Travel to Verona, Italy with Giovanni Rana

When you Travel to Verona, Italy:

…it’s like traveling to a real-life fairy tale! It’s the quaintest, most picturesque little city imaginable. Verona is famously the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but it’s also the home of Giovanni Rana. I got to travel there as part of a trip I won on Instagram, put on by The FeedFeed.

I’m thrilled to share a little about my experience in and a few tips for your own travel to Verona here with you!

We were personally welcomed by the team at Giovanni Rana, then led on a short tour of the city!

Giovanni Rana is called the second most famous man in Italy, after only the Pope!

It’s a funny little saying but it totally speaks to how beloved this man and his company are throughout the country.

The story of his pasta company goes like this: After WWII, many women in Verona had to work outside the home. They didn’t have time to make handmade tortellini for their families anymore. Since pasta is such a staple of Italian everyday cuisine and culture and Giovanni saw there was a need for it, so he handmade tortellini and delivered them on his bicycle all through the city.

Now fast forward about 50 years. In Italian households, the word “Rana” is fairly interchangeable with the word “Tortellini.” And in December, the company marked their US launch by welcoming over 100 Americans to Verona for a lavish 3-day celebration of all things pasta! It was a thrill to be a part of it all!

Mr Giovanni Rana in Verona, Italy
Me (starstruck and super awkward), meeting Mr. Rana himself!

I was right around 33 weeks pregnant when I got to travel to Verona with Giovanni Rana. Feeling totally exhausted, in pain, and just the tiniest bit cranky, I’m still SO glad I went. It turned out to be one of the most special places I’ve ever been!

Now I know you’re wondering… aren’t you the Whole30 girl? No, I’m the real food girl. I love Whole30 so much, but I EAT PASTA! And cheese! I’m actually half Italian and grew up loving traditional Italian meals. I do try to put healthy spins on some of those recipes today, like my Zucchini Caprese or my Shrimp Fra Diavolo, but I still enjoy the classics!

Five Things To Do When You Travel to Verona:

Try to go at Christmastime

The entire city of Verona is dripping in twinkling lights in December! Every city street, every storefront, every piazza, will be lit up and shimmering. It makes the whole experience so dreamy!

There’s also a really delightful Christmas market where you can pick up tons of lovely items for your holiday gift list. And it’s pretty quiet, too!

Verona, Italy - Cookathomemom
There were dozens of beautifully lit Christmas trees as we walked the streets!

Take a Tour of the Collosseum

You know I love fun facts! The colosseum in Verona is actually older than the one is Rome. Betcha didn’t know that one, now did you?

At the time we were visiting, they had it filled with hundred of nativity scenes, sent by artists throughout the world to be displayed. It’s an annual Christmas tradition, and I’m so glad we got to be there to see it!

The Colosseum and Arch in Verona, Italy

See a Performance of Romeo & Juliet.

You HAVE TO get tickets to a performance of the play. Be sure to visit her famous balcony & the Montague home, too. I’ve read the play. I’ve actually seen it performed at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. But seeing it in the live setting truly made it something special.

The families were real families who lived in the city, so walking the streets they walked makes the play come to life in a new way. When you visit Juliet’s balcony, you can leave a note or sign your name right there on the wall. It’s a fun little tourist tradition!

Juliet's Balcony in Verona
A live performance of Romeo & Juliet!

Eat. Eat. And eat some more.

There are a number of wonderful restaurants to choose from in Verona. Get recommendations from a local, and be sure to get fresh produce from the markets too! Since you’re in the city of pasta, take some cooking classes and of course, a pasta-making class too!

Mrs. Rana herself taught our pasta making class, and it was so obvious how much love she has for all things pasta. She spoke of her grandmother, who would cook to order the individual portions of any kind of pasta her grandchildren would want, twice a day, every day. Across cultures, food is so connected to love, and I love that.

I’m checking out some of the produce the Rana team laid out for us! There were right around 10 tables like this. AMAZING!
I learned to make a lovely Gnocchi alla Norma, a classic Italian dish made with gnocchi, sauce, eggplant, and hard ricotta cheese.
Pasta Making Class in Italy
Pasta making class! My ravioli skills were pretty sub-par.

Visit the Churches

The cathedrals and churches are spectacular. I wish I could explain it in more detail to give you a better picture, but they’re places you can’t fully experience until you see them in person. Just look at a few of these photos:

My Take on Travel to Verona:

I had a fabulous time visiting Verona and spending time with the Giovanni Rana team. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine a better trip! Most importantly, though, if you get the chance to travel to Verona, take it. Even if you’re super pregnant, it’s a good move. Trust me!

PS: My apologies for the iPhone photos in this blog post. I’m about to have a baby (any day now!) and am a little overwhelmed with all the last-minute things to be done. I’ll replace the photos with the better ones I took sometime soon!!