Romancin’ in Verona

romancin’-in-veronaRomancin’ in Verona

By Lauren Barker

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, you are perched under a roof of vines, spooning into a heavenly Nutella tiramisu, coffee warm in the belly. It’s mid-autumn, the leaves are beginning to brown, sunlight dapples the cobblestones below. It’s the perfect time to visit Verona: the throngs of tourists have migrated home, the temperature affords long strolls along the Adige and the restaurant menus turn to hearty comfort foods.

As the imagined setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona sure knows how to woo a girl. Tourists gather below Juliet’s fabled balcony to worship love, write love letters on the walls – and sneak a hand onto Juliet’s left breast for good luck. It doesn’t matter that the story was fictional; romantics make the pilgrimage for the characters, for the very idea of love.

Follow the twists and turns of the Adige River for an ever-changing view of the city. You’ll find the ancient Roman stone bridge Ponte Pietra, and close by the famed Giardino Giusti. Created in the late 15th century, the garden’s terraced paths lead you past statues, fountains and hedges, ultimately arriving at one of the best vantage points of Verona. Gaze out at the terracotta-tiled horizon and soaring church spires. Staying north, the Roman Theatre and Archeological Museum are must-sees. Clamber over the ancient stone seats and admire well-preserved mosaics, frescoes and statues.

Back in the city centre, Piazza Brà boasts one of Italy’s largest amphitheatres, the Verona Arena, an incredible 2000-year-old structure that still houses operas in the summer. Wander the city’s marble streets and you’ll find Gucci, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana waiting for you. Sure, your purse may leave a little lighter, but those Italian leather boots aren’t going to buy themselves…

A few steps from Porta Borsari, the medieval Castelvecchio (Old Castle) stands guard. Inside you’ll find a museum with a fantastic display of sculptures and reliefs. The faithful can also wander the well-worn floors of a number of awe-inspiring churches, such as the Basilica di San Zeno and the Basilica of San Lorenzo.

Late evenings see lovers and families strolling Verona’s streets, where old fountains bathe in the golden glow of streetlights. Piazza Erbe fills with winers and diners most nights or pop by the student quarter of Veronetta for a purse-friendly €1 glass of wine.

The city centre is small enough to cover by foot, or if you’re venturing further afield, take the bus. Porta Nuova train station is located south of the city centre and connects with many destinations across Europe.

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