Wednesday, March 19, 2014


The Stoic One and I said that we would take one over night trip a month away from Umbertide, in order to explore the country.  We believed that one of the joys in living in Italy full time would be our ability to easily travel throughout Italy and Europe.  The implementation of these travel plans is not as easy as you might think for two retired people, who have no other commitments except for watching Luca and studying Italian.  These 2 factors have proven to be more time consuming that we thought.  There is as well, a type of indolence that comes over us in our little town, tmaking it difficult to get the gumption to get up and go! We are trying our best to keep up with our monthly travel commitments (I know this sounds like a chore, but it isn't really.) Anyway, this month, we chose to visit Verona. We had never been there before, and it is an easy fast train from Florence, so it seemed like a good choice for the month of March. We spent 3 days on this visit and walked our little feet off.  We loved the town. do I begin?  It is a city in northeastern Italy with a population of around 250,000.  It is the 12th largest city in Italy, right behind Venice, which I am sure really ticks them off.  It is an old city with Roman ruins, interesting churches, and wonderful shopping and people watching.
In addition, there is the whole Romeo and Juliet thing, which the town does its best to market and maximize.  I have heard that you can sleep in Juliet's bed for 5,000 E. a night! Below is a picture of the famous balcony. Does it take away from its allure to know that it was actually added in 1936?  It is astonishing how real fiction can become in our minds. The power of stories should never be underestimated.

There have been many odd traditions that have developed around Juliet. People write her love letters, ( a topic of a very mediocre film) they rub the breasts on her statue expecting to receive good fortune in love. I am more than a little suspicious of this breast rubbing ritual!

Then there are the locks.

These locks are attached to a gate near the supposed Juliet house.  They are quite colorful, and I suppose they are a symbol of undying love.  That is a better explanation than thinking once we are in love we are locked together with no hope of escape!  Thank god for divorce, even in this country.

So off we went to discover the allure of this so called city of Love.

Verona is filled with bridges, and yes, lovers.

The river Adige runs through the middle of Verona, and the Stoic One loves photos of bridges, so here are a few more.

(Bridge without the lovers)

Verona is famous also for its Roman arena.  (Apparently the only Coluseum is located in Rome, but arena means the same thing.)  Italians being what they are, they use the arena every summer for their operal season.  I was sorry we were too early for opera, and it is definitely on our things to do next time.

Here is the arena.
It was originally built in 30 AD and was covered with white and pink limestone.  At its peak, it could hold 30,000 people. An earth quake in 1117 knocked down most of its outer wall, which was then "repurposed" in other buildings in the city.

There is of course, great food here.  Pastries made only in Verona and only this time of year.

Because spring is here, there were newly arrived fruit cups in the market.

Although there are many exceptional historical sites to visit, the Stoic One and I are both a little ADD so we pick one church, rent the video guide computer (which are excellent) and try to retain as much historical and theoligcal data as we can.

In Verona we picked the church of Sant'Anastasia. It was started in 1280 and finished in 1400.  Only 120 years to build.  Can you imagine Americans being that patient to see something done?  Anyway, it was origianally a Domenican church, Gothic style.  I was mesmerized by the inside.

For a little humor, or not, there are two statues at the front of the church that represent the burden that was placed on the townspeople in order to build the church.

Such honesty for the church to include!  It was somehow on this trip, that I let go of all my "church" expectations in visitng churches.  Being a former chaplain, I have always viewed these churches as houses of God and was annoyed at how unspiritual they are.  I finally go it, I know, I know, after only 60 years, that the point is the preservations of art and architecture for a point of time in history and only the Catholic Church was able to do that for us in Italy.  Ok, feels better to look at it as a museum like the arena.

Now about that people watching.
What was she thinking?  I have no idea.  I can tell you she was Italian, as if you had a doubt.

Fantastic high end shops.  The city seems very wealthy.  Well maintained.  Minimal grafitti.  It reminded me a bit of Disney's idea of an Italian town.  Lovely but....a far cry from my Umbria.  Do you think I am getting overly attached?

They also had some great dogs out on the walks. What fun.

Love the color coordination!


  1. Another great post Susan. I am becoming so melancholy again for Italy. We did get to Verona and my favorite thing to do there was people watch. They go around so uninhibited and could care less about other's opinions. And yes, that church is exquisite. Have fun!

  2. Hi Melanie, it sounds like you are overdue for your Italian fix! I really did love Verona.

  3. Susan, thanks for the lovely photos. It brought back many good memories of my visit to Verona a few years ago. Now I want to go back, grazie a te! Buona Primavera!

  4. Hi Marybeth, Thank you for the comments. The Veneto is very different than Umbria. We enjoyed our stay, but were happy to return home to the Green Heart.

  5. Hi Susan, I've not visited Verona yet. It's on my list. Looks lovely. The church is pretty unique. Loved the people and dog watching pics too!

  6. Can't wait for you to get here, so we can share in some of these adventures. Hope that the spring thaw has reached you.

  7. Ah, nice post! I was in Verona last September - this brought back wonderful memories. Great pictures! I too, like the animals pictures. Well, animals on their own four feet!

    1. Verona was such a surprise for me. It was more than I expected. I wish now I had taken more pictures of the clothes and dogs. Next time. Hope you get back soon.