arriving just in the middle of siesta (a long lunch break during the Italian work day, usually sometime between 12h30 and 14h00, sometimes going as late as 16h00), so we meandered through the sun-baked streets, looking for lunch. We finally stopped at a small cafe/restaurant near the historic center where the Girls enjoyed Pizza con Buffala (pizza with tomatoes, basil and traditional water buffalo-milk mozzarella) and myself, a salad with melon slices, cottage cheese, radicchio (an Italian staple, I swear) and sweet corn – all in all, pretty good, but I probably would not choose to repeat it at home.
We ventured to the historic center and ran around for a few hours, seeing Alberti’s Basilica di S. Maria di Mantova, the Rotonda di San Lorenzo, the Palazzo Ducale (including a public topiary park) and the Duomo di Mantova (Mantua Cathedral). We took the slightly longer walk back through town to the train station and arrived back in Vicenza just in time to enjoy (a late) dinner at the restaurant Antica Casa della Malvasia, a cute little hole in the wall just a few minutes from our hostel. Even at 21h00 there was a half hour wait for a table, but it was so worth it. Eclectic, rustic design – the walls are rough plaster, arches trimmed in brick, a heavy brick fireplace sat at the center and random art objects adorned furniture, mantles, shelves and tables. The food was delicious, the wine excellent, the cover charge reasonable – we escaped for €12 each for a liter of water, half liter of vino rosso for the table and a secondi (meat dish – I ordered a Ginger Chicken over warm Wild Rice and it was unbelievable!) Can’t wait to try it again tomorrow!
Medieval structure spanning the river