In Fair Verona where we lay our scene ...
Verona was to be our last destination before meeting up with Millie and Charlie in Venice but it was a stop I had been looking forward to. I don’t know why but I’ve always wanted to visit Verona, I just knew instinctively that it would be special. We parked on an aire within the city, within walking distance of the main sites which was well worth the €10 per night fee. We’d timed our arrival so that we could make the most of the day so off we marched towards the Centre. The Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra, built in the first century, It is still in use today and is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. On entering, you walk through a dark tunnel and emerge in the centre arena, tiered stone seats surround you and you really get a sense of history and the scale of the gladiatorial battles that would have occurred there. To make the most of our visit and to admire the view I knew was up there, I gritted my teeth and hanging on to Mr. B for dear life I climbed the uneven stone steps until we reached the very top. It was dizzying, looking down into the centre but the rooftops of Verona and the distant snow capped alps were spectacular.
Not the brightest idea with dodgy knees but the view was worth it!
Knowing I would be paying later for the exertion, we continued on to find Juliets house and balcony. Now, of course Romeo and Juliet is a work of fiction but that hasn’t stopped a whole hive of commercial activity exploiting love and romance from springing up in Verona. There is a house, said to be Juliets and a balcony adorned with ivy and wilting roses that for a fee, you can stand in and recreate that famous scene. There are also multiple gift shops selling all manner of tat decorated with hearts and corny sentiments. Perhaps the most soul destroying and unromantic thing I have ever seen is a wall within the courtyard studded with used chewing gum on which many desperate couples have plighted their troth on in biro!
Of course, we entered into the spirit but with a hefty sense of irony and not feeling even the slightest joy or romance.
We indulged in photos on the balcony but drew the line at writing on chewing gum!
Not that Verona doesn’t inspire those things, it does. It’s a fabulous city, ancient architecture abounds but the atmosphere is chic and modern. The roads outside are crazy but the centre is mainly pedestrianised with cafe culture high on the agenda.
We were up bright and early on day two. We attempted to catch the bus from our aire but that didn’t exactly work out, I’m sure we walked twice as far just looking for the right stop. Now, I’m a sucker for a church as Mr. B will testify but even he was impressed by The Cathedral or Duomo as they are called in Italy. I prefer places of worship, no matter how big or small that have a sense of being at the heart of a community and that are used regularly for services rather than being simply a tourist attraction. The Duomo in Verona feels spiritual and as if it is the city’s church and I liked it very much.
I’m not keen on taking photos inside churches but this angel sculpture outside The Duomo was beautiful.
Afterwards we exited the walled city across one of the many bridges and caught The Funicolare di Castel San Pietro up to The Castel San Pietro. The modern funicular railway sped us to the top of the hill where the castle is situated and we gazed in awe at the city sprawled out before us. The view was breathtaking, reluctant to leave, we treated ourselves to lunch in the bar of Re Teodorico, the restaurant perched at the very top. Sometimes it’s really worth exploring the options, to eat in the restaurant of this exclusive place was far too expensive for our humble budget, but a beer, Spritz and delicious shared pizza at the bar was much more reasonable!
We walked miles in Verona, exploring the back streets and alleys as well as the marble pavements of the main boulevards and piazzas. I happily accepted when James insisted on a taxi back to Ada but what a city!