It's this dreamy place under the arcades, iron table and chairs, just out of the sweltering sun in the piazza, before the town folks all walked by in hushed silence and disappeared into the Church of the Incoronata.
I sat there a while and listened to a man crying about his long lost love.
Sabbioneta was supposed to be a city 'a passo d'uomo'... that's what the duke of Gonzaga wanted it to be. Perhaps the size of it is... but really, New York City with all its hugeness seems more human to me. So... size is not ALL that matters. :-)
I didn't see much life during my day in Sabbioneta, but I saw some... A flea market, for one thing. And suddenly, at Noon, just as I was getting hungry, I walked past a lively bar and heard laughing. I went in, full of hope.
There was a huge punch bowl, full of green liquid, and a big Viagra sign over the bar. I made my way through tables full of men who seemed on the verge of rioting. The bar owners were busy running around, trying to keep everyone content. I ordered a glass of the green punch, it was good.
My pleasure was short-lived. The woman behind the bar who seemed so intent on keeping all the men in the place happy was rushing around, wiping her hands on her apron and joking in a rasped voice with everyone but me. I asked her what was in that delicious aperitivo. She screamed at me "Non so, signora! Son diversi ingredienti!" and never looked my way again.
I was going to eat there but with this kind of wild Walkyrie, no way! I paid my dues to the guy at the bar, who didn't seem to like outsiders any more than his wife or sister did... and went to eat at an Osteria right down the alley from there.
Now... that place was really cool. The owner had a beard, a soft and pleasant face, and he cared about all his guests. He looked like a guy from '68. I ate the best plate of tortellini I ever had there. I'll find the card before long I hope. I remember the sign said "Osteria Wine Bar Boulevard" I also had a great ice cream dessert and an expresso, all for 10 Euros.
Here's a treet in Sabbioneta with flowers... a sure sign that somebody must live here!
During my macabre walk around the place, I saw the Palazzo Giardino, a few minutes' walk from the main piazza. Not a sound there either, but before I forget, I should say... I never saw so many flies! Everywhere in Sabbioneta, it was like being in "Les Mouches" by Jean-Paul Sartre!!!
Anyway... the Palazzo Giardino houses magnificent ceilings and frescoes. The building dates back to 1584. Once I got back home, I checked my reference to Sabbioneta, which is H.V. Morton 'A Traveler in Italy' -- and found this about Palazzo Giardino:
"A building of this elegance and style was not to be seen in England for another fifty years, when Inigo Jones built the banquet hall of Whitehall Palace. In England, Elizabeth had been on the throne for twenty-six years, Mary Stuart was still alive, the Armada was four years away, and Shakespeare, aged twenty, had not been yeard of."
A few tables outside, under thick parasols the colour of red wine. A happy-looking group of people having lunch and enticing fragrances from inside. So you walk in and say "Salve!" looking as hopeful as you can after facing the enraged Fury next door.
The owner opens his arms and smiles and gives you a good table. Bliss!
The food was excellent, and although the place was lively, it was not noisy. Large wooden tables and benches, which I love! A good choice of wines too. Very reasonable in terms of prices.
Karaoke seemed to be a popular thing in Sabbioneta. We walked by this nightlife spot a couple of times in the evening - it was situated right across our hotel - and noticed that more and more people found their way there during the evening. After all it was a Friday night and it sounded lots of fun in there.