There is no world without Verona walls
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
Hence “banishèd” is banished from the world,
And world’s exile is death. Then “banishèd,”
-Romeo, Romeo and Juliet Act 3 Scene 3
So I have already told you WHY you need to go to Verona. Now I will tell you WHERE you should stay. We found this little gem through Booking.com (here’s the link). T was looking for a place between Verona and Pizzeria Panoramica that also accepted dogs…..oh yeah and for a good price.
I present to you: Casa Zen
I normally don’t write reviews about the places I stay while I travel. Mostly they have merely been places for me to crash at night so I don’t have much in the way of prerequisites for where I sleep (I really only need my own room/bathroom, bed, and a door that locks – the rest is just a bonus) But this place more than exceeded our expectations so much that I am more than happy to tell anyone and everyone about this place.
The name is a play on words. The owner is the incredibly friendly Franco Zenari. The hotel is derived from both his name as well as the yoga classes taught by his lovely wife Ilena.
From the first moment we arrived, they were incredibly generous. After taking some time to get unpacked and settled (we had just driven three hours from Milan), Ilena offered us their wine and olive oil for tasting.
Did I mention that not only do they grow their own grapes and olives, they also make their own wine and olive oil? They do. If you come here and they offer this, say yes. You will thank me later.
They make four types of red wines. Normally I am a white wine/rose type of gal but their wines were delicious:
If you are interested in more info on their wines, I have provided the link to their website concerning their wines HERE.
I wasn’t surprised that their olive oil was sold out. But we were disappointed only because we wanted to buy a crateful for ourselves. Oh yes, it was that good. I guess next time 😉
But we definitely went home with some lovely wine:
Anyway, that was just the beginning. Casa Zen has only four rooms, each with windows that give their guests a first class view of their little piece of heaven. Breakfast is served every morning consisting of locally made products (the mouth-watering pastries were made by Ilena herself the evening before). And if the weather is cooperating…..you get to have breakfast with this view:
Ilena is a very accommodating hostess: offering to make your coffee or tea or cooking your eggs to your request. I found myself helping her out around the kitchen afterwards because she does so much I felt compelled to find a way to show my appreciation.
Franco is also very kind. After our debacle with Pizzeria Panoramica, we returned to Casa Zen rather crest fallen but found Franco still around. We asked if we could do more wine tasting (mind you this was well into the evening). Our host did not hesitate and within moments had returned with wine and glasses and we spent a good amount of time talking about whatever came to mind. We really felt like we bonded with Franco that evening.
Our last morning happened to also be my dad’s 70th birthday. I mentioned it to Ilena and she asked if she could prepare a little something for him. After breakfast she returned with a little cake and candle and proceeded to sing happy birthday to him. It was these little intimate moments with our hosts that we realized that we were treated as more than just guests. We felt like we were family. You don’t find that in many places.
We were very sad to leave. It had been our little heaven in the hills of Verona. If you find yourselves near the area or are planning to come to Verona, I have already found the place for you to stay. Honestly, look no further.
Franco and Ilena are the kind of people who really REALLY love what they do and it is projected in how they run their Casa Zen as well as how they treat their guests. In today’s world of overly processed food – it’s also a rare treat to be in a situation where you can truly enjoy the food right from the source.
Casa Zen is a calm oasis that will make you feel better by the end of your stay than when you started. We surely did and we can’t wait to come back.
If more information, I have provided their card bow (click on the thumbnails to enlarge the image). Below that is a small slideshow of more photos from our stay at Casa Zen.
Bis nächste Woche!