Yesterday, I arrived in Verona in a rainstorm! I was exhausted with all the travel/transfers it took to get here:
- Milan Malpensa Airport to Central Train Station in Milan by shuttle bus (this ride took 2 hours due to heavy rains and traffic jams)
- Train from Milan to Verona (one and a half hour train ride)
- Taxi from the Verona train station to my hotel room
I only meant to sleep for a few hours, but turns out I slept for about 10 hours! I woke up once to the sound of thunder. At that point, I looked out my balcony and could see lightning and sheets of rain.
Woke up super early and begged the kind woman in the kitchen to serve me breakfast. I was starving after all that sleep! She was great and served me up a hearty breakfast with cappuccino. By 7 am, I was ready to roam this beautiful city of Verona! The clouds looked ominous, so I thought I better go get my umbrella. When I went to grab my key from the front desk, the handsome Giancarlo gave me a questioning look so I explained to him that I wanted to grab my umbrella from my room. “No, signora. Non c’e bisogno. Oggi non piovera!” (“No, signora. There is no need. Today there will be no rain!”) He said this with such authority, such confidence, his big brown eyes and kind face somehow so convincing and persuasive. So off I went without my umbrella. Twenty minutes into my walk, it started pouring. Have I mentioned that my middle name is “Sucker”? After 20 years of living in Seattle, I should know how to read a cloudy sky. Lucky for me, coffee shops were just opening and I slipped into one. To add to my humility, the old barrista scolded me and asked me where my umbrella was. I just ignored him and read my romance novel (my confession: I am reading a romance novel in Italian and love it!). After the rain let up, I ventured out into this beautiful city of Verona! My hotel, Hotel Trieste, is right outside of the walled city. It is a 30 minute walk to go from one end of Verona to the other.
Verona has the second most beautiful and complete colosseum outside of Rome (see below). There is also an amphitheater where outdoor theater is still performed! In fact, Verona is like a “bonsai” version of Rome. It is small, but packed with Roman antiquities, history, and art:
Fountain in the Piazza Bra’:
The old Roman bridge, Ponte Pietra, spans the Adige River. On the bridge are piles of locks that couples place as a symbol of their undying love of each other:
So, I have to say I had no idea how moved I would be by Juliet’s balcony! Here the sign says (under the graffiti and stickers) Casa di Giulietta at the entrance of her beautiful family home and courtyard:
The 12th century walls leading to her family courtyard are filled with mass love notes and love graffiti. Here is a couple writing their names on the wall:
The wall of love:
(I somehow can’t post these in a larger format so am posting smaller pictures). This sign below says in the old Italian of Dante’s time, “This is where Juliet Capuleti was born and died. Many come here to cry over her gentle heart. The poets sing of her love.” I wasn’t sure how to translate the word “usci” because I know its meaning, but not in this context, so I asked yours truly (the guy who told me it would not rain today) about the specific meaning of the word “usci” as used below…and guess what? He goes and tells me all about the story of Romeo and Juliette! As if I hadn’t a clue. I mean, who doesn’t know this love story? But I let him go on and on as he enthusiastically told me the entire story, and at one point, with tears in his eyes!:
The noble Capuleti family lived in this house since the 1200’s. Juliet’s family name comes from “Del Capello Family” and their coat of arms was a hat (capello means “hat”). See the coat of arms below. The tragedy of Romeo Montague and Giulietta Capulti was first written by Count Luigi Lo Porto in 1531. He based his narrative on events taken from the Veronese city chronicles from a true story that happened in the year 1303.
And here it is: the Gothic portal courtyard and the famous balcony where the lovers, Romeo and Juliet, secretly met:
And lastly, here is a statue of poet Berto Barbarani. He wrote of Verona in the 1800’s: Voria Cantar Verona “I would like to sing Verona’s praises.” I had never heard of him before, but I loved his statue and I understand the burning desire to want to sing Verona’s praises because it really is an unchallenged Mecca of romantic love.
Ok, off to call a taxi to get to the airport. Onward to Pantelleria! Hopefully, I will have WiFi connection there! If I don’t post any blogs, you will know why….