Italy
Verona

Here you’ll find travel reports about Verona. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

86 travelers at this place:

  • Day295

    Verona

    April 17, 2017 in Italy

    Verona provides a stopover only 2km from the city centre at the reasonable price of €10 for 24 hours. Arriving just before 10am we took the penultimate spot and set off on foot to see the sights. Although there were cycle tracks, we had so little distance to cover getting to and around the places of interest it was hardly worth getting the bike down.

    Passing by the ornately castellated Castel Vecchio we came to the River Adige that curves round the historic centre. Taking a few minutes we looked out over the water and watched dull coloured Sand Martins darting adeptly over and under the bridge arches. Verona had signposted its sights well and a nearby notice invited us to look around the Chiesa di San Lorenzo. It made a nice change to see a church such as this that was well used, in contrast to some of the large cathedrals that have appeared preserved as museums.

    While our Three data SIM works in Italy, it doesn't in Slovenia and as we have less than a week left here, we didn't top up when it ran out. We were therefore pleased that Verona provided a good free wifi zone in the centre of town and logged on to upload, download and catch up with correspondence.

    Our next visit was to the Old Market courtyard standing at the base of the Lamberti tower and whose staircase, with its elegant stone pillared banister led up to the Gallery of Modern Art. Here we each bought a 24 hour Verona card for €18, allowing us entry to 8 different attractions, including the gallery. After the huge and heavy going Uffizi gallery in Florence, the relatively small collection was an enjoyable contrast. It displayed and told the stories of classic paintings from the 19th century through to contemporary abstract images, as well as containing an atmospherically decorated chapel.

    Close by was the Lamberti tower. We needed to wait in a queue that snaked out onto and across the street, effectively blocking it. We left space for people to pass through and tried not to get frustrated when those queuing behind us insisted on squashing closely up against us, frequently bumping in to us. Once inside the 84m high tower it was far less crowded. We'd chosen to climb the metal stairs that were affixed to each of the 4 walls instead of taking the lift, as it seemed most people preferred to do. The view from the platform was good but we were disappointed that the spiral staircase that led past the huge bronze bells to the top of the tower was shut off.

    Picking up some slices of pizza for lunch we braved it through the crush of city centre crowds to the Arena, a large Roman amphitheatre dating from the 1st Century AD. The outside had been damaged by an earthquake but the tiered seating within was very well intact and it was great to see that it was used regularly for opera performances, with a mix of ancient stone steps and new staging, lighting and metal seats. At this point we had an impromptu video call from Vicky's Dad. It was a real treat and we were very pleased the city wifi was up to the job.

    Our last port of call was the 'Casa di Giulietta'. A house that had no link to Shakespeare's fictional character of Juliet but had been chosen to represent her residence. We'd been past a couple of times before but the tourist melee was so dense we'd chosen to return at a later time, hoping it would be less busy. It wasn't. The entrance was an archway that led into a little cobbled courtyard from where you could see a small first floor stone balcony. The inside of the archway was covered in graffiti declaring 'undying love'. This had been covered with plasters and post-its bearing the names or intitials of lovers or suitors. There seemed to be a system whereby visitors entered on the right and exited on the left side. We shuffled in with the majority while a few selfish people pushed past on the centre line. Once in the courtyard we couldn't face going into the house itself and so snapped a few photos of the balcony and took our leave on the opposite side. Some more selfish people had chosen to enter via this side and aggressively barged into us when they found there wasn't enough space. As you can imagine, we'd had enough of crowds at this point and retreated towards the safety of the van. Easter Monday was obviously a busy day and we found the density of people unpleasant around the tourist attractions, but you didn't have to go far to find a quiet street and our overall impression of Verona was a good one.
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  • Day14

    Verona

    September 12 in Italy

    Our destination today was Verona, home of Romeo and Juliette. Brad drove again and we were doing alright until we got to Verona and could not find where to park the car for Europcar. A couple of awkward intersection cross overs (who knows if we were in the right or not) and we finally found out we had to park in a car park about 10mins from the Europcar office itself. Something that they could have told us when we picked up the car. Anyway we made it.

    We checked into our room, very nice but with an extremely narrow bathroom, and then headed out to explore the area for the afternoon. This was only an overnight stop so we hit the ground running. I had completely underestimated Verona when planning as it was such a lovely place we would have liked to stay a little bit longer. We were pleasantly surprised.

