In the morning we met with Luigi and his wife Mara. They are easy to be with and her English is better than his. They brought their beloved dog to meet us, too. After discussion with them, we chose to visit the Ducal Palace. But first we went on a short walk and hung out looking at this part of the river coming through town and the small gulls fishing there:
The Palace is actually a group of buildings around the large Piazza Sordello. It was built by the Gonzaga family who live there for about 400 years beginning in the 1300s. It has 800 rooms!!
First we went into the Castello di San Pietro to see the Bridal Chamber, renowned as the “most beautiful bedroom in the world,” painted all over by Andrea Mantegna in the mid 1300’s.
There were other works in the castle part of the museum.
Then we had to go out and down about a half block to go to the main section on the Palace. Room after room after room—of paintings, sculpture, furniture, frescoes and tapestries. It was really exhausting (and it was really cold in there), but we managed to enjoy the feel of the period. Their extravagance and grandeur comes through, even if the individual pieces no longer penetrate.
This was another very foggy day and after the museum we were hungry and cold so we found a wine bar with food, Buca della Gabbia, near by. The Gonzagas must have influenced us because we ordered a huge platter of meats and cheese for lunch. We got to eat the local favorite: grana (cheese_ with mostarda, in this case apple and pear. I loved the combination of salty cheese with the sweet/hot mostarda. We had a nice glass of cabernet with it.
We came home and spent time on the phone talking to family and friends and reading.
Dinner was at Osteria ai Ranari. This was a really great meal! We both started with salad. Ken’s was with shaved fennel and green olives. Mine was spinach with raw artichokes, very small pieces of black olives and cacciocavallo cheese. For our main dishes I had a goose leg confit. Wow was it delicious! and it came with some wonderfully tasty cooked greens. Ken had bigoli (thick spaghetti) with guanciale and local cheese. His pasta was very rich. We drank a lambrusco we really liked, too. The place was packed and I was really glad I had reserved.
We took an after dinner walk and came home for cookies and candy in the apartment.
What a great eating day!