The Twelve Apostles Restaurant – Patrizia Scudellaro
The Twelve Apostles Restaurant, by Patrizia Scudellaro, Creative Writing Course ‘Found in Translation’ 2017.
In the middle of the seventeen hundreds, twelve traders working in Piazza delle Erbe in Verona, where herbs and vegetables were sold, used to meet regularly. They met not far from the Square, to deal with their business.
They would sit around a table with a plate of pasta and beans and a glass of wine. For that reason they were named “The 12 Apostles” by their friends and then, from these meetings an Inn was founded and was given the name of ‘12 Apostles’ in their memory.
At the beginning of the nineteen hundreds, Antonio Gioco and his wife were able to buy the Inn thanks to the financial guarantee provided by their friend Arnoldo Mondadori. The Inn became well known – and not only by local people.
Then, in the 50s, their son Giorgio and his wife did such a good job with the food that the Restaurant reached a very high level in Italian Cuisine. They always stressed the importance of using local fresh products.
Currently “12 Apostles” is counted among the “Locali storici italiani”. These are the best Italian restaurants located in sites of historical interest. The 12 Apostles is also a founding member of the “Buon Ricordo Restaurants Association” and continues to be an important platform for many cultural events for the city of Verona.
Antonio, Giorgio’s son, his wife Simonetta and their son Filippo keep alive the tradition of this piece of gastronomic history of Verona with passion, but Filippo has been introducing new food influenced by other cultures in order to stay in touch with the changing world of modern international cuisine.
The walls of the Restaurant are decorated with frescoes and on the tables, which are always very well prepared, there are beautiful bronze sculptures made by Giorgio Gioco.
Going down the narrow stairs you will find a very interesting cave, thanks to an archeological discovery that was made by chance a few years ago.
There we can see the podium of a sacred temple, dated around the first century A.C.; a stretch of a Roman road; a piece of Cryptoporticus, or covered corridor or passageway, belonging to the Curia; and some stones belonging to the Arena.
In the cellar of the Restaurant, there is a large and very valuable collection of bottles of wine, coming from all over Italy and from other countries.
There is another very special collection called “The speaking pens”.
These are pens belonging to journalists, writers, artists and other people, representatives of all kinds of cultural activities, that have been visiting the restaurant since the early nineteen hundreds.
In 1968 the Gioco family launched the “12 Apostles Prize” for journalists and others associated with Italian Culture and Arts.
The jury is composed of twelve “prestigious writers” and the winner will get a bronze sculpture, made by Giorgio Gioco.
The owners of 12 Apostles have an exquisite sensibility, and sense of responsibility towards social problems and they open their doors for events for fundraising.
A few years ago, a non-profit Association had the opportunity to be hosted there for a new initiative: to collect books to take to some hospital departments for the patients.
Besides that, an agreement was made by the “Readers Circle of Verona” and the Hospitals in Verona to allow the volunteers to read books to patients during their Day Hospital therapies.
The ’12 Apostles’ is much more than a restaurant. It is a vital and energetic member of Verona society.
And their food is very good too….!