    We checked out some of the major sites and enjoyed walking in the older part of Verona. The first piazza we came across was Piazza Bra, the largest piazza in Verona, Italy, with some claims that it is the largest in the country. The piazza is lined with numerous cafés and restaurants, along with several notable buildings and is a very picturesque site.

    It is also the location of the Verona Arena, originally an amphitheatre built nearly 2000 years ago. The building itself was built in the first century AD on a site then beyond the city walls. While it can now host crowds of up to 22,000, the original amphitheatre could seat 30,000 spectators. This is now a world-famous music venue with regular operatic and contemporary music performances including Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart, Elton John, and Muse. Unfortunately because it is a commercial venue it was covered with advertising signs and scaffolding.

    In the centre there is a lovely garden, which offered some shade on this very hot day, the fountain of the Alps and a bronze statue of Victor Emmanuel II. This monument to the first king of Italy, in which he is sat atop a horse, was inaugurated on 9 January 1883, five years to the day after his death.

    It was a lovely vibrant piazza to start our mini tour of Verona and we were already in love with the city. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring more of the sites while trying not to get too hot. We were just not prepared for the heat here. Luckily, like most Italian cities, there are fresh water fountains throughout the piazzas to refill our water bottles.

    We finished our night with a very delicious dinner at Locanda degli Scaligeri, a restaurant not far from the hotel. Not sure if they had their translations right but there was gnocchi with overcooked horse meat on the menu. Needless to say, I did not order that. After dinner we enjoyed another stroll into the main square to admire it at night.

    The only thing that could have improved was the weather. It was very hot and humid, not what we expected for this time of year. What a lovely stop on our way to Venice.
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  • Day14

    Sant' Anastasia, Verona

    September 12 in Italy

    One of the sites we visited today was Sant'Anastasia, a Gothic style church of the Dominican Order. The current church was started in 1280 and completed in 1400. It took its name from a pre-existing temple built by King Theoderic the Great upon which was built the actual church. Since 1307, it is in fact co-entitled to St. Peter of Verona, martyr and co-patron of the city.

    The 72m tall belltower had four bells in 1460, the fifth was added in 1650. In the 1839, the 9 bells were cast and tuned in C; they are rung in Veronese bellringing art by a local team founded in 1776.

    While this church isn’t that exciting or elaborate on the outside, the inside is pretty amazing. The arches and the ceiling are stunning and it always amazes me how these intricate paintings and patterns are created. Even the floor was interesting with many different patterns created using the same tones of marble.

    The walls still display some of the original frescoes created in the 15th century as well as terracotta statues from the same era. There are two stoups before the first two columns that stand on two hunchback figures, which aren’t the usual things you see in a church.

    Overall this was worth a visit and once again we were impressed by the history of this church.
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  • Day14

    Casa di Giulietta, Verona

    September 12 in Italy

    Verona is known as the home of Shakesheare's Romeo and Juliette and you can't visit Verona without visiting Juliette's balcony. While Shakespeare never went to Verona and the actual site wasn't the inspiration for the setting of the two non-fictional characters' balcony scene, it is the city's top attraction. It was also made famous in the movie, Letters to Juliet, and as a result the courtyard was packed with tourists, us included.

    In 1905 the municipality bought the 14th century Verona home from the Dal Capello family because of the similarity between their name and Juliet's family name. And so the house was marketed as the Capulet family home, Home of Juliet – and a new tourist site was born.

    A narrow archway leads into a small courtyard where you can admire the small stone balcony on one of the walls. There are many traditions/superstitions associated with this site, ways to ensure your love lasts forever or help you find your true love. As a result of these traditions though, the historic building has been damaged and steps are being taken to stop some of the traditions from occurring.

    As you walk through the alleyway into the courtyard, visitors have left notes attached to the walls, the notes bear the vow of eternal love made by lovers and the wishes of singles seeking love. Legend has it that if you leave your note here you will stay together with your partner forever. Because these notes were often attached with chewing gum and the likes, the mortar was being damaged. The notes and letters have since been removed and replaceable panels now cover the alleyway walls. Visitors are allowed to write their messages on these boards. Not quite the same thing but people are still doing it.

