Amphitheaters and Marble Streets: A Day in Verona

This morning was our last in Florence. A few of us woke up early to make the climb to the top of the dome of the Duomo in Florence. 463 steps later we were at the top of the dome with a gorgeous view of Florence. Afterwards we piled onto the bus to make the 3.5 hour trek to Verona. Verona is one of the smaller towns we have visited. It is filled with rich history that has lasted centuries. After arriving in Verona we received a tour of the town. After learning about Verona it is hard not to think back to all the towns we have visited. In many ways Verona could be compared to the other cities we visited. However, it still has its own unique feel. Much like Milan, the city of Verona was first founded by the Romans. Verona has been ruled by many different peoples. It was reclaimed by the Scala family in medieval times. Verona was then conquered by the Austrians for some time as well as being briefly ruled by the French in Napoleon’s time. Verona is unique in that you can see the story of its conquerings and many rulers in its architecture. Verona was the crossroads of Italy. Because of this it has two main roads and gates in it from ancient times. Verona was surrounded by walls throughout history. These walls have been incorporated into the city throughout time.

Verona’s main shopping district has streets made of marble. The shops that line the streets are housed in old historic buildings. Some buildings are completely remodled on the inside, but some still contain pieces of the old facad for design or historical purposes. Some of the old foutains from the city still operate today. The city is shaped in almost a peninsula due to the steep ‘U’ shape of the river in which the city is nestled. The heart of the old town is in the tip of the ‘U’ shape. The older areas go out in concentric rings. Much like the Medici in Florence, Verona has its own patron family. This family is the Scala family. They comissioned many of the developments of churches in the city as well as having their own family graveyard.

Verona and Milan are similar in that they both contain lots of history. However, Verona tends to have more historical buildings incorporated into its every day buildings. Much of historical Milan was museums. Verona has houses that incorporated the old walls into their architecture. There is even a clothing store whose basement is an archeological dig site that turned up roman ruins. The ruins are now preserved and open to the public in the basement of the store surrounded by clothing items for sale. The mixture of new and old in Verona tends to be beautiful but also quite bizarre. For instance, Verona still has its old amphitheater from from Roman times. This amphitheater is still used today and has housed concerts from the Beatles. This amphitheater is 500 years old and can still hold concerts today!

Milan and Verona are also very different in terms of their industries. Milan is a business center with a clear distinction of old and new. Milan is home to many Italian businesses and is also a fashion powerhouse. Verona mainly relies on the tourist market to remain in business. Due to its central location many tourist traveling through Italy end up in Verona. The lack of a clear business center makes it very similar to Florence in that the whole city seems designed to sell you items or activities. The cities are also very beautiful. Verona is somewhat reminecent of Milan in the fact that it seems to have a more modern apartment area outside the city center. However, due to its unique growth you can see how Verona has aged throughout time. As you walk towards the city center the growth of the city seems to be marked in rings of buildings all appearing of the same time period.

Verona is a very beautiful and unique city. Like many of the other citites in Italy, it holds a long-rooted history and contains many historic and irreplaceable buildings and stories. I look forward to seeing more of what Verona has to offer.

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