I must admit that I am a hopeless romantic when it comes to Italy. It seems that this wonderful country is caught in a time-warp and Sheila and I are among the lucky few to have been able to step through a time portal. This is certainly the case for Verona, Italy.
Mind you, “popular” Italy is overrun with tourists, but if you travel during the right season and seek out destinations somewhat off the beaten track you will be rewarded with a magical experience that is often difficult to replicate.
I will writing more about our recent visit to Ossana in the stunning Val di Sole with our good friends Anna and Claudio, but I did want to take the opportunity to comment on Verona, while it is still fresh on my mind.
Verona is a popular visitor destination, but less so in the middle of winter. Nevertheless, Asian tourists toting selfie sticks have largely replaced Americans beneath Juliet’s balcony. I can only surmise that the “love-life” of Asians is far more complicated than that of Americans. Presumably, “gringos” find it easier to tweet their “love” frustrations rather than drop a love note to Juliet. Of course, maybe self-adulation by those on social media does not require Juliet’s help. After-all, she was only 14 years when she took her own life.
Now, Sheila insists that Romeo and Juliet is fiction. Personally, I opt for Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” or “poetic license” (for those of a liberal persuasion) to capture the majesty of a medieval love tragedy. In any event, both sides of the political spectrum are all greatly enriched by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and the wonderful ballet music of Prokofiev, particularly “The Dance of the Knights.” As Karl Marx was prone to say, “Politics is theater.” (actually, the quote is from Harvey Milk, a San Francisco politician who met an untimely death).
Walking around the historical district of Verona is like strolling through an architectural museum as if you were a Capulet or a Montague. The streets are pretty much deserted after 7:30 p.m., but I would strongly recommend an initial visit to the Arena, which is in Piazza Bra just on the southern outskirts of the historical district. Our SMALL room at Hotel Bologna overlooked a corner of the arena.
From the arena you walk north into the historical district. Fashionable people (mink coats are optional) will take Via Mazzini, which runs into the eastern end of Piazza delle Erbe. Piazza delle Erbe is a delightful town square featuring eclectic architecture, a market and several bistros and restaurants where you can watch people watching other people. Found below is a short video of Piazza delle Erbe that I found on YouTube.
If you want to explore the magic and wonder of Italy, I can think of few better places to start than Verona.