Thursday, September 10, 2015

Romantic Verona

We didn't mean to fall in love.  It just happened. I guess that's why they call it "falling" in love? But slowly and imperceptibly, Kevin and I fell under the spell of Verona.  How could we not, in this city of Romeo and Juliet?  

What explains our fascination, in part, may have been our arrival at night. Our first view of Verona was magical, as we viewed it by lamplight, when soft hues of rose, gold, and white bathed the buildings. It may also have been the fact that Verona is relatively small and easily walked, making it very approachable. But whatever it is that makes Verona special, it held us in its grip, making us feel just a little younger and just a little more open to possibility.

One of the first things we noticed about Verona on our first day was that its sidewalks are made of marble. We have visited many Italian cities over the years, but this was the first time that we remember encountering marble sidewalks.  (But then our memories aren't what they used to be.)  The marble tiles are worn, and some are repaired with concrete and asphalt, but many are in good condition, adding an elegance to this small city that you don't find in other locales.  It was also great fun to find a large number of ammonite fossils in the marble.  Many were over a foot in diameter and one grand-daddy (grandmom?) was a good two-and-a-half feet across!

Of course, we visited Juliet's house (Casa di Giulietta)  and saw the famous balcony, although this tourist sensation was created when the city of Verona bought the house of the Dal Capello family years ago, because of the similarity to the name Capuleti. Who cares if Romeo and Juliet are fictional if it brings more tourists to Verona?

Juliet was even on her balcony:

We wouldn't pay to see this ersatz tourist attraction. Instead, I took advantage of the free view from the shop next door. I did take a peek at the mailbox featured in the 2010 film, "Letters to Juliet," because I liked the movie, even if it was predictable.  Vanessa Redgrave is always worth watching, and sometimes you just want to watch something light and hopelessly romantic.

Juliet's mailbox

We enjoyed strolling the streets of Verona. The sets for the opera, "Aida," were outside the old Roman arena. (When we returned to Verona, later, after visiting Lake Garda and the Dolomites, we saw "Aida"-- but that's another post.)

There were little winding streets and Roman remnants everywhere.

And intriguing entries and alleyways wherever you turned. . .

Along with broader vistas:

You could say, in many ways, we felt like Verona was our town.

Note: My husband informs me I mixed up my photos. The two entryway shots are actually from Malcesine on Lake Garda! But trust me, Verona has lots of special little views too. And just to prove it, here are a couple of other shots from Verona:

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