Day 7 has arrived! It is a wonder that we have been in Italy for a full week now, as the busy days have made this trip seem like a blur in my opinion. Our adventure for the day started with a 3 hour bus ride to Verona. This was one city that I had never really heard about coming into this trip, save for the fact that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was set there, so I had no idea what to expect from it. What I got from this city so far is an experience far different from a city such as that of Milan.
Soon after we arrived in Verona we were sent off on our own to get some lunch, providing my first opportunity to explore the area surrounding out hotel. First impressions? This…does not seem like an ordinary city. The roads were clean, and the amount of grass and trees was not what I was expecting at all, even though I was not necessarily in the center of the city. The area around our hotel in Milan was also on the outside portion of the city, yet that area still had a very urban look to it, consisting mostly of concrete, and surely no greenery to be found.
Soon after lunch, our group embarked on a tour of the main part of the city, in which we found that there is a huge walking only portion of Verona. This walking portion, is quite historic, as our tour guide explained. With the original portion of the city designed by the Romans, this part Verona was founded around 100 BC, and I will say that its architecture reflects this. Most of the buildings in the city are built in the style of a villa, and all of them are vibrantly colored. Some even have very old murals, called frescoes, on their walls from the renaissance era, lending Verona the nickname of “The Painted City! I feel that this deeply contrasted with my impressions of the downtown portion of Milan, in that Milan essentially looked like any other modern city that I had been to in the U.S.. With all of the old buildings in Verona protected by law, this city still has an extremely old fashioned feel to it, even if many of these old looking buildings are occupied by shopping outlets and the like. Quite the difference indeed.
This contrast between cities also lends itself to the amount of famous structures in Verona as opposed to Milan. Milan’s main claim to fame in terms of historic structures is its Duomo, or Cathedral, but aside from this, there are not many others of note. For Verona, it seems that every structure is a historical site, with, as I said before, each structure being protected by law. Regular homes aside, this city also is home to a huge amphitheater, designed by the Romans. Built in a similar style to the Colosseum in Rome, this structure was used for many entertainment events in Verona, housing 30,000 people to observe various sporting events and the like. Though there has been some amount of breakdown to it, this structure still stands tall in the middle of Verona, and still is used today for concerts.
Another difference that seemed apparent to me between Verona and Milan were the roads, both in their construction and in their cleanliness. See, it is not just the buildings in Verona that have a bright color to them, but also the streets that they are on. Many roads were cobbled of different types of marble, deviating from the gray color palette of an ordinary city. One of the most prominent colors in these roads was pink, as Verona is famous for its pink marble, or in Italian, marmo rosa. This marble, which makes its way into many of the other structures of Verona, seems to give the city a certain warm lighting all around from the sun’s light reflecting its color. These roads also seemed to be almost spotless, devoid of any trash, or dirt. In Milan the only place that I saw that was free of trash in the streets was very near to the Galleria. Besides that, the streets were just like that of another city in that it was, well, decently dirty.
I am extremely excited to say that tomorrow we head off to Venice for a day trip! To boats and more walking!