It was a foggy day in Verona … then it was another foggy day … then the sun came out and Romeo & Juliet lived happily ever after. Not!
Having survived the Mad Max vs Thunderdome bus ride from the train station to the old town – things steadily improved!
Our hotel was damn fine – especially the couch! It was in the centre of things so that made it easy to see all the sites.
Highlights of the grand ol’ town include:
1) The Roman Arena (smaller version of the coliseum)
This Roman site was great fun. We had the place to ourselves – practically. When the other tourists did show up, we ruined their pictures by sitting in the best part of the arena while writing postcards! Yes, we are evil. (The beautiful sun made us do it!)
The steep climb to the top seats was a challenge – but worth it. From the top of the walls (where there is a puny railing stopping you from plummeting to far away street below) you could see a lot of the city. Only a few made it to the top for a look though (did I mention the puny railing?).
2) Castelvecchio (which literally means “old castle”)
There are three things we love about this castle. A) The museum layout lets you climb all over the castle – including the not-so-safe upper reaches. There were a few loose stones up there. Scary. B) After crossing the bridge attached to the castle we found Verona’s best park where vicious gulls physically abuse pigeons for bread. Hours of fun. We went back twice. (And you can eat your lunch there.) C) The last thing you have to remember is that there is the best pizza take away in the world just half a block away from the castle. It’s run by a friendly Sicilian – who doesn’t need tables to get people to eat his delicious food. Excellent prices include the charming host. Come for crab cakes and take away the calzones.
3) Teatro Romano di Verona
What’s appealing about this place is not the theatre itself – but its location because it is carved into the face of a cliff. You can climb all the way to the very top on Sundays because that is the only day they open the cloisters. What is really interesting is that the theatre comes first on the cliff then it is followed by a monastery which, in turn, is followed by a park. We actually climbed to the very top! (The lazy people took an elevator.) Our motto is the more you suffer the more you enjoy the view. Just kidding. Maybe. Not.
P.S. Of course we visited Juliet’s backyard … for you romantics …