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Verona: Our Wonderful Day In Verona

We wrote our experiences of Verona separately (for no particular reason)… so today, you get to experience Verona through both of our eyes in one short post!
Verona Map

Verona: Jonathan’s experience

To be honest, before going, I wasn’t that excited about going to Verona. I knew it was a fabled city because of the story of Romeo and Juliet, but didn’t know that Shakespeare’s story actually came from such a cool city. There are a number of things to see and do in Verona, but let’s get to the topic everyone would want to know about…

Did we see where Romeo met, courted, and eventually died with Juliet?


Here’s the balcony of Juliet
Juliet's balcony in Verona

The balcony of Juliet as it stands today is actually believed to be three sides of an ancient sarcophagus (read – built for a dead person), and the house of Juliet was actually the house of the family Capulletto (or something like that), so it’s unclear if Shakespeare was inspired to write his story because there was actually a “Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet” or, if he created Romeo and Juliet after hearing about or seeing the house of Capulletto. Anyway, maybe I’m too practical in wanting the story to be true before buying into the whole story and getting really excited about seeing the lives and times of the lovers, but in my estimation, it was a bit of an overrated attraction. It was fun to go and see nonetheless.

We didn’t see the tomb of Juliet (again, due to the fact that we don’t know if the story is true, and so there are more interesting things to see).

So what was so cool about Verona? Nothing in particular, AND everything about it really… It’s actually a city where people live, and have lives that aren’t solely based around tourists coming to the city (which was how we felt in Venice – which is still a nice city though), and has some really great attractions… including the arena (, which is like a smaller version of the Coliseum, but what’s really cool is that in summertime, it’s still actively used for plays and shows.
verona arena gladiators
How cool would it be to sit in an arena that was used in Roman times and actually see a show today, over 1,500 years later? (Personally, I think it would be cool to see a lion battling a person, like they used to do in Roman times, but maybe I only think that would be cool, and then once I saw it, I would think otherwise: probably a bit violent and gory to watch a lion mauling a person or vice-versa).

Verona is a city which has a beautiful compilation of churches and beautiful sights. There are three major castles, some very nice bridges, and neat little café’s and pizza places.

One of these places is called Redemptore pizza.

It’s called redemptore pizza because it’s built inside of an old church. Redemptore = redemption in English – Redemption Pizza.

While we didn’t actually eat at Redemption pizza, I thought that it would be funny if on the other side of town, there was a sinful pizza, so I asked Mara what the Italian word for sinful was.

Italian vocabulary: Picaminosa = (sinful)

The word is pronounced Pick – A – Me – Nosa

Carrie said, maybe that’s why it’s bad to pick your nose.

Because it’s sinful.

Anyway, you probably would have had to have been there, but it was very funny at the time.

Verona was truly an awesome city. One which comes VERY highly recommended.

Verona: Carrie’s experience

When Mara said that she wanted to take us to Verona, I wasn’t excited. I mean, I thought it would be cool to go, especially if a native recommends it (and it’s where Romeo and Juliet takes place), but I didn’t really know much about Verona. So I wasn’t excited, because I didn’t know anything.

When we got there (Verona is about an hour drive from where we were staying), our first stop was the arena. We’ve all heard of the Coliseum in Rome, and the Arena in Verona is similar. It was built around the same time, for the same purposes. It’s a bit smaller, and the marble it was made of wasn’t stolen (to build St. Peter’s Basilica). The biggest difference between the Coliseum and the Arena is that they still use the Arena today.
verona arena carrie and jonathan
During the summer it is home to the Verona Opera. How amazing would it be to sit here listening to an opera? FYI – these pictures do not capture the size of the steps. Each step is at least twice the height of our steps today, maybe more. So, climbing to the top isn’t fun on those thigh muscles, but the view is worth it.
verona arena

From here we went to see the fabled balcony of Juliet. Apparently people say that there was a family living here around Shakespeare’s time by the name of Capuleti, and this is where Shakespeare found his story. It was pretty fun getting to see Juliet’s balcony (which apparently used to be a sarcophagus), and seeing the statue of Juliet was nice too,
carrie and jonathan at the verona statue of Juliet

But seeing the myriad of love-note graffiti sprayed everywhere wasn’t quite as fun.

From here we went and had a lovely cup of cappuccino at an outdoor café. Then we were off to visit the cathedral. On our way we found this statue of Dante (author of The Inferno, and the man credited with unifying the Italian language). Jonathan is (apparently) a big fan of Dante and likes to pretend that he is Dante sometimes.
.jonathan next to Dante in Verona

The Cathedral in Verona was interesting. It was beautiful of course, but the interesting part was that there had been a church on that site for thousands of years. And there are parts of the old church that are still visible (you go through a hallway, down some stairs, around the corner, and then into another building, and you see (through the glass floor) the foundation and pillars of the first church built on the site, but all the while you’re walking through all the ruins of the several other churches that were built on top in order to expand the church).

From here Mara took us across the river so we could climb the hill to the castle.
Wouldn't it be awesome to live in one of these houses in Verona?

Looking across the river from a bridge in Verona

When we got to the top of the hill, we had the most amazing view of the city. We spent a lot of time up here admiring the view and had a lot of fun just hanging out.
verona city view from the hill

But Jonathan and Mara did get a little frisky.
jonathan kiss mara in veronaVerona: Mara kisses Jonathan
(Just kidding)

Then we walked back down and decided to grab a snack. Our snack turned out to be the best eggplant parmesean I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.

Next we were off to another castle in Verona. Along the way, we enjoyed a beautiful walk along the river. The castle was gorgeous!
verona castle at night
(Yes, Jonathan took that picture. Doesn’t it look like it could be a post card?)

This castle was our last stop in Verona. Next we drove back and went to a graduation party for one of Mara’s friends.

While I went to Verona not very excited, I came away with a much different feeling. Verona was my favorite place we went, and my favorite day of the trip. It was a city where people actually lived, worked, and led their lives. The city did not thrive on tourism (of course there is some, but it wasn’t overrun). Verona was a natural city. While we were driving back, and singing a silly song, the three of us were talking about where we could meet in the middle when Jonathan and I live in Verona. It is a beautiful city; the people are nice; it felt like home.

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