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Verona, wines and "osterie"

Verona, wines and "osterie"

08 May 2023

The food and wine offer that Italian cities are able to offer today is now so wide and articulated that choosing between restaurants, trattorie, enoteche, bars and osterie can be a difficult undertaking. All these places were in the past easily distinguishable on the basis of the different functions, proposals and styles they were able to present. Today we want to tell you about what osterie (local taverns) were and what they are. These venues have always been synonymous with conviviality, hospitality and refreshment, both for artists, politicians and intellectuals, as well as for workers, craftsmen and retired people.

The word "osteria" itself derives from the ancient French oste/ostesse, which can be traced back to the Latin hospite(m). These words immediately remind us of the hospitality function of the osterie. In the past they were placed in the squares, markets and main streets of cities and towns, as they represented meeting places where ordinary people and intellectuals could discuss current events, politics and culture while drinking good wine, and where passing people could find refreshment and a room where to spend the night. The first function of the osteria is in fact to facilitate the establishment of social relations, not only between fellow citizens, but also with passing foreigners. From this point of view it can be considered similar to a market square, where the commercial purpose is replaced by good wine and conviviality. These are precisely the main dishes offered in the osterie, where the food is instead only a side dish. In fact, the osteria does not have a real kitchen, but you can find cold cuts, cheeses and simple homemade dishes, even better if warmed up from the day before. Here the protagonist is not the cook, but the innkeeper (oste), who welcomes and entertains guests, and, above all, serves drinks.

Over time, the style and function of the osteria have changed, increasingly conforming to those of restaurants and trattorie, so that in some cases it is difficult to distinguish them. Three elements can help us recognize an osteria: the location in the center of the city or town, simple and essential furnishings, food and wine linked to the territory and tradition.


There is no better city than Verona, "great osteria of the peoples", as Hans Barth defined it in 1910, to concretely experience what the true meaning of the word "osteria" is. In fact, in Verona there are simple and traditional places that still retain the authentic spirit of the osteria, where you can leave aside the formalities and immerse yourself in the flavors and customs of the Verona area. We of Pagus went to find them, and we have selected a few to offer you a new walking itinerary in the heart of Verona.

Join us in discovering the most evocative glimpses of our city, with two stops in ancient and modern osterie, which will allow you to live an authentic Veronese experience.

Find out all the details of our new tour, “Verona, wines and osterie, for a morning of good wine, good company and good mood!

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