After visiting the top of the Duomo in Florence today, we traveled by bus for three hours to the historic Verona for the next part of our trip. I was not familiar with Verona like I was with the other cities we have visited, so I was curious to see what the town had to offer. Needless to say, I was once again blown away by the historic landmarks and beautiful scenery that surrounded me. Verona was much different than the other cities we have visited so far, but there were also a few commonalities I had found that Verona possessed, specifically with Milan.
I found Verona to be much more suburban than areas like Milan and Florence. Milan reminded me a lot of Oakland, a quick paced and fast moving city environment. There were cars driving back and forth everywhere, and there was traffic and public transportation, like trams and taxis, everywhere. Meanwhile, Verona was much more calm and contained much less traffic. The most busy area was walked only by foot, and it appeared that the buses were only allowed to approach from the outside. In addition, Verona has a much older history than Milan. In Milan, most significant historical events and occurrences happened after the 1200s, whereas Verona’s history begins before Jesus Christ. This can be seen in the ancient design and even the amphitheater in the middle of the city. Verona has historical details from the Roman Empire, which was specifically interesting to me due to my background knowledge of the Roman Empire from Latin. Another interesting detail about Verona is how to see the distinct differences between time periods. It was very easy to tell based on just windows what time period that building was expanded upon or remodeled. In addition, Verona was designed to keep out the barbarians and attacks during the Roman Empire, and had a huge wall and gate on the side of the city that didn’t have water to protect themselves from these potential attacks. In Milan, everything was open and there were no remnants of structures designed to keep people out. It was interesting to see Verona’s deep historical past that did not seem to go back as far for Milan.
However, both Milan and Verona had several similarities. For example, it appeared as though both cities emphasized and utilized the idea of changing and building upon, but never destroying. For example, as I had mentioned before, many of the town homes in Milan were bombed during the Second World War. Because of this, the homes were built with a variety of brick and therefore had variation in stone/brick patterns. Similarly, Verona’s buildings could be added upon with different material but the same Roman stone walls as the base of the home were kept and preserved. Both Milan and Verona also had a plethora of shops throughout the town, and both help wealthy and reasonably priced shops for every shopper’s needs in mind.
The global and national environment have also taken a toll on Verona. There are a select few locations, such as the parking garage we had passed, that had the historic land destroyed for “technology” (i.e. cars). I found it interesting that they allowed this to be done in the 60s, due to how important and historic the buildings truly are. Some interesting social factors include the idea of how one owning property cannot and should not destroy parts of the building, but rather rebuild and add on. This can create a social divide and a stigma around completely remodeling or changing houses. There is a social influence that the citizens exert on one another that limits them from changing their home too drastically, for fear that they will face judgement for their actions. An important environmental factor is how the weather has affected the mosaics in the city. Meanwhile, building a huge wall and gate around the city was a bold political statement at the time, by telling anyone on the outside to stay out.
Verona’s unique and extensive history allowed me to gain an even greater appreciation for the city and surrounding region, and excites me to see how much more the city has to offer!