Before the Plus 3 Italy trip, the only Verona I had been to was the one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am glad to say that is not the truth anymore, as today was my first day visiting the beautiful town of Verona. After some time in both Milano and Verona, I have made some observations in comparing the two.
Let us begin with the few similarities these cities share other than the fact that they are both in Italy. Both Milano and Verona has various European influences throughout their architecture and history. During our walking tour in Milan, I remember our tour guide mentioning how Milan fused some other European architecture like French Gothic with its Italian style to form a unique style, as Milano was ruled by several empires (including France) for a bit before it was officially declared Italian. Our tour guide today also mentioned that Verona has French Gothic, Renaissance, and Roman Baroque influences as well. Another similarity between the two cities is that they both contain water canals throughout. As I strolled throughout the streets of Verona, I noticed many colorful buildings, and I also remember seeing many colorful buildings throughout the neighborhood streets of Milano. The last similarity I observed between the two cities is that they both have a significant amount of tourists. Though they are not as tourist concentrated as Florence, they both have visitors throughout the year.
Now to he differences between the two cities. Milan is much larger and more modern than Verona. Skyscrapers and a Metro system speak as a testament to large capacity of people that Milano holds. The fashion industry fuels a great deal of the Milanese economy. Verona, on the other hand, has only cars and vespas to transport any people around the city, however because of its small size, most people can walk to get to the places they need to. Verona seems to have deeper historical roots, as our tour guide showed us several remains of ancient Roman ruins on the streets and even in the basement of one of the retail stores. Though both cities host many tourists every year, the amount of tourists in Milan exceeds the amount of tourists in Verona. In Verona, it seems like only the main streets in the center of town get congested. The pace of living in Verona seems much slower than in Milano. In Milano, it seems like everyone is always on their way to get somewhere important, but in Verona it feels very relaxed.
Italian culture and American culture have some differences that I have experienced throughout the trip so far. As I interacted with the Italians, I have found that they have a different way to do things than I do as an American. For example, I have found that when dining at restaurants, it is polite to eat all the food on your plate, no matter how full you may be. How do I know this? One night when I was out at a restaurant with some friends we realized that none of us could finish our gnocchi. It is not that we did not like the food; we were just very full, so we did not finish everything on the plate. As our server took the plates with food on them back, he asked us if we did not like the gnocchi. We felt bad, but we explained that we were extremely full and we actually enjoyed it greatly. The next night at our restaurant, I made sure to eat all the food on the plate so that our waiter felt as if I really enjoyed the food (because I really did) as indicated by the empty plate. It seems as if Italians are always a little bit late to things. Every time our tour guide planned a time for us to meet, we all ended up being there together a couple of minutes later than that, and it was not addressed as a serious issue. Foreigners in Italy are treated nicely in general. For most of the time, the waiters and store workers I have interacted with have been very warm and kind. They like to ask me where I am from, and I appreciate their interest and courtesy. As I have not only researched but witnessed, Italians take faith (Roman Catholic), family, and food very seriously. Churches seems to be around every corner here, and families and couples are often seen strolling the streets affectionately. The food here is wonderfully fresh and delicious, and the amount of food we are expected to consume at restaurants is quite challenging to conquer at times. As far as living conditions go, most Italians live in apartments, as there are very few houses available in Italy. The economic and political situation here seems stable at the moment, as many tourists provide money for the cities. I could not tell you what Italians think when they see Americans on the street because I cannot read minds, but it seems as if they are complacent to share the beauty of their country with the rest of the world.