Today we arrived in fair Verona! To make the experience even better, we had a beautiful day with a cloudless sky. Verona is much smaller than the other cities (with a population of 260,000) we have visited and is unique all on its own. Verona was founded by the Romans in the first century before Christ. Much of the architecture reflects this. Today we got to see and touch original roman bricks as well as an original roman road. An original mosaic floor was located and persevered in the basement of a clothing store. It was only discovered four years ago! The city itself has a much older feel to it. That feeling itself is a huge difference between Verona and Milan. Milan is very modern, with tall skyscrapers and shopping malls. When I first got to Milan, I did not feel as much of a culture shock as I expected. Verona on the other hand is how I pictured Italy. The cobblestone streets and colorful homes radiated a warm and safe feeling.
Something interesting about Verona is that it was taken over by Venice, France, and Austria. Some of the architecture reflects this and its history. When Napoleon arrived, he closed many of the churches and now one of them is a pizzeria! On the side of one building is the remains of a lion: the symbol of Venice. There are also gothic and renaissance styles, and I noticed many arches in the structures of the buildings. In addition, different styles of windows represent different time periods. For example, the arched windows are typically 500 years old.
Although Milan had some very old and beautiful buildings such as the cathedral, Verona seems to be almost all made up of these timeless structures. One of these amazing structures that we got to see was the amphitheater. It is a huge arena that once had space for 30,000 people (it now holds 22,000). There is still sand in the center from when it was used hundreds of years ago. On the bricks, you can still read some of the Roman numbers that were engraved. Today, it is not used for its original purposes but is in use from May to the end of October for concerts. One of the most popular acts they held was One Direction.
Another difference I saw between Verona and Milan was the variety of colors. Verona is called the painted town; for good reason. Homes are shades of pink, yellow, red, and much more. Although parts of Milan had apartments like this, they were not as numerous. In both locations, these homes had Juliet Capulet style balconies with colorful plants. On the bus ride into Verona though, I noticed these homes had clothes hanging outside to dry. In regard to the color, even the cobblestone streets are colorful. Red stone is typical in Verona and is seen throughout the city.
Both cities, however, were great shopping locations. Verona did not have a huge shopping mall like the Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, but they did have several options. Streets were lined with stores but were more compact than the area we walked in Milan where we visited the IF store. Something that did remind me of Milan were the restaurants. Several were side by side with many similar options, which made me think of where I ate dinner one night in Milan alongside the canal. Milan has its canal, but Verona is surrounded by a river on three sides.
They each also have cute parks that were the first places I visited. In Milan, the park was very large with many people and dogs. It even reminded me of Central Park. Today I walked to the park in Verona, which was much smaller and quaint. There was a small stand to eat and a pretty fountain which seemed to be the hot spot for young teenagers to gather at. Even though Verona seemed quieter than Milan, they both still had traffic! An angry motorcyclist even yelled at our passing tour group. Cars, small motorcycles, and bikes were the only means of transportation that I saw in Verona. Since it is much smaller, there is no need for the metro or for large busses. Verona and Milan each have their own individual qualities that give them character and make them the amazing cities that they are.