Cities and Courts in the Po Valley Part 2: From Venice to Milan

This is an excerpt from the book “Venice to Milan

This is the continuation of itinerary: Cities and Courts in the Po Valley Part 1 from Milan to Venice

The itinerary:

At least two days should be spent in Venice

We still have to visit the islands of Murano, Burano and most of all, Torcello, the most enchanting spot in the Lagoon.

Leaving Venice by the Padua road and passing through Mestre (5 miles), we will not take the Autostrada, but rather the National Highway no. 11, which runs along the banks of the Brenta. Here the great Venetian families built their famous country villas which, taken as a body, constitute the most important example of residential architecture in existence.

Villa Pisani maze – Photo © North Sullivan
Villa Pisani maze – Photo © North Sullivan

We can neither describe nor list them. They follow one another in uninterrupted succession, all more or less celebrated, up to the outskirts of Padua. Most worthy of being seen is the Villa Foscari (known as the Malcontenta), in a romantic and secluded position on the road to Fusina.

From here we return to the main road for Padua: the astonishing series of villas, built over a span of 300 years, goes on, through the towns of Cringe, Mira, and Dean: at Stra is the celebrated Villa Pisani (1756), now belonging to the State, with its magnificent park, its maze, and its sumptuous interior, where many crowned heads have stayed, including Napoleon.

Particularly noteworthy is the glowing fresco painted by Tiepolo at the age of 66 on the ceiling of the reception-hall. Passing by still other villas, through Noventa Padovana, we reach 17 miles from Mestre the city of Padua, well worth one day of visit.

Leaving Padua, we take the road to Monselice, and 27 miles from Padua we reach the city of ROVIGO.

ROVIGO: Founded in about the 9th century, it was subsequently a possession of the Este family and then of Venice. We enter it by Viale Porta Adige and then, taking Viale Trieste, we come to the late 16th century Rotonda or Church of the Madonna del Soc corso, containing 17th century paintings. We then make for Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, a handsome Venetian square where we will find the Palazzo Roncale (1555), designed by Sammicheli, and the neo-classical palace of the Accademia dei Concordi, with an excellent collection of paintings (works by G. Bellini, Carpioni, Pittoni. Piazzetta, Longhi, Tiepolo, Holbein the Elder, Tintoretto). The Picture Gallery of the Episcopal Seminary is important with fine works esp. of the 18th century.

From Rovigo, after a 23 mile drive over the plain of the Po Delta, we reach the Po, at Pontelagoscuro, and then immediately enter FERRARA, well worth one day visit.

In the afternoon of the twelfth day of our trip, we leave Ferrara by the Porta Reno and take the State Highway SS 64 which 30 miles further on brings us to BOLOGNA.

Palazzo Re Enzo - Photo BolognaWelcome
Palazzo Re Enzo – Photo BolognaWelcome

At least half a day should be dedicated to Bologna.

Leaving Bologna by Porta Sam Felice, we follow the Via Emilia for some 23 miles until we reach MODENA.

End of the excerpt from the book “Venice to Milan“, get the book for the entire content.

Recommended itineraries in Italy
Itinerary partly courtesy of ENIT

William Dellorusso
Lombardia in Cucina: The Flavours of Lombardy

Milan-style risotto, pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, and pumpkin tortelli to start; casoeula, Milan-style cutlets, frogs stewed in tomato to follow, and to send, a slice of sbrisolona cake or panettone.
Lombardy surprises with the richness of its culinary traditions and natural ingredients, which modernity has barely affected.
"Milano in Cucina" captures this kaleidoscope of flavours, with contributions from some of the most celebrated chefs on the culinary scene, who pay homage to their territory, and whose skill is able to present a modern vision in keeping with the region's progressive spirit.

The Italian Academy of Cuisine
La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Milano in Cucina: The Flavours of Milan
The famous Risotto Alla Milanese gets its golden hue from the precious spice saffron. Legend has it that the dish came about when a Milanese painter decided to gild the risotto served at his wedding banquet with a harmless gold-colored dye. In Milan, they traditionally serve Risotto Alla Milanese with ossobuco (braised veal shank).
Traditionally made with raisins and candied citron, or with a creamy cream filling, the light, fluffy brioche-like bread called panettone may be tall or short, covered with chocolate or flavored with various liquors, but it’s always a symbol of the Christmas season.
With its hallmark domed shape, panettone graced Christmas tables in Milan since at least the 15th-century. Common knowledge claims its invention is from Milan. It is the most famous Christmas Lombardia food.

The Pax side of the Moon featuring Cesareo
Lombardia (Dicon tutti che sei mia) Quarantine Version - feat. Cesareo (Quarantine Version)

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