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