Google Need Another Holiday: In Fair Verona...

Thursday, 15 November 2012

In Fair Verona...

Although this is the city associated with the enduring love story of Romeo and Juliet, I have to say Verona played a little hard to get with me at first. Can I put my finger on why? Not really, but I think it had something to do with the weather.

Nowhere is as appealing as its potential when you arrive in rain that can only be described as torrential. And the first impression from the rather drab Porta Nuova station didn’t help either.  

But before you think I’m painting a sorry picture, rest assured that things looked up, mostly because once the rain stopped, I could look up, too. Then, once my eyes were drawn upwards, my jaw fell downwards, dropping in awe of this stunning city.

And just so you know that Verona did indeed seduce me, here’s a photo to prove just how beautiful it is.

Verona: Colourful, beautiful and really rather wonderful

When the rain stopped, there was  always something to look at. Worth bearing in mind too, that sometimes, it’s also good to look down. Especially when the streets are paved in marble! And only in Rome have I seen buildings so adorned with impressive and beautiful touches of history as they were here. 

I don't often photograph the floor, but then it's not often made of marble

I like places with history and Verona just oozes with it. The Roman Arena impressed me by its sheer scale. It’s not easy to describe the significance of visiting a place like this, or how stepping into it and into the past really makes you feel.  All those things you learned in school about the Romans start to seep out of the nooks and crannies of your brain, leaving you wondering what your childhood self would have made of such an amazing spectacle. 

Just a glimpse of the Arena gives me goosebumps

And although the arena somehow commands the city, these are not the only ruins. In fact I think I actually liked it best when we just stumbled across Ancient Rome, in the middle of the street.

Imagine this, under your street!

As well as the legacy of the Romans, Verona also beckons those searching for love to visit the House of Juliet. Although more the stuff of imagination than history, it's something you must see, so that you too, can join the legions of lovers who have stared with starry eyes at that famous balcony.

The inspiration for the "Juliet Baclony" of my first floor apartment. I can't say it really compares to this!

Much as I fell under Verona's spell, I’m not sure how much I’d have enjoyed a visit in the height of the summer season. Although it would have given me the chance to see the opera, I suspect strolling the streets would have been somewhat more of a challenge. Despite my best efforts, I admit I sometimes let battling the throngs of other visitors spoil my experiences, just a little. Especially when the temperature is soaring. 

But Verona in October, with it’s dwindling numbers of tourists, gave me the opportunity to get stuck right in to Italy. It gave me the chance to eat where the locals eat, where there was no English version of the menu. And it gave me the chance to walk among the super stylish Italian women in the Piazza delle Erbe market, toting their Louis Vuitton bags and waltzing with their tiny canine companions.  

This was where I found and fell, for real Italy.

Verona's statue of Dante

Travelling in the Autumn also gave us real value for money. For 80 euros a night, we had a first rate stay in a luxury B&B. And if you ate and drank in cosy back street places (always the way to go), refuelling was not the expensive experience many seem to expect in Italy. Two courses, dessert to share and a bottle of decent wine came in between 50 and 60 euros (even cheaper with a house carafe). Lunch time paninis and coffee cost us around 12.

Suffice to say, I'm happy to report that we came back with spare spends (which will give us a good start for the Munich Christmas markets next month)!

The most amazing cup of amaretto hot chocolate - for just 3 euros

So, should you go to Verona?

The city has so much to offer for a short visit and you can easily tie your stay in with visiting Lake Garda, either just for a day, or for a longer trip. It’s also an easy journey  from Verona to Venice by train.  So whether you spend all your time here, or use it as a base to explore the wider region, Verona is a great Italian city destination with great food and wine as well as amazing stuff to see. 

There are sightseeing tour buses, but the compact city centre is so easy to stroll around. And that way you get to see Verona's secret sights, which are really all around ( I'll post about them soon).

Verona won't disappoint you

I'd like to return to Verona one day, not just because it's beautiful,  but because I keep trying to imagine the wonder of the opera playing out in the Arena and I simply can't. I just get the sense that I need to see it and feel it. Even if it does mean having to join the summer crowds.

Then, maybe one day, I'll get to write about that too.

Have you been to the opera in Verona? Was it fabulous? Or do you have any other thoughts to share? Please use the comments to let me know!


  1. Verona does look beautiful!! I love that top picture you have there, I hope I'll get to visit next time I'm in Italy.

    Oh, and that amaretto... my goodness.

    -Pola (@jettingaround)

    1. Oh it was the best hot chocolate ever, you practically had to eat it with a spoon! A proper treat!

      I really enjoyed Verona - you must go at some point.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. I've heard many cool stories about Verona. It does look beautiful indeed :)I bet it wouldn't disappoint me :)

    1. You know, I only booked it because the flights were cheap as it was out of season, but I am so glad I went! It really was a lovely place to wander about!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I too have been charmed by the sensuous city of Verona; also under the cloak of rain. In June 2011 it was on a particularly auspicious evening, as it was the opening night for the opera Aida ( the rain was also making a spectacle of itself with a few blast of thunder and lightning, however it cleared in perfect time for the opening show) ~ it was then that I realized why booking accommodation in Verona was peculiarly such a challenge, even though I was booking clear five months early, ie. January. I frequented Verona once again in June of 2012, once again cleansed by a light shower, perhaps to wash off the industrial particulates of smog that one can not avoid when visiting Firenze. On both visits, I attended Ristorante Antico Caffe Dante in Piazza dei Signori, and enjoyed the mix of tourists amongst local diners, the stupendously delicious creations of the chef. In fair Verona all was "tutto multo bellissimo." Perhaps next time, I will have occasion to mix with the Italian designer dressed couples attending the opera, or be it with a picnic basket as local families set out to enjoy a night at the opening of Aida.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your Verona experiences! I'd absolutely love to visit again one day during opera season. I hope I manage it sooner rather than later. I'm sure it would be amazing!