For a romantic getaway a few kilometers from Verona, the ageless city of lovers since the days of Romeo and Juliet, Villa Cordevigo is the ideal retreat. This 17th-century episcopal palace, nestling in an Italian-style garden, is the quintessence of la dolce vita.
Arriving at Villa Cordevigo after a long drive was scene straight out of La Dolce Vita. Wrapped in the special aura of the warm season, we could almost sense the stories behind its walls just by walking down the entrance avenue lined with cypress trees.
We sat on the garden terrace for a full hour, breathing in the calm and slowly sipping the citrusy Lugana wine produced right here, from the vineyards surrounding us.
When we felt ready, we strolled the Italian gardens dotted with statues to reach the red-and-yellow buildings where noble families of the past once resided. The villa still exudes the charming past, with elegant interiors dressed in rich fabrics, period furnishings, stone fireplaces, works of art, and original frescoes.
Our room faced a park with imposing, age-old plane and horse chestnut trees, silent witnesses of the past. Each of the 33 rooms and suites the enchanting estate has to offer is different. But they all pay impressive attention to detail, providing contemporary comforts and glimpses of the idyllic setting outside every window.
Everywhere we looked, there was an Italian postcard waiting to be etched upon our memory. It might have been the olive groves, the outdoor pool with the green hilltops as a backdrop, or our favorite spot on the 250-acre domain, the patrician chapel of Saint Martin. We can only imagine the romance, intimacy, and emotions experienced at the countless weddings this chapel has seen throughout the ages.
We still had some time to spare before our dinner reservation and we struggled to decide between a visit to the spa or the chance to taste the estate’s own Vigneti Villabella wines, including the Bardolino and Custoza varieties. We chose the first and indulged in an extended range of Indian massages, anointing oils, natural cosmetics, and Finnish sauna, having surmised that it would be quite easy and satisfying to catch up on our wine-tasting over dinner at Oseleta.
Oseleta is the one-Michelin-star restaurant at Villa Cordevigo and was our utterly romantic end of the day. It is appealingly atmospheric, capturing Cordevigo’s agricultural roots in a unique way. Chef Giuseppe D’Aquino combines the tastes and techniques he has encountered in kitchens around the world with his strong Neapolitan roots, traditional flavors, and the region’s best produce. Everything is blended perfectly in alluring, aristocratic dishes.
During our three-hour feast, we saw and tasted portraits of the Mediterranean depicted in the colors of the season and joyful textures embellished with precious leaves of gold or silver. The highlight of the evening: Giuseppe’s signature dish, “Spaghetti with piennolo tomato, burrata and lemon zest.” A tribute to simplicity, homage to his roots. A delicious dish filled with passion, just like the intense red of the plate.
Giuseppe D’Aquino’s cuisine is perfectly matched by the impressive selection of over 600 wine labels. Starting with the finest Veneto and expanding into rare, prestigious bottles or interesting new entries, Oseleta’s cellar is one of the richest in the area.
Some might say Oseleta is a gastronomic destination offering the option of an aristocratic overnight stay in a beautifully restored, historic villa. And they would not be wrong, but it would most certainly be an understatement, as the overall experience is an exquisitely balanced circle. Villa Cordevigo tells old, noble stories, while artfully writing new ones along every step of the journey.