Both hamlets are listed among the most beautiful in Italy but if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick Borghetto in Valeggio sul Mincio over the other. This tiny borough of mills and pastel-colored buildings offers the best photo ops from whatever angle you’re shooting and there are places to eat if you want to spend the day. Try the zuppa del pellegrino (pilgrim’s soup) at Antica Locanda Mincio – an interesting blend of beef broth, chicken livers, morels and cinnamon. It doesn’t look like much but the combination of flavor – absolute perfection. Professional service without the pomp and dogs allowed in the restaurant. During the warm season, patrons have the option of dining outdoors next to the river.
Be still, my beating heart
Less than 6 miles away, Castellaro Lagusello at one time was a small fortress next to a heart-shaped lake. I was under the impression that visitors would be able to visit the lake but the gated entrance was not open to the public. The lack of a vantage point in which to admire the village with this cupid-inspired wonder (other than Google satellite!) was disappointing. The positive: Osteria della Dispensa. Whether it’s for a glass of wine and a mixed platter of salumi or a simple plate of pasta, the relaxed atmosphere and friendly service made the meal. Just to prove my point: the waitress was sensitive to the fact that I wasn’t feeling well and offered to bring me some hot tea. I noticed later that she didn’t even charge for it. The downside for non-italian speakers is that the menu is recited by voice.
Fugasì and a glass of red wine
If you’re feeling more like street food, across the street from the osteria is a place where you can try fugasì, a flat bread that is topped with your choice of salumi and cut into wedges. Great snacking with a glass of red wine.