We packed up and said goodbye to Milan, and took a two hour bus ride to Verona. We passed through some beautiful countryside on the way there.
Once we arrived at Verona around noon, we realized that most small businesses open very late, if it all on Sundays, and many lunch places are closed, so….we ate at the McDonald’s. I was pretty surprised to find that the McDonald’s here are much higher quality than those in America, and their McCafé is pretty high quality itself. All of their baked goods looked delicious and fresh, and their cappuccino was not half bad.
We were able to walk right into the city center of Verona and immediately beheld the Arena, an ancient amphitheater built by the Romans. The modern word “arena” comes from the word arena, or sand, due to the fact that the middle floor is filled with sand (to absorb the blood of executed criminals, gladiators, and animals! Yikes!). Currently, the Arena is used to host open air opera due to its unique acoustic properties and large size. When it was first built, it could fit all of Verona inside of it!
After viewing the Arena, we walked through some more of historical Verona. While Milan is a homogeneous mixture of old and the new construction, Verona is almost entirely historic. All of its buildings are Roman era or Renaissance era, with some reconstruction/restoration.
We even stopped by the Capuleti house, the historical inspiration for Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet!
We visited Castle Vecchio, the dwelling of the duke of Verona. The most beautiful part was certainly the massive bridge that stretches across the river outside of the castle! It was bombed in WW2, and reconstructed entirely using the bricks it was originally constructed with. We had a beautiful view of the Alps and the city of Verona from the bridge.
I’m looking forward to spending more time in Verona, and learning more about this very historic city!