Day 206: Fair VeronaSeptember 8, 2017 in Italy
Up early this morning for a Skype chat with mum, then headed into the city around 10:30. Verona is a beautiful riverside city, one of the centres of the Renaissance, and has three distinct periods of the city that still show traces here in the modern day. The Roman period, from which several buildings still stand, the medieval period when the city expanded and was ruled by one family, and the Venetian period where it was ruled from Venice.
We drove in and managed to grab an empty slot in a car-park, then walked the rest of the way into the old town. First stop was the Roman Arena, a large Colosseum type building that has largely survived intact. It's apparently the largest surviving Roman ruin in northern Italy! It could hold 20,000 spectators, and these days plays host to operas during the summer. Sadly we couldn't witness one, as the season had just finished a week or so earlier.
We continued to wander around the old core of the city, quite interesting as the streets were all grid-like and laid out according to their original Roman plan (they loved to have straight-lined grids in their colonies). We checked out the bridges (some Roman, some medieval), the old castles and palazzos, and of course the ubiquitous Casa di Giulietta, where "Juliet" from Romeo & Juliet "lived". She was of course a fictional character and couldn't have lived there, although it's called that because a family of "Capellos" lived there for a while (similar enough to Capulet I guess).
But there's no evidence Shakespeare ever came here, and given the hordes of people I really just found it tedious and silly. I get the idea of going to a film set (like a LOTR tour in New Zealand, or seeing Harry Potter locations in England), but here it really feels like people forget it's a work of fiction. Anyway.
We had lunch down a side-street at a nice restaurant and relaxed a bit, before continuing around the rest of the city. Still quite busy, but some very pleasant spots. Eventually by mid-afternoon we were both pretty exhausted, so there wasn't much for it but to grab a gelato and head back to the car.
Off home where we both sort of zonked out, and I took the opportunity to road test the $1.50 bottle of off-brand Aperol Spritz I'd bought at the supermarket. It's .. an acquired taste. Grapefruit is literally the worst fruit.Read more