Easter Sunday saw us snugly ensconced in an Italian dining room for Easter lunch, awaiting the meat being cooked on the kitchen’s open fireplace. A (surely) justly deserved treat, considering we had spent the Saturday cycling from Pergine through Valsugana to Bassano del Grappa, crossing the border into the Veneto and spending something like six and a half hours sitting on bikes in the process.
Bassano is a beautiful little city, tucked up just below the mountains of the valley we had just cycled through. It resembles the cities of Verona or Venice far more than any of those in Trentino, which I was a little surprised to find. I think I had previously assigned any visual differences to the size of the bigger cities in the Veneto. I will have to realign my opinion to include all those obvious things like age, architects and nationality (Trentino having spent some time as part of Austria).
The cycle path through Valsugana is lovely: flat, wide and mostly separate from the road. We almost made it to Bassano last September, but had to give up due to the late hour and the early closure of the trains. This time around we pushed ourselves a little harder, and chose to overnight in Bassano to have more time to explore. Mostly we ate – I’m not sure when that became a big focus of our trips but there you have it. We had been given a small list of places to check out: a distilleria (Bassano is the home of grappa, hence the name), a pizzeria and a pasticceria. It’s rude not to try recommendations, right?
We have a tandem set up with another couple living in Rovereto, who we mostly speak in English with so it isn’t the most successful tandem relationship. The husband, who is from Bassano, invited us to join their family lunch when he heard we would be there the same weekend. It was Matt’s first proper Italian family dining experience – sitting in a dining room full of family is a little different to eating in a restaurant, no matter what conversations you may have with your waiter.
The parents spent most of the day in the kitchen, coming out as each course was ready to quickly eat something, before returning to continue cooking the next course. We fulfilled our role as guests perfectly: we sat and we ate, and sometimes we also drank. And we ate very well. Four courses, including lamb and guinea fowl cooked over an open flame, and tasty little grated vegetable fritters served with homemade prosecco. Not a bad way to spend a holiday Sunday.