Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Verona, Italy

Let's get the mushy stuff out of the way first.  Anyone who visits Verona without a trip to the legendary home of Juliet has missed half the fun.  We were there on a very cool, misty, gray day and the place was packed.  I can't imagine what it might be like on a bright sunny day.  Of course, everyone was very orderly.  As soon as you saw everything you came to see, touched everything you wanted to touch, and added your name and your lover's name to the wall, you were expected to move on.  Important to note this process was not usually quick. 

The pictures above are my tribute to Juliet:  her balcony, the street sign, and the little elf of a man who embroidered my apron with the words Dona, La Regina della Cucina.  The background is a close-up of a tiny portion of the wall reserved for graffiti.  You cannot imagine the many layers of writing.  I firmly believe that if it were possible to separate the writing from the wall, the writing would stand up on its own strength. 

Off to explore more of Verona.

We were lucky enough to be in town during Festo D' Autumno, a celebration that seemed to spread all over the downtown area.

Everything was fresh, home-grown, or homemade.

These were some of my favorite booths. Everything from copper pots, to cheese, to lavender and more than I can remember in between. The wood-working friar was irresistible. Had my suitcases not already been bursting at the seams, I would have bought something just to extend my conversation with him.

This display of natural dyes was fascinating. I wish I could have captured the colors better.

With so little time and so much to see, we walked away from the fair to explore more of the city.  Here are some of my favorites:

You might not think we were there long enough to have a favorite bar, but you would be surprised how quickly that can happen.  Here it is:

More favorites:

What a way to be buried.  Not exactly my style.

The church of Sant' Anastasia. Plain on the outside; fabulous inside.

Our favorite restaurant and our favorite church go hand-in-hand.  In honor St. Euphemia, the patron saint of Rovinj, we went looking for the church in Verona which bears her name and claims to possess some of her relics.  The church was closed, but the restaurant across the street served up a delicious dinner.  Unfortunately, it was far too cold to eat outside, but just knowing that beautiful garden was out there made everything alright.

Ten bridges span the Adige River as it makes a huge swoop through the city.  We had a favorite and I've even included some info I found on the Internet.  It brings to mind the bridge at Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as another example of the senseless destruction of war.

Ponte Scaligero

The Ponte Scaligero is a three-arch bridge that spans the Adige River. It was built in 1375 or 1376 for the Scaliger family who wanted to use the bridge as an escape route from the Castelvecchio to the river. The architect was most likely Guglielmo Bevilacqua. The overpass spans 120 meters and connects the city to the road that leads to Tyrol. It is one of the most photographed viaducts in the city and a popular transport path for pedestrians. As with many other structures, the original bridge was destroyed by the Germans during World War II. Fortunately, it was reconstructed in the 1950s using many of the original salvaged parts.
Unlike Venice, I believe I will put Verona on a list of places to visit as often as possible.  At least I would like to give it the same extended visit I gave Venice.  There were simply too many sights and sounds to absorb in a single day.