What a wonderful surprise Verona turned out to be. We knew it as the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. And had read it was a beautiful historic city but we didn’t realise just how special a place it is.
Our arrival was a little fraught as we had just picked up our hire car in Venice and were still getting used to driving a manual on the wrong side of road (for us Aussies). We drove through a most complicated one way system of tiny lanes within the ancient heart of the city centre looking for our hotel. Finally after a couple of false starts and frayed tempers we found it – in a tiny lane directly behind the Roman arena and the Piazza Bra. We checked in, dumped our bags and headed straight to the Piazza for a stiff drink to calm the nerves.
Sitting in the Piazza Bra looking in awe at the Arena di Verona (a 2000 year old Roman Arena) and watching the crowds pass by was just the remedy.
We explored the gorgeous medieval Piazzas of the old town (with us girls managing a quick look at some of the excellent shops) and were mesmerised by the beauty and history of Verona.
The beautiful frescoed Piazza Erbe led to Arco della Costa (or Whalebone Arch). Legend has it that the whalebone will fall on the head of the first truly just and honest person to walk underneath. Hundreds of years later it is yet to fall.
Brightly coloured buildings like this were found around every corner.
After our evening stroll we enjoyed a delicious pizza back on the Piazza Bra.
Our hotel, the aptly named Giuletta e Romeo Hotel lived up to its reputation for excellence. We had a family room, which was two bedrooms & a bathroom. It was really comfortable and quiet. The breakfast was really nice too. As was the morning cappuccino.
Sadly our visit to Verona was only a very short overnight stop.
Before we left we managed to have look inside the Arena. It was incredible to stand there knowing that it was built 2000 years ago. And it is still a working theatrical arena. A lovely surprise was the ice skating production that was busy rehearsing. All the visitors warmly applauded their skill but their coach just continued to shout at them as they tried to perfect their routines over and over.
From the top of the Arena the Piazza Bra looked lovely in the morning light.
We felt slightly overcome with the romance of fair Verona and vowed to return again. Top of my list for our next visit will be making sure we have tickets to see an opera or a concert in the Roman Arena.
Giulietta e Romeo Hotel – Euros 248 (including breakfast) for a family room / 4 persons
Arena di Verona Euro 6 per adult / Euro 1 per child with adults to 13 years
Verona is about 1.5 hours drive from Venice.
Verona Airport is serviced by a number of airlines.
Train via Trenitalia rail network