In search of lunch

Emma Stevenson, 05 February, 2020
Good food is the highlight of many an Inntravel holiday, and our Mantova to Verona cycle is no different – as Emma Stevenson fondly recalls in this short piece.

Food was uppermost in our thoughts when choosing the Mantova to Verona cycling holiday.

Mantova is known for its delicious pumpkin and sage-filled tortelli and we had ample opportunity to sample this on our travels. The cycle route itself showed off the abundance of the region, passing through vineyards and orchards filled with all kinds of fruit. Cycling from Mantova to our next stop in Borghetto, we followed the river Mincio most of the way.

Unfortunately, Inntravel’s excellent directions couldn’t help us find our way out of the maze in the Sigurtà gardens, and we spent more time wandering around – completely lost – than is reasonable for four thirty-somethings. I blame dinner the night before, when we enjoyed perhaps a little too much wine on a restaurant terrace in Borghetto, watching the river flow past us.

Eventually, brains still slightly fuzzy, we extricated ourselves from the maze and pedalled on towards our lunch stop in Custoza. Hunger was beginning to set in and it was uphill for much of the way. We began berating ourselves for getting trapped in the maze, and for not taking full advantage of the breakfast spread that morning.

On arrival in Custoza, the village seemed deserted. And the directions to the restaurant pointed to a short, but very steep, path. Feeling a little weary, and slightly sceptical of the restaurant’s existence, we nominated the spriteliest of our number to cycle up the path and check the lie of the land. He soon reappeared, frantically beckoning us to join him.

It instantly became clear why the village looked deserted: everyone was having lunch. And most of them seemed to be on the terrace of Locanda Vecchia Custoza. The restaurant is set on a ridge and the views stretched down past the garden and across the vine-filled valley beyond. We were ushered to the last free outdoor table. Settling gratefully into our seats, we ordered a couple of bottles of the local white wine, and began a three-course feast that would stretch on for most of the afternoon.

It was after 4pm when we finally concluded our meal. Resisting the temptation to start on the evening aperitivi, we finally got back on the bikes, feeling extremely content. The return trip to Borghetto was mercifully downhill all the way, passing through vineyards producing the Trebbiano and Garganega grapes that will slake the thirst of future Inntravel cyclists in search of a leisurely lunch.

Related holidays

Medieval Mantova to Romantic Verona
If historic cities, lush landscapes, irresistible cuisine and scenic pedalling sound like the ingredients for your ideal break, take a look at our leisurely cycling holiday in northern Italy. E-bikes available.

More about our self-guided cycling holidays in Italy >
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