After waking up on the third and last day in Illasi, I was welcomed by a delicious breakfast prepared out in the garden of Villa Aldeghieri. The owners, a couple and their son, were extremely warm and welcoming and tried their best to treat you well in their home/B&B. A cappuccino, croissant and a fruit salad later, not to mention the view offered, (wow!) and we parted ways. Our first stop was an interesting one, going to see wrought iron craftsmen at work. This traditional art was passed down from generation to generation and many homes here are decorated with wrought iron fences designed in this area. A few pictures later, we left to go north, up higher into the Lessini hills.
We drove through green fields dotted with white houses and patches of cows until we stopped at the fossil museum. Here we met our tour guide who led us out back and down a trail leading to a cave. This cave, he explained, was the inspiration for Dante’s Inferno. During medieval times, the bottom of the cave was filled with water and froze during the winter. The spot had a peaceful glow and was cool under the trees and rock. We hopped back in the car and drove over to the little mountain town of Velo Veronese. We walked around, finally settling in at 13 Comuni restaurant. Not only were we to have one of the best meals on the trip here, but we were also given the time to taste all the producer’s wines from the Illasi Valley. From Soave to Valpolicella to Amarone, we tried over 50 wines in under two hours. What was really impressive was the meal. The starter was a lamb tartar with semi sundried tomatoes. It the first time I ate raw lamb and I have to admit that although the thought of it wasn’t so nice, the taste was delicate and exquisite. For a pasta, we had homemade gnocchi in a roasted butter sauce, topped with shaved smoked ricotta; we were speechless. For those of us who were still hungry, the chef brought out a T-bone steak and sides of grilled vegetables. Stuffed and tired, we left smiling to go discover some of the other accommodations available in the area. Locanda ViaVerde Lessinia and Casa del Brigante were two of them.
Finally our day was winding down and after a quick pass through at Pieropan Vineyard, we sat down for dinner at Villa Ballarini. We sat outside and ate lightly, after having such a big lunch. We spoke of ideas to promote wine and the territories that grow grapes and how we were happy to have all met. As the night grew on we decided it was time to say our goodbyes. We thanked our hosts, Faye Cardwell and Bernardo Pasquali, for the invite and lessons on Illasi Valley.