Travels

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Grand European Tour Verona





Verona is one of Northern Italy’s most beautiful small cities and its packed full of awe-inspiring sites and things to do. It’s also consistently underrated and overlooked by travelers, who often skip it to hit Milan or Venice. But their loss is your gain – from the rich culture and beautiful architecture, to intriguing history and unique cuisine, there are so many things to do in Verona is gaining popularity as a base for people who like to spend extended vacations in Italy. Of course it’s also known as one of the most romantic cities in the world due to its association with Romeo and Juliet, but it has inspired more than just Shakespeare; many important people are associated with the town like Goethe who passed through in his travels, Julius Caesar who vacationed here, and Dante who featured it in his works and was even buried here.

What stands out about Verona above all else is its beautifully-preserved ancient, medieval, and Renaissance architecture. The city center alone has probably the best collection of Roman buildings in Northern Italy. This incredible inheritance won it UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2000 and continues to make it a must-visit for anyone interested in the cultural history of Europe. Its location nestled between the Alps to the north and the banks of Lake Garda to the south also makes it an ideal base to explore the region, especially for families looking for diverse experiences during a long vacation.
Perhaps the most impressive thing to see in Verona is the Coliseum-like Verona ArenaLocated in the main square of Verona, Piazza Bra, the arena is a beautifully preserved reminder of Roman rule. Slightly smaller than the Colosseum in Rome, Its construction actually predates the Colosseum by about 50 years, and unlike its more famous cousin, it’s still in regular use.
“O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” Ah, Shakespeare’s famous, tragic love story. Why am I bringing up an English play write when discussing the best of an Italian city? Because the minute you step foot in Verona, you’ll understand why Shakespeare chose this glorious city as the setting for his masterpiece. Located in Northern Italy, Verona is close enough to Venice that you can make it a day trip, or stop by on your way to or from Venice.

In search of a nice bar, we passed from the Roman to the medieval era, walking through the pedestrian streets inside the walls of the old town. What really hit us was that almost all the area is pedestrian, something that we haven’t seen in any other stops so far and that really made us enjoy the walk. We finally found streets full of people going for shopping, for an ice-cream or chilling at the bars with their Spritz.

While the others were looking at shop I raced ahead to Juliet’s house and balcony, then back to Piazza delle Erbe. This place has always been the heart of Verona: it is the oldest square of the town and lies upon the ruins of the Forum of the Roman town, it’s was the setting for the market and today. We took a while to breathe and continued the tour. We just had to make 20 meters at the back of the House of Municipality to get to another amazing square: Piazza dei Signori, with at its centre the statue of Dante Alighieri. The imposing statue made the Veronese people give the square the name of Piazza Dante. It’s another square built in medieval times and surrounded by monumental buildings. The very curious thing is that each of them is linked to the next through arches. In a corner of the square there’s maybe the most particular monument of Verona: the “Arche Scaligere”, monumental tombs in the open air topped by arches in gothic style. They were considered the most honourable burial for the illustrious lords of the Scaligeri family, who ruled the city in the 14th century.


We then headed back the way we come and had a quick bit and back on the bus. 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.





Northern Italy is full of beautiful towns and UNESCO World Heritage sites, and Verona is definitely on the top of the list of places to visit in Northern Italy. Located just a half hour away from Venice by train, it makes an excellent day trip! Still not convinced? Here are 7 of our favorite sights in Verona

Piazza delle Erbe.

By day, Piazza delle Erbe is home to a market (if one that sells mostly souvenirs and trinkets); in the evening, it fills with locals and tourists sipping Campari and enjoying aperitivi at the outdoor cafes. But no matter when you’re passing through the square, look around you! With its Renaissance-era palaces and lovely central fountain, this might just be the prettiest piazza in all of Italy

Arena of Verona

Built in the 1st century A.D., this amphitheater was Verona’s answer to Rome’s Colosseum (although actually, it predates the Colosseum by almost 50 years!). Still remarkably well preserved, today it’s home to Verona’s summer opera festival. (Check out our earlier post on attending opera in the arena of Verona!).

Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore.

This beautiful church dates back to the 4th century, although most of the current building was constructed between the 10th and 12th centuries. Other churches in Verona drew much of their inspiration from its early Romanesque style. Don’t miss the bronze door, with 48 elaborately-carved panels of scenes from the Bible, dating back to the 11th century.

Castelvecchio

With seven towers, a castle keep, and four separate buildings, Verona’s 14th-century fortress, Castelvecchio, is the city’s most imposing building. Today, it’s also home to a museum of art, sculpture, coins, and other artifacts, with a collection of paintings that includes pieces by northern Italian masters Mantegna, Bellini and Pisanello.

Porta Borsari

This ancient Roman gate, which once marked the southern entrance into Verona, is a great—and beautiful—example of the way in which ancient ruins are layered into the modern city of Verona.

Duomo of Verona

Verona’s main cathedral, or Duomo, is stunning. But don’t just see it from the outside: The interior of this 12th-century church is incredibly elaborate and filled with artistic gems, including a painting by the Italian master Titian.

Arche Scaligeri

Tombs don’t get much more elaborate than these! Just around the corner from Piazza delle Erbe, these five Gothic funerary monuments, considered some of the best examples of Gothic art in Itay, are hard to miss. They belong to members of the Scaligeri, who ruled Verona in the 13th and 14th centuries. Make sure you duck into the tiny, lovely church of Santa Maria Antica behind them.





5 comments:

  1. Such a fun post - awesome pics!

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  2. My aunt went to Italy a few years ago and enjoyed herself. She said it's definitely a place you need your walking shoes on not just to see everything but because of the roads. You had some beautiful pictures it is a place I would also like to visit. The history behind it alone is so interesting.

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  3. My husband taught ancient civilizations for a long time. It would be amazing to see these ruins. Beautiful!

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  4. So, when's the trip back to Verona? Opera sounds lovely!

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  5. Verona looks so lovely! I have always wanted to go to Italy.

    ReplyDelete


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Tony And Kim are Travelers, Adventurers, and Bloggers from Brisbane. Tony & Kim + Shari Outdoor Adventures has something for everyone to enjoy including what adventures you can have in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and Overseas. One thing’s for sure: once you start browsing our blog, you’ll be booking annual leave before you can say “bucket and spade”. While we don’t identify ourselves as writers, We've always been travelers. From a young age, we both were given the opportunity to travel and spend countless hours on family road trips & vacations to what seemed, at the time, distant places.We got our first taste of traveling as a couple in Palm Cove, Queensland on our Honeymoon and learned about each others same passion.We are not writers, so why blog? It’s a commitment to ourselves that holds us accountable. It’s the home for our Adventure Stories. We want this blog to inspire you, to inform you and to add fuel to your Wanderlust. We hope you’ll join us on this adventure!