After Milan, we headed next to Verona. It was an easy, short and cheap train ride away to the city in which Romeo and Juliet takes place. I much prefer traveling by train to by plane for a few reasons. 1) The train station is usually closer to town (if not in it!) than the airport, saving you time and money and 2) It’s much simpler to arrive and take a train than to go through the fuss at an airport security line. You also have a lot more room and in the case of the Italian trains, every seat has an electrical outlet!
We arrived in Verona and walked for about 20 minutes to get to our AirBnb. To get there, we passed through these magnificent old city walls. I’m not certain how old they are, but it was pretty awe-inspiring to walk through them and look at their evident age.
Verona is also, like many other European towns, filled with churches. One of the most impressive is the Basilica of Sant’Anastasia, which is beautiful from all angles.
I thought the ceiling was one of the most beautiful I’d seen in a church. It kind of reminded me of the one in Toulouse but I liked this one far more.
Verona is very famous for one thing in particular: being the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The ‘city of love’ is even shaped like a heart, perfect for the way in which people think about this famous love story.
The city capitalizes on this and visitors can visit the Casa di Giuletta or Juliet’s house. While the city of Verona claims it is in fact the house of the famous, ill-fated young woman, all that seems to be known for sure is that the house belonged to a family called Capuletti. However, it’s fun to visit the courtyard to see the notes for Juliet and the balcony in which the famous scene of the play is said to have taken place. Visitors can also pose with a statue of Juliet, though many seemed to take the opportunity to do so in a vulgar manner.
Visitors can also pay to enter the house/museum but my friend and I didn’t consider it worth the entrance fee. You can climb up into another business inside the courtyard to get a higher view of the balcony and the courtyard down below.
It was interesting to see the wide variety of architectural styles around the city, such as these arches that look rather like those in Córdoba from when the city was part of the Arabic Al-Andalus kingdom. I tried to find out more about why this architectural style was used, as Verona does not share that history with Córdoba, but couldn’t find a reason. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see such a contrast between distinct types of architectural styles.
The food in Italy was of course delicious. I ate my way through many plates of pastas and pizzas, but the desserts oftentimes rivaled the main courses. There was never a shortage of sweet things (dolci) to try, and we sampled many tiramisus and other kinds of cakes. By the end of the trip I was craving fruits and vegetables after all the carbs, but we ate so much delicious food.
Verona’s history stretches all the way back to Roman times: the city became Roman territory in 300 BC. The Roman evidence is most clear in the Verona Arena, a Colosseum-style building built in 30AD that is still in use today as a site for opera performances! There are also ruins of an old Roman theater on the outskirts of town that visitors can pay to wander around in.
We only had one full day in Verona, but it was the perfect amount of time. We managed to see all the major sights, eat some delicious Italian food, and not feel too rushed for time.