Verona - _55This lovely city in the Veneto region, Italy, translated into a nice surprise, above the expectations. No, not for being the immortalized city in Romeo and Juliet, or in the movie Letters to Juliet, indeed if you’re looking for that you’ll probably be disappointed, but, for being a city full of history, art and culture, and also with a calm, safe and beautiful environment!

Verona is an important commercial center and one of the most important cities in the north of Italy, and can be very proud of its wonderful Roman ruins, its amazing palaces, its arena that houses great shows and its churches.

We were in Verona for a short while, arriving in the evening, coming from another amazing city, Venice (see) and chose to stay a day in Verona, which is enough to do the essential and get to know this great city.

Verona - _41Verona seen from the Roman Theater 

We acquired the 24h Verona Card, at the time for 10€, nowadays it costs 18€, if you stay longer buy the 48h card, for 22€. I assure you it’s worth it, it includes almost every interest place and discounts in some others, it also includes public transports (ATV transports), although, in my opinion, you won’t need them! In Verona everything is nearby and you can visit many places in a day, and you won’t have to wait in lines.

The Verona Card can be acquired in information booths, or in the different places to visit.

Verona - _9Piazza Brá and Verona’s Arena

To start, let’s do a little travel to the past and get to know a bit of the influences that marked the evolution of this beautiful city.

The early city of Verona was founded by the Celts. Later, in 89, similar to almost the entire country, it was a Roman colony named Augusta. It was capital of duchies during the Lombard Kingdom and in 145 it was a colony of Benedictine monks.
Verona once held the artistic supremacy of the entire Italy, being the headquarters of a pictorial school, where Paolo Veronese stood out.

Later, in 1263, we have the most important family in the history of the city, the Scaligeri, who ruled Verona for 124 years.
Despite the troubled and unforgiving way they reached power, they brought peace and evolution to the city, mainly in the support of culture.

In 1387 the city was ruled by Milan’s viscount, followed in power by the French, Venetians and the Austrian, until the unification of Italy in 1866.

Verona - _28View from the Tower dei Lamberti

Verona is an elegant city, with charm, fine, I remember perfectly of thinking that I wouldn’t mind living in a place like that, a city with history and art, but also with glamour and elegance; something surprising was the fact of the population (men and women) being so well present, with so much care and pride, which is also noticeable in the city itself, I think the cleanest I ever visited.

I explored the city to the max while I was there.

We started by the Arena, a Roman amphitheater that was supposedly built between the centuries I and III, being the third largest in the world. It was the stage of gladiator fights, death by burning of 200 heretics in 1278, home of prostitutes between 1276 to 1310, medieval games and bull hunt. Basically, of pretty much everything!
Nowadays it is used for wonderful operas, concerts and important events.

Verona - _7Castelvecchio

Another place of interest in the city is the Castelvecchio, I advise you to see it in the night, and you’ll certainly be transported to a moment out of a medieval film.

Ordered to be built by Cangrande II between 1355 and 1375, this Castle is the home of Verona’s Civic Museum, offers a marvelous view over the Adige River and the Scaligeri Bridge. This medieval style bridge was also ordered by Cangrande II at the same time of the castle.

Verona - _54Scaligeri Bridge

Another important museum of the city is the Museo Archeologico, connected to the Roman Theater, from the I century, with a monumental view of the city. This museum, once a monastery, presents mosaics, ceramics and glassware exhibits around the cloister and in the former monk’s cells.

Verona - _46Roman Theater

The Theater itself is also of mandatory visit, being one of the most well preserved and integrated in the country; A unique monument of the history of our civilization.

Verona - _38Roman Theater

Although relatively calm, the city is full of life and each corner deserves to be observed. Verona is an open sky museum, I know I say this a lot about cities, but it’s true, I’m forced to repeat myself!

Verona - _52Piazza Brá

The city’s life is present in its amazing squares. From the wide Piazza Brá, location of the Arena, to Piazza Erbe, which name originated in the former vegetable market, we find a bit of everything, from the restaurants to the roasted suckling pig, fruits, mushrooms and a series of historical buildings! Palazzo Maffei, Baroque style, is one of those.

