Need Another Holiday: In Fair Verona…

Although this is the city associated
with the enduring love story of Romeo and Juliet, I have to say Verona played
a little hard to get with me at first.
Can I put my finger on why? Not really,
but I think it had something to do with the weather.


Nowhere is as appealing as
its potential when you arrive in rain that can only be described as torrential. And the first
impression from the rather drab Porta Nuova station didn’t help either.  

But before you think I’m
painting a sorry picture, rest assured that things looked up, mostly because
once the rain stopped, I could look
up, too.
Then, once my eyes were drawn upwards, my jaw fell downwards,
dropping in awe of this stunning city.

And just so you know that
Verona did indeed seduce me, here’s a photo to prove just how beautiful it is.

Verona: Colourful, beautiful and really rather wonderful

When the rain stopped, there
was  always something to look at. Worth
bearing in mind too, that sometimes, it’s also good to look down. Especially when
the streets are paved in marble!
And only in Rome have I seen buildings so
adorned with impressive and beautiful touches of history as they were here. 

I don’t often photograph the floor, but then it’s not often made of marble

I like places with history and
Verona just oozes with it.
The Roman Arena impressed me by its sheer scale. It’s
not easy to describe the significance of visiting a place like this, or how
stepping into it and into the past really makes you feel.  All those things you learned in school about the Romans start to seep out of the nooks and crannies of your
brain, leaving you wondering what your childhood self would have made of such
an amazing spectacle. 

Just a glimpse of the Arena gives me goosebumps

And although the arena
somehow commands the city, these are not the only ruins. In fact I think I actually liked
it best when we just stumbled across Ancient Rome, in the middle of the street.

Imagine this, under your street!

As well as the legacy of the Romans, Verona also beckons those searching for love to visit the House of Juliet. Although more the stuff of imagination than history, it’s something you must see, so that you too, can join the legions of lovers who have stared with starry eyes at that famous balcony.

The inspiration for the “Juliet Baclony” of my first floor apartment. I can’t say it really compares to this!

Much as I fell under Verona’s spell, I’m not sure how much I’d
have enjoyed a visit in the height of the summer season. Although it
would have given me the chance to see the opera,
I suspect strolling the
streets would have been somewhat more of a challenge. Despite my best efforts,
I admit I sometimes let battling the throngs of other visitors spoil my experiences, just a
little. Especially when the temperature is soaring. 
But Verona in October, with
it’s dwindling numbers of tourists, gave me the opportunity to get stuck right
in to Italy.
It gave me the chance to eat where the locals eat, where there was no English version of the menu. And it gave me the chance to walk among the super stylish Italian women in the Piazza delle Erbe market, toting their Louis Vuitton bags and
waltzing with their tiny canine companions.  
This was where I found and fell, for
real Italy.

Verona’s statue of Dante

Travelling in the Autumn also
gave us real value for money.
For 80 euros a night, we had a first rate stay in a luxury B&B. And if you ate and drank in cosy back
street places (always the way to go), refuelling was not the expensive experience many seem to expect in
Italy. Two courses, dessert to share and a bottle of decent wine came in
between 50 and 60 euros (even cheaper with a house carafe). Lunch time paninis and coffee cost us around 12.

Suffice to say, I’m
happy to report that we came back with spare spends (which will give us a good
start for the Munich Christmas markets next month)!

The most amazing cup of amaretto hot chocolate – for just 3 euros

So, should you go to Verona?

Definitely. 

The city has so
much to offer for a short visit
and you can easily tie your stay in with visiting
Lake Garda, either just for a day, or for a longer trip. It’s also an
easy journey  from Verona to Venice by
train.  So whether you spend all your time here, or use it as a base to explore the wider region, Verona is a great Italian city
destination with great food and wine as well as amazing stuff to see.
 

There are sightseeing tour buses, but the compact city centre is so easy to stroll around. And that way you get to see Verona’s secret sights, which are really all around ( I’ll post about them soon).

Verona won’t disappoint you

I’d like to return to Verona one day, not just because it’s beautiful,  but because I keep trying to imagine the wonder of the opera playing out in the Arena and I simply can’t. I just get the sense that I need to see it and feel it. Even if it does mean having to join the summer crowds.


Then, maybe one day, I’ll get to write about that too.

Have you been to the opera in Verona? Was it fabulous? Or do you have any other thoughts to share? Please use the comments to let me know!