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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 24, 2014

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John Sieger's dream and a diet's nightmare.
John Sieger's dream and a diet's nightmare. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Meet secondi: It worked for Orson, and it will work for you

It's crazy to be frustrated and exhausted when your surroundings seem to say, "Linger a while, Sieger." The section of Italy we're in, which includes Juliet's balcony and famous wineries, is surpassingly beautiful.

After two nights in clubs that aspire to be palaces of rock but are closer to something you might find on the outskirts of any American town, we struck gold in Montebelluna. After picking up Ricardo, our co-manager for the Italian portion of the tour in Verona, we did a quick tour of the old part of that town.

This included L'Arena, which is an old Roman colosseum (there aren't any new ones). I haven't been this impressed since I first laid eyes on Lambeau. Despite the actors dressed as centurions who shill for funny pictures (one euro each), it's hard to drop two thousand years into the past when the sign in front says "Opera On Ice." Inside, there is a giant stage and skating rink being built, and a mic check that never ends. None of this interferes with the experience luckily, and we trudge up and down the marble bleachers, taking it all in.

Ricardo, by the way, looks more like a rock star than the motley collection he is shepherding. It's good to have him, though we still almost got lost looking for the club. He just got on his iPhone, and they talked us in. We are lodged at the most beautiful Bellavista. True to it's name, it sits high, overlooking the town church tower and grapes ten miles in every direction. My fantasies of owning a winery – which I must admit only appeared on the drive into Italy – are crushed like grapes under bare feet as I contemplate the massive amount of hard work involved.

We play in an elegant winery/restaurant in a modern tent that looks Calatrava-ish. It is sponsored by a music store that is the biggest I ever saw. It's like three Walmarts big in a revamped old factory of some sort, and I swear it could have its own weather system.

At the gig, they feed us lasagna that is a revelation and makes me think that a life spent into pursuit of pasta and wine might be rewarding, even if I wind up bigger than Orson Welles. 

But then, when I'm so full, cheese is threatening to run out of my nose, I am introduced to a new and disturbing concept: secondi. Apparently, the best way to digest a delicious meal like that is to force a little further down the line with an even richer plate full of delicious cold cuts and cheesy potatoes. I resist. Then I give in. The vita here is very dolce!

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