On this atmospheric October day all I wanted to do was curl up by the fire and read my endless Shantaram. Instead I turned on Letters to Juliet, a silly little love story about a girl who meets her soul mate in Verona. I sat and watched as she wandered the quaint cobblestone streets, drove through the rolling hills of the Italian countryside, and found the meaning of her life in Italy. It transported me back to my memory of Verona and it’s charming beauty. Today, I’m left with only a poignant memory, so decided I wanted to re-live Verona by writing this piece…
A city of pink-tinged limestone, Verona radiates a lovely effervescence. As romantic as Italy is in general Verona symbolizes a capital of love and the home of two of the most famous lovers ever known, Romeo & Juliet. Known as the second largest city in the Veneto region, Verona feels quite the opposite. With idyllic streets, picturesque plazas, magnificent Roman ruins, Verona is timeless and unhindered. Spend a few days in Verona to experience true beauty, art, and romance.
An impressive castle called Castelvecchio houses one of the finest art galleries in the Veneto. The exhibits within are brilliantly placed and hold some of the most intriguing renaissance and early medieval art. As you wander this incredible castle you can see views of the Adige River, the Ponte Scaliegero, and an amazing statue of Cangrande.
When in any given city I love to wander and roam aimlessly for hours at a time. When doing this you escape the rat race of tourism and experience the city like a local. Plazza Erbe is named after Verona’s old herb market. In the center rests a large, beautifully medieval fountain with men’s faces etched in it. Today stalls sell everything from herbs, to wild mushrooms, to fruit, to a large suckling pig and herbed- bread rolls. As I always say, you must visit farmer’s markets in any city, where you can get the most fabulous local produce, bread, cheese, vino, and make a fabulous picnic to enjoy beneath a fountain in a tiny little palazzo.
My favorite spot in Verona was Casa di Giulietta or Juliet’s house. The romantic in me is fascinated by this over-popular story of two star-crossed lovers. Yet, visiting the sight and so-called home to Juliet was quite poignant and special. The beautiful yellow stone and grand balcony on this old Verona building makes this tale so real and magical. You may also visit Tomba di Giulietta, or Juliet’s tomb, which lies in an atmospheric crypt below the cloister of San Francesco Al Corso. After you visit this touristy yet wonderful sight you must go to Giardino Giusti. This is one of Italy’s finest Renaissance gardens created in 1580. Lovely maze-like hedges surround beautiful marble statues of women in an enchanting secret garden.
As if you’ve stepped into a ancient villa full of collectibles, antiques, and art The Gabbia D’oro Hotel is surreal. It’s like you’ve walked into the finest vintage shop, this hotel is perfectly ecclectic. A five-star hotel and a budget breaker for many you must stay in this gem at least one evening to experience a romantic and magical experience. Verona has plenty of charming, typically Italian and reasonable little finds.
William Shakespeare was quoted, ” There is no world without Verona’s Walls”. Most would agree with Shakespeare in that Verona’s illuminates with beauty, surreal preservation, and a fairy tale romance..Verona is MAGICAL.