My dearest, today I wish to tell you about one of the most bustling and characteristic places in Padua: Sotto il Salone.

It is two parallel arcades located under the Palazzo della Ragione (known as the “Salone”), which is the world’s largest suspended hall and used to be the ancient seat of Padua law courts. For the last 800 years, the two arcades have hosted a variety of shops (boteghe, in Venetian language): deli shops, butcher shops, bakeries, pasta-makers, fishmongers, tobacconists, sweets and toys shops and a number of bars where you can taste delicious “spunciotti” (appetizers) while sipping a spritz (read the article) or a glass of good wine.


A common characteristic of Sotto il Salone food shops is the high quality of the produce they sell. There you can buy the best cheeses, cold cuts and meat cuts, the best and freshest fish and fish dishes. And you can also buy regional and international specialties: Vicenza-style baccalà (stockfish), Venetian sopressa, cheeses from all over Italy, Cremona fruity mustard but also caviar, Stilton cheese and Scottish wild salmon. Each “botega” has its carefully selected suppliers, which they are very jealous about and whose name they would not disclose to anyone!
Moreover, at Sotto il Salone there are those who make food, like for example pasta-makers, who make home-made pasta, potato “gnocchi” (dumplings) and tortellini.
For 800 years Paduans have done their shopping for food at Sotto il Salone. I do also shop there twice or three times a week, and each time it is a pleasure. I get to the counter, choose, try new delicacies, exchange a few friendly words with the shopkeeper and then leave with my little treasure in the bag!


To celebrate the 800 years of existence of Europe’s oldest shopping hall, Padua is hosting a Food Festival from 8 to 12 May.
Renowned chefs, pastry-makers, gourmet pizza-makers, sommeliers and oenologists will put a sheen on the Festival. They will all together bring us the joy of food-and-wine-tasting events and open-air show cooking accompanied by live music.
In addition, since Padua is the birthplace of science (read the article), the Festival includes conferences on correct nutrition, on sustainable food for the future and on the fight to food waste.


“Tasting good food and good wine is definitely one of life’s pleasures, but we should always keep an eye on health, should avoid wasting such valuable gifts and should take care of our beloved Earth”.

“And we should always remember Gunilla’s golden rule: it is not worth getting fat on poor food (and wine, I dare add).
So, my dear, I hope to see you at the Food Festival Sotto il Salone, where maybe we will gain some weight but – no doubt – with deep satisfaction!

By the way, I will carry my Valier tote, emptied for the occasion. I want to fill it with any possible goodies I find!”.

We’ll be in touch soon!

Gunilla V.