Today we took a three hour bus ride over to Verona. Once we arrived in the city, we were given a wonderful tour that showed us all of the major places in Verona. As we were driving in the city reminded me a little of New York with the style of building and the park that reminded me of some there. Once we went on the tour I felt very different and I was immediately reminded that we were in Italy. The city is very different than some of the other cities that we visited and especially Milan.
In Verona, it is said that every building and every house, in some sense, is a museum. This is because the city has done a lot to preserve the architecture of the city. They have various styles such as Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance. Department stores, homes, and restaurants all have to work around the old architecture and buildings, while still using it today. For example, there was a pizzeria that we passed that was actually converted from a church. The church couldn’t be taken down and rebuilt even though that might be more practical because the church is a monument and it is of the past and will remain as it was. Te same was true of a department store that we passed that had roman ruins in the basement of what seemed to be an Italian Macy’s equivalent. The whole city seems to have to be working around this while still trying to maintain a modern lifestyle. This is very different than Milan.
In Milan it seems like there are certain parts of the city that are older, such as by the Duomo, and then there are modern sections such as downtown. Albeit, there are older buildings downtown, Milan is willing to make new buildings and expand itself in order to be a modern city. That’s probably how Milan was able to become the business capital of Italy, referred to as the New York of Italy. Rather than having to work around buildings and keep things as they were, in Milan a lot of the history is just kept, but the rest is modern. The Duomo, the paintings, and the sculptures of Milan are kept as memories of the past. Normal living areas have been changed. One reason this might be so is because a lot of the city was destroyed in the bombings during the war, so much of the older architecture is already replaced.
One reason Verona might be trying to preserve everything is because they might not have as much spectacular buildings or art such as the Duomo, so they try to preserve as much as they can of what they do have. Because so many different styles are kept it’s incredible to see each era’s buildings next to each other and sometimes even on the same building that had been renovated throughout the ages. Because Verona does this, it can’t be as much of a business capital of Italy because there’s too many things that cannot be changed. It also isn’t as easy to live here. You can’t just change a window because you don’t like how it is or how it looks. You have to leave it as it is. You can change the inside, but you aren’t allowed to change how it is on the outside in most places. Because of this, it’s less for Italian business people and more for tourists. Tourists like to see the older history and culture of the cities rather than seeing just normal business places. Because the local businesses know this, the business here is more of trattoria, osteria, and ristorante. It’s more about eating, drinking, and fashion here in Verona than it would be if the city were like Milan. It wouldn’t be possible to have a stock exchange in Verona. There would be too many hoops to jump through, which is why the business doesn’t establish itself here. The city also can’t have an underground transport system since there are Roman ruins underneath the entire city. Additionally, there are so many people walking the streets and the streets are extremely narrow, so navigating the city by anything other than walking is very difficult. These core differences are what make it so that Verona is completely unable to do what Milan is currently doing. They’re different places that serve different purposes. Either way they’re both uniquely Italian cities that do their part in making Italy what it is today.