    It is also a tradition to put small love letters on the walls (which is done by the thousands each year), which are regularly taken down by employees to keep the courtyard clean. For some reason this has been replaced with just putting your chewing gum on the wall and writing your and your loved one's initials on that. Gum is being put everywhere in the courtyard, even on the trees.

    Another tradition that occurs in Juliet's courtyard is writing your name and that of your loved one on a lock and attaching it to a large ornamental gate in the back left. The gate is overwhelmed with locks that hold hope for lasting love. These are also now attached anywhere they can be attached, not just on the ornamental gate.

    In the courtyard there is a bronze statue of Juliet and legend states if you touch her right breast you will find your true love. The original famed statue, which stood in the courtyard since 1972, was pulled from its Verona home due to cracks and wear from the touch of thousands of love-seeking tourists. A crack in the fair Capulet’s right breast and right arm alarmed locals, who petitioned for the statue to be saved. The statue was moved to Museum Castelvecchio where it was restored and now displayed. An exact replica now stands in her place and tourists are continuing the tradition.

    There are so many traditions for such a small courtyard that it is really quite bizarre what people will do, thinking this will ensure their love forever. It is a bit tacky and very touristy and probably not a place I would really recommend to visit as it is "just a balcony".
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  • Day14

    Piazza delle Erbe, Verona

    September 12 in Italy

    In our wanderings we came across Piazza delle Erbe, which was once the town's forum during the time of the Roman Empire. This plaza was buzzing with the centre filled with markets and the surrounding building all holding cafes and restaurants. It has a real vibe about it and the surrounding buildings were beautiful.

    The northern side of the square is occupied by the ancient town hall, the Torre dei Lamberti, the Casa dei Giudici ("Judges' Hall") and the frescoed Mazzanti Houses. The western side features the Baroque Palazzo Maffei, decorated by statues of Greek gods. It is faced by a white marble column, on which is St. Mark's Lion, symbol of the Republic of Venice.

    The north-western side occupies the site of the ancient Roman Capitol Hill, which looked towards the forum. Many of the buildings facing the square have maintained façade frescoes. On the southern side is the Casa dei Mercanti ("House of the Merchants", also known as Domus Mercatorum), now the seat of the Banca Popolare di Verona. Other buildings, the tall houses of the Ghetto, are reminiscent of medieval tower-houses.

    The square's most ancient monument is the fountain, built in 1368, surmounted by a statue called Madonna Verona, which is however a Roman sculpture dating to 380 AD. It was so hot even the dogs were sitting in the fountain to cool down.

    Also historical is the capitello, dating to the 13th century, during which it was used for several ceremonies. Towards Via Cappello is another column, with a 14th-century shrine with reliefs of the Virgin and the Saints Zeno, Peter and Christopher.

    Also in the square is the medieval Arco della Costa, Arch of the Rib. A whale rib has been mysteriously suspended from the arch since at least the 1700s, though some estimates suggest much longer, possible since the 15th century. And with Verona located about 120 km from the sea, no one is quite sure how it got there. The arch is the entry point between Piazza Erbe and Piazza dei Signori.

    In the Middle Ages and Renaissance era, the walkway above the arch provided a safe passage for judges and magistrates between the city hall and their living quarters, so that they needn’t associate with the common or “corrupt” people below. This may be the ironic origin of the myth of the whalebone’s magic: It’s claimed that it will fall on the first innocent or truthful person to walk under the archway. Yet another interesting sight to see and story to go with it.

    There was so much to see and photograph here and we happily bought a cup of delicious fruit for our lunch (it was a nice change from pasta and pizza - not that we haven't been enjoying that) and sat on the ancient steps of one of the buildings and watched the world go by.
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  • Day205

    Day 206: Fair Verona

    September 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.
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  • Day5

    2nd Candlelight Dinner

    October 4 in Italy

    Und wieder geiler als jedes 5-Sterne-Restaurant. Basmati-Reis mit Tofu-Gemüse-Curry, dazu Salat.🥗 Danke Elisa für dieses geile Gericht.❤️ Improvisation schmeckt besser als Perfektion. Wenn’s so weiter geht bin ich in einem Monat komplett rund.😅

You might also know this place by the following names:

Verona, فيرونا, ورونا, Vérone, ורונה, वेरोना, VRN, ヴェローナ, Werona, Верона, 维罗纳

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