Friday, 24 February 2012

In fair Verona, where Shakespeare laid his scene...

We found a quiet, pretty town with all the charm to inspire the most epic tragedy that Shakespeare could ever have wanted. To us, Verona was everything that Florence had been lacking. Tree-lined walking paths beside the fast-flowing river, making it one of the few rivers we've come across in Italy that is actually pleasant to stroll along. Thee are plenty of the interesting, winding alleys, usual to Italian cities, but there are also plenty of open squares with public seating and greenery - a rarity from what we've experienced.

The town is also surprisingly full of things to see, but without the massive crowds of bigger cities. Our visits to the roman theatre and arena were almost eerie as they were each practically deserted. The arena didn't seem much smaller than the Colosseum and it is in much better repair. It's actually used as a venue for opera in summer - I imagine the acoustics would be amazing for any kind of concert.

We also took a trip up the Lamberti Tower, a beautiful bell tower located within the centre of the old part of the town. The views of the town and distant hills and mountains were spectacular.

We also visited the (obviously fake) Juliet's house where we witnessed once again Italy's love of graffiti. The walls in the gateway of the house were absolutely covered in graffiti, and just inside the gate is a sign - 'penalty for defacing the walls - one year's imprisonment or over 1,000 euro fine. Obviously, it's well policed. The house itself was a bit of a let down. It was supposed to be set up like a house of that period but in reality it was almost empty. Also frustrating was that all of the information was in Italian. Of course, we're in Italy, and that's to be expected, but you would think that as the house was based on one of Shakespeare's greatest works, they would also provide information in English.

The church of Santa Anastasia was beautiful. I found it surprising that a church in a smaller town was decorated as spectacularly as the famous churches in much bigger cities. The inside of the church was actually more impressive the inside of the Duomo in Florence, which is much more famous.

Verona is a truly beautiful place, and no visitor to Italy should miss it.

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