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Osteria al Duca

Via Arche Scaliger, 2

Bigoli - Traditional Dish from VeronaBigoli - traditional thick spaghetti at the Osteria al Duca

In the 13th-century house where Romeo (of Romeo and Juliet fame) once lived, there is an osteria, the oldest in Verona.

Here, the traditional dishes of centuries past are still served, and history seems to hang in the very air that you breathe.

You'll feel that sense of history more upstairs: low wooden ceilings and a narrow little staircase make it easy to imagine travelers from centuries past dining here.

It's also cooler upstairs in summer! They have air conditioning upstairs but not downstairs. In summer, that is an important consideration, and downstairs, there are only fans that can be a bit draughty and do nothing but move the hot and humid air around the room. My bald husband says they mess with his hair style too.

It's not the fanciest of restaurants, and it definitely isn't for all tastes.

They have some dishes that might make some people quesy; in fact, many people can't bear the thought of even being in the same room as some of the traditional dishes from the Veneto—things like snails, boiled tripe, roast horse, or donkey. At the Osteria al Duca, a lot of these are likely to be on the menu.

Don't worry though; they've got lots of other great dishes too.

These are some of my favorites: stewed beef and polenta, veal and mushrooms, pappardelle pasta in a duck sauce, and traditional bigoli pasta (a thick spaghetti that is traditional to the Veneto) that is served with a variety of sauces.

If you're brave enough, try the horse or donkey (I'm not brave enough to try it myself, despite my Veneto origins). My friends and family all say that the meat is excellent. Let me know what you think if you order it. My husband loves the snails and always orders them whenever they are available.

Not all the dishes mentioned will always be available, as they only serve what is fresh and in season. Their menu isn't vast—generally limited to around 10 starters and 10 mains—and, like I mentioned previously, it changes often, depending on the season.

Hungry? Then I recommend you go with one of the starters and one of the main courses, as the main course portions aren't that big.

The price is standard no matter which you choose—basically around 30 euros for two courses.

Know your Italian wines?

Then you'll be pleased to hear that they have a good selection of Veneto wines, from Valpolicella to Soave. They've also sourced wines from most of the major wine regions of Italy, including Piedmont and Tuscany and the nearby Franciacorta region.

Wine, of course, is extra. An easy option is to go with their house wines, which normally pair well with the menu and offer great value.

Follow up with dessert

Desserts are around 5 to 10 euros extra. The ones my husband, son, and I have tried in the past have always been excellent. My husband loves their tiramisu, and while he reckons it is delicious, he claims that it is nowhere near as good as my homemade one. I don't know if he was just trying not to offend me, but everyone loves my tiramisu, so maybe he was being honest.  Here is my recipe if you would like to give it a try.

After dinner, a stroll along the nearby Adige River is a pleasant way to burn off some of those calories. 

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