Verona - _6Piazza Erbe during the night with the closed markets

Ahead we have the Lion of Venice, a reference to the Venetian domain of the city in 1405. At the center of the square we have the fountain, from the times of the Roman Empire, reminding us this place is used as a marked for more than 2000 years, once this plaza was built in the place of the Roman Forum.

Verona - _30Dante at Piazza dei Signori

Still at Piazza Erbe we have the Tower dei Lamberti, go up, it’s totally worth it, not only for the view of the city, but also the amazing view over the Alps.

Another square worth of highlight, connected to Piazza Erbe by the Arch della Costa, is the Piazza dei Signori, also filled with art: right in the middle a statue of Dante (who dedicated the final part of the Divine Comedy to Cangrande I). Then we find two palaces, Palazzo del Capitano – former palace of Verona’s governor, and next the Palazzo della Ragione – Court, both from the XIV century.

And, also in the plaza, Loggia del Consiglio, or council chamber, with statues of notable Romans born in Verona.

Verona - _29View from Tower Lamberti

Concerning churches, as you know, the Italian never leave Religion to chance, so, in Verona we find beautiful examples of sacred art, among which I highlight the Duomo and the San Zeno Maggiore.

Cattedrale Santa Maria Matricolare, or simple Verona’s Duomo was initiated in 1139 and it stands out for its Romanesque architectural style. One of the most important spots is the sculpted porch by Nicholaus, who was one of the sculptors of the, also magisterial, San Zeno Maggiore. On the interior, highlight to the Assumption, by Titian, 1535-40.

Verona - _50Verona’s Duomo

As to San Zeno, built in 1120-38, one of the most important of Verona, holding the sanctuary of the city’s protector; it also is one of the best Romanesque examples, and most ornamented, in the north of Italy.

Verona - _49Verona’s Duomo

By now you must be wondering why I haven’t talked about the mythical Casa di Giulietta yet! Well, maybe because I want to show you that Verona is of mandatory visit not necessarily for that reason, but for being a wonderful city, full of history.

Verona - _25They say it gives good luck to touch Juliet’s breast

I also love Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, I also enjoyed the movie Letters to Juliet, but it’s all a myth, what I really love is history and past, told with veracity.

So here we go, for starters, the history of Romeo and Juliet was first written by Luigi da Porto de Vicenza in 1520, with the name Newly found story of two noble lovers, inspired in the novel Mariotto and Giannozza written by Masuccio Salernitano. Da Porto is known for introducing several elements in the plot that were later used by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, one of his most known stories.

Verona - _24The balcony at Juliet’s House

Keeping up with disappointment: it’s a story, the love between those two members of two rival families like said in the book is not real, and therefore, Juliet’s house also isn’t! It’s a pension from the XIII century, restored and nowadays with a mythical balcony that’s supposed to be the one Romeo climbs to kiss his loved one!

Of course if we can put our realistic views aside, we can always believe what we want, there are those who say the Capulet’s and Montecchio’s existed and were indeed rivals, and two of their members fell madly in love. I see things in the real way, but I confess that once in Verona you can put that vision aside and fall into the enchanted world of the tragic and eternal romance!

Verona - _20Piazza Erbe seen from Juliet’s House

Another important note, if you’re looking for Letters to Juliet, keep in mind that the part where the main character puts herself in front of the house observing people putting letters to Juliet into the cracks on the wall, and someone goes collect them, it’s a lie! There are no cracks large enough for putting letters in the wall, let alone to having someone pick them up!

What you’ll find out is a wall at the entrance to Juliet’s House that contains many messages written by people all over the world.

Verona - _16

So, believe me, although this touristic spot having caused thousands of tourists to go to Verona, it’s not, by far, one of the most beautiful in the city. However, you are on vacation, travelling, getting to know places, so be happy and imagine the love in its most perfect and tragic way! Those who believe and dream are always much happier!

Verona - _37

To those who besides walking around town also enjoy shopping, Verona is a great place for that. Like I said it’s a city full of glamour and elegance and that is well present at Via Mazzini, filled with the most desired brands.

Verona - _58Gelateria Savoia

This Piccola Roma (little Rome), as it was referred to during the Roman period, is an authentic charm, a small city with a lot to find out, with a history worthy of studying and with a civility and elegance that should be present in all the cities in the world.

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Versão Portuguesa

Text: Cíntia Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

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