Roman entry to Verona

Roman entry to Verona

We got up early this morning (7/20/13), left Venice, and headed for Florence by way of Verona. Since it’s a around a four hour drive, this took us on a lovely trip though all kinds of Italian scenery—mountains and plains. At least, it was lovely when I could enjoy the scenery instead of watching the road and crazy drivers. While Austrian highways had a definitely order to them, Italian highways, in addition to having exorbitant tolls (32 Euros to get here+10 Euros in Austria), are more like driving on an American highway. You essentially choose a lane based on how fast you want to go. Occasionally, like on one round about, you simply create your own lane.

The Roman Arena

The Roman Arena

We finally arrived in Verona, found parking for 2.50 Euros an hour in the Cittadella Parking, and headed into Piazza Bra by the large Roman Arena. This arena was built in 1 A.D. and is still used for concerts in the area. I’d expect that’s Amazing! Once we got our bearings, we headed down to the Erbe Piazza (Market Plaza), which had beautiful artistry and amazing shops. We bought a few souvenirs and were surprised they had items from Venice as well. Because of its rich Roman history, walking through the Roman area is like a scavenger hunt. In the midst of new stores, there will be a little touch that reminds you you’re walking around in an area that is millennea old.

Casa di Giulietta--The real view

Casa di Giulietta–The real view

Then, we were off to Juliet’s house. Unlike it appears in Letters to Juliet, the plaza is tiny and teeming with visitors. It was rough to get a picture without people in it, but we managed. It does also have a post box where you can send a letter to Juliet, and like in the movie, you will get an answer. (I’ll let you know when ours comes 🙂 ) While I understand this is the quintessential tourist trap, it really is an amazing spot, and I appreciate the artistry that has gone into making this a spot people want to come. If you watch the special features on Letters to Juliet, there’s an amazing section on the evolution of this house, bought by the government in 1905 from the Cappello family.
The idealized view

The idealized view

The balcony was added in 1936 by Ettore Solimani who was the original Secretary to Juliet. He started responding to letters left there, and the rest is history. In addition to being the custodian at Juliet’s tomb for two decades, he organized the renovations, added the balcony from pieces of an old sarcophagus, added a rose window and arched doorway, planted rose bushes at the tomb, and even trained turtle doves to land on visitors shoulders. He sounds like an amazing man who thoroughly enjoyed his job.

Tomba di Giulietta

Tomba di Giulietta

Once Juliet’s house got too claustrophobic for us, we headed along to Juliet’s tomb. While this was a long walk–much longer than it looked like the map–but it was another amazing little corner of Verona. We looked around the courtyard, since by this time we were running late to get to Florence on time, ao we opted not to take the museum tour. Then, we made the fast trek back to our car. Verona is definitely somewhere I’d like to visit when I have a bit more time.

After another long drive and interesting drivers, we made it to Florence. We were greeted at the door by the owner of the apartment we’re renting for the week. This is a beautiful area, and I think we will enjoy our stay. After she explained how everything worked in the apartment and took care of all of our paperwork, we settled a bit and headed out in search of dinner. We met some ladies along the way and followed them to the restaurant area (at a casual stroll pace instead of the normal Indy 500 pace we’re used to walking). We’ve come to realize that for most of Europe, there isn’t a big hurry to anything (unless you’re driving). So, we enjoyed a long dinner, met some incredible Swedish people who gave us some suggestions of sites to see, and made it home (about 2 1/2 hours after we left…)

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