Trip to Europe: Arqua’ Petrarca, Italy

The second stop on our recent trip to Europe was Arqua’ Petrarca, the site of Alina and Alberto’s wedding, and one of the primary reasons for our trip to Italy. There were around 25 of Alina’s friends and family traveling to the wedding, mostly from the US, but also from England and Chile. All of the out of town guests stayed together at Villa del Poeta, a magnificent hotel in the heart of the small town.

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The hotel is situated mid-way up a horizon of rolling hills and boasts a stunning view scattered with ancient stone-built homes and rows of vineyards. There is a veranda off the back of the hotel that makes you never want to leave.

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Throughout our stay at Villa del Poeta we received some of the best service we had ever experienced. David {pronounced “dah-vee-day”}, one of the owners, was extremely genuine and you could tell how proud and appreciative he was to have us there. Karla, the manager, had her hands in everything. I have never seen a hotel owner or manager be so involved with the day-to-day operations of a hotel.

{Karla assembled trays with espresso filled tea cups and served steamed milk in its own carafe for us to add as desired to make a cafe latte}

{Every time I absentmindedly walked off after ordering a coffee, Karla would bring me a tray assembled with espresso filled tea cups and a carafe of steamed milk for us to add as desired to make a caffe latte}

The food and coffee at Villa del Poeta was wonderful. We enjoyed the inclusive breakfast and espresso, and Karla was constantly keeping our glasses full. Truly the service was one of the highlights of our stay.

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We arrived in Arqua Petrarca on Friday, the day before the wedding. Once we got settled we spent much of the afternoon catching up with Alex’s family. Alex’s parents, his Uncle Dave and Aunt Katie, Aunt Chris and Uncle Mike and cousin Emily, as well as his maternal grandmother {Nana} made the trip from Illinois, along with a good family friend, Barb, and her friend Donna. Additionally, Nana’s brother Larry and his wife Jayne traveled from their home in England to attend Alina and Alberto’s wedding.

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Separately, Donna and Stan, Alex’s parents, took Nana to England on their way to the wedding. They spent three days with Nana’s brothers and their families, whom Nana rarely sees. Nana was born in Farneta, Italy and moved to England with her parents and three brothers when she was a child. Shortly after meeting her husband Larry and having their first child, Christina, they moved to Illinois were they raised their family, while Nana’s brothers remained in England. The Yori descendants had an incredible time catching up and getting to know one another. It was wonderful that Larry and Jayne were able to travel to Italy for the wedding.

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Our first evening in Arqua Petrarca was spent drinking wine and eating pizza. Alina arranged a tour of a local winery for us to attend.

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We all took a shuttle out to the winery together and were offered a tour of the cellar, as well as a tasting. My favorite was the champagne, and I also enjoyed the dry moscato.

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Later that evening, Alina’s friends and family were joined by Alberto’s immediate family and a few close friends for a dinner at a local pizzeria. We were all seated together at a very long picnic table and enjoyed conversations with new friends.

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The dinner, being Italian, lasted several hours and consisted of a few different courses. Everyone ordered their own pizza and was served the same appetizer and dessert. We had a wonderful time getting to know Alina and Alberto’s friends and family before the wedding the next day.