Verona… The city of Romeo and Juliet. It must be something truly wonderful and romantic, buuuut…
Verona is the very typical Italian city. Narrow streets, ancient balconies with colorful flowers, gigantic carved wooden doors, pretty squares and Italian loud and lively voices. And tasty food, of course. This town immediately makes you think about the times of the late renaissance and Shakespeare even if you never read the tragedy.
We arrived in the late morning, and conveniently parked our car in the Arsenal square, just outside the old town center. From there, it’s a short walk crossing the beautiful Castelvecchio Bridge to get to what’s probably the second most famous landmark of the town: the Roman Arena!
After spending a bit of time roaming the square and admiring the amphitheatre and the surrounding buildings, we continued our walk through the crowded Via Mazzini, the town’s main shopping street, and arrived to Piazza delle Erbe, a beautiful market square lined by medieval and baroque edifices.
There is even a mysterious bone hanging from an arch. Most people believe it’s a whale rib, but nobody actually knows where it came from and why someone decided to put it there, only that it has been hovering above the heads of people for at least two and a half centuries.
And while in the square, how could we skip the old Torre dei Lamberti, the tallest tower in Verona? It’s worth to climb the 279 steps to get an impressive view of the town. The whole city expands below of you, with its red clay roofs, tiny people in the square and the Arena in the distance.
The ticket to the tower (actually, it was a coin like in St. Petersburg’s metro) also gave us access to the Museum of modern art, but we didn’t go there and chose to walk around uncrowded streets and cozy alleys instead.
By the way there is an elevator in the tower, but we decided to go up on our own legs, otherwise how to burn all the calories you get from the amazingly tasty pasta, freezing granite and refreshing gelato? Last year we had a trip around Italy and we climbed 414 steps in Giotto’s bell tower, 463 in Florence’s Duomo, 500 in Milano’s Duomo and 551 in the basilica of St. Peter in Rome. So yes, walk and climb, ragazzi!
What were we talking about? We miss something. Certo! Where is that very house? As we arrived to the famous house of Juliet, the great disappointment of the day was waiting for us. The small courtyard was so crowded and all the walls (almost all, only the side with Juliet’s balcony got spared) were covered with tons of band-aids and chewed gums (come on, is it New York?) on which, we’re guessing, loving couples write their names. We’ve even seen a couple of pads on one wall (Ma perché??? 😖). So lovely, isn’t it? Probably Romeo never thought about this way of communication with his sweetheart.
We decided to turn back after trying to navigate between all those people waving selfie sticks and witnessing how they tried to take photos with a poor statute of Juliet, while rubbing its boobs like a magic lamp.
But enough of this. After all, we spent an amazing day in Verona, walked around old town, ate homemade pasta at Bigoi Verona, and the cherry on top was the deviation we took from our city trip, to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.
This Sanctuary is hidden from strangers’ view inside a rock wall. It took around one hour to reach this beautiful place. Among the few tourists there were mostly old people and no one of our age, probably because this place is known as a place for prayers and we’d say a perfect place for prayers.
On the way to the church you’ll find statues representing scenes from Jesus’s life with an amazing nature background, cliffs and rocks, forests and wild flowers, which just cannot leave you indifferent.
Some more steps down, a couple more turns and a rock tunnel and there it stands, the peaceful Sanctuary. A rocky cliff rises above it, forming one of the church’s walls. Shift your gaze from the face of the Sanctuary to the right and you will see a tranquil yet breathtaking landscape of the valley below.
You will not find big golden icons or granite columns; this place instead impresses you with its simplicity and harmony with nature. It is, indeed, the perfect place for meditation.
NASTYA: The story about Verona and its surroundings is coming to an end, but there is one more thing to tell.
Sometimes we find ourselves in very weird, ridiculous and hilarious situations.
This is one of them.
In the late evening, we arrived to our hotel near the town of Brunico and luckily enough we found a nice place to have dinner. It took a while to find an open restaurant or even just a bar. This region, Trentino Alto Adige, is just south of Austria and this may have an influence on Italians (whose first language can apparently be German) so that they eat earlier than normal. Once we filled up our bellies with a tasty Italian dinner, we came back to our cozy wooden room to rest after the tiring day of non-stop walking, took off our shoes and…
“I feel a strange smell”. “Yes, Nastya, your shoes stink”. “No, it’s impossible, my feet NEVER smell bad”. “Wait, only one of the shoes stinks. It smells like cat piss”.
BLYAT! Damn it! Gandalf, one of Edo’s four (!) cats, must have peed on one of my shoes during the night.
Of course, at first this was VERY upsetting news. I washed and scoured my poor shoe, but it didn’t help much. Then I thought about the great day we had and realized that nothing could have made me feel unhappy in that moment. Besides, for the next two days I needed some heavy trekking artillery. What for? Stay tuned and check out the next post!
PS: Comunque, writing this post a week after the trip I started to understand that nature has its own unexplainable magic and sometimes it’s so much better than city tourism.