Wherefore art thou, Verona?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Okay so my Shakespeare English may be wonky but maybe some photos will make up for it. I hope you have a 'cuppa or an glass of wine in front of you because this one's a doozy!

Rach and I hopped on a sleeper train in Paris and 6 hours later, woke up in a whole new world. Well...country at least.

We picked going to Verona on a whim. It was on the way between France and Austria, and seemed like a good spot - gelato, pasta, the usual Italian drill. What we weren't expecting was one of the most gorgeous cities either of us had ever been to, I seriously wore my camera out. Another epic AirBnb score, we found ourselves on the top floor of an Italian apartment with an entire studio to ourselves, with rooftop views yet again. Staying in someone else's home may seem strange at first, but I urge you to give AirBnb a go if you haven't already - I have stayed at some absolute gems in my experience and for a fraction of what a hotel would cost.

^^ One of the views from the rooftop windows. Out of this world!

We had no real plan or set in stone things to see - we knew Verona was famous for Romeo & Juliet but that was pretty much it. After settling in and resisting the urge to lounge in our apartment all day, we took to the streets in search of the sights...and gelato.

Torre dei Lamberti, Verona's tallest tower which began its construction in 1172 turned bell tower in 1779. The two bells had their own meanings, one used to signal the end of the working day and the other to raise alarms in case of fire. Plonked right in the Piazza delle Erbe there's a handful of restaurants in the square as well as a bustling market.

While this fountain was built in 1368, the statue Madonna Verona dates back to 380 AD from the Roman era.

The Verona Arena, a Roman amphitheater built in 30 AD that could host more than 30,000 spectators in its prime. Nowadays it hosts concerts and operas - including Paul McCartney, One Direction, The Who, Whitney Houston, and many more.

The Scaliger Tombs, five gothic monuments in celebration of the Scaliger family who ruled Verona during the 13th & 14th centuries.

Verona Cathedral across the river.

The Casa di Giulietta (Juliet's house) was by far the most touristy place in the city. Lots of elbowing here and there, and the house wasn't even open for visitors yet! You can pay to go inside the 13th century house but most people use this as an opportunity to go out on the balcony for a photo - sorry to burst your bubble but this was actually added in the 20th century. While we love Instagram as much as the next guy, we saw the bits we wanted to see and were on our way. Located super central, definitely worth a visit for any Shakespeare (ok, Leonardo DiCaprio) fans.

San Giorgio in Braida, Roman Catholic church built in the 16th century.

Verona Cathedral up close and personal. Built 1187 and beautiful, but Rach and I were confused why this is the called the Duomo di Verona......where's the dome?!

Sant'Anastasia, completed in 1400.

WHEW! Still there? Here have some sugar, you need to keep your energy up...

Onwards into the evening we go!

The duomo at dusk....but really, where's the dome?

Sant'Anastasia again, a wee bit further away this time.

Time for pasta and wine, your scrolling finger earned it. Ok fine, and tiramisu. When in Rome Verona, right? This restaurant was located right in Piazza BrĂ¡, right next to the arena. Normally this could mean mediocre tourist food but we were well impressed with our meal! The service was great and the pasta was greater.

You win gold star if you made it through all of these photos - and this is just the tip of the iceberg from my camera. 1 hour from Venice and 2.5 from Milan - seriously y'all. Add Verona to your list of Italian getaways!

What's your favourite city in Italy? Have you ever been surprised by a less popular city?

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