The Hedonist: Rendezvous in fair Verona
What to see and where to be seen
After checking in to Verona's Palazzo Victoria (00 39 045 590 566; palazzo victoria.com), I saunter through the polished lobby to my humongous suite. There, I'm greeted by classical decor, parquet flooring and a king-sized bed perfect for a Montague or Capulet. But time is of the essence, so I make a quick turn around before heading out to meet my friend – a local – for dinner.
I pass "Juliet's balcony" which, of course, has nothing to do with Shakespeare. Apparently, touching the left breast of the maiden's statue here will transmit years of luck in love. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I give her a rub and march through the bustling piazzas.
Teodoricore (00 39 045 834 9990; teodoricore. com) is a classic Veronese restaurant atop Castel San Pietro hill, which is a serious climb. After several pit stops (perhaps the figure-hugging, leg-constricting maxi dress wasn't a good idea), I make it to the top in dire need of a stiff drink. Happily, a tanned gent in a cream suit offers me the house bellini before I've even sat down.
Cocktail in hand, I turn from Teodoricore's expansive terrace to the exquisite panorama across Verona's burnt-orange tiled rooftops. My friend arrives and we dig into delicious seafood risotto and seared mint tuna, giving us the stomach lining upon which a hedonistic night out depends. After a few too many glasses of prosecco, we go, giggling and giddy, into the heart of Verona.
We polish off two mojitos and bellinis at Caffè Filippini (00 39 045 800 4549; caffefilippini.it) before heading off to the nightclub Alter Ego (00 39 045 915 130; alteregoclub.it). The sight of long-legged ladies hanging off besuited men outside tells us we're at the right place, and we hit the dance floor. By 3am we're saying heartfelt goodbyes for the night and we go our separate ways.
I stir late, and just about recognise my friend as I enter our breakfast rendezvous at Tosca Café (00 39 045 803 2226; toscacafeverona.it). It's a significantly more subdued meal than our last, as we hazily tuck into a slew of breads and pastries in the hope of feeling slightly more human. No such luck, so I opt for retail therapy instead.
We float around the side streets until we are ready to face the spotless, reflective shop windows of Via Mazzini, the main shopping drag. But then we get straight down to business. My friend ducks in to MaxMara (00 39 045 595 623; maxmara.com), while a delicious pair of heels at Pollini (00 39 045 803 2247; www.pollini.com) catches my eye. I'm not sure whether it's the air con, the ambience or the pervasive sense of luxury, but the shop does wonders for my head – and feet. Refreshed and smug in shiny new shoes, I stroll back to the hotel.
After a long wallow in my room's Jacuzzi and sporting the killer new heels, I brave the streets, perilous with cobbles, and make for the ancient opera house, the Roman Arena (00 39 045 800 5151; www.arena.it), where I relocate my friend, deep in conversation with two charming Italian guys. We soon find ourselves agreeing to be taken back to the Alter Ego club. Just in time, too, as crowds begin teeming out of the amphitheatre's performance of Don Giovanni.
A Hedonist's Guide to ... (Hg2) is a luxury city guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more information , see hg2.com
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