Finally, we arrived in the beautiful city of Verona today after a short bus ride from Milan. Verona was very unexpected because it was extremely different from a more modern Milan, but exactly how I expected all of Italy to be. The cobblestone streets, the colorful buildings with balconies, stone and marble landmarks, and enough restaurants to last a lifetime. Stepping off the bus, I knew instantly there would be a lot to get out of the city in a short period of time. Right of the bat we were all starving and decided to get a little taste from home and go to McDonald’s for lunch. This McDonald’s however was much nicer, cleaner, and contained a whole dessert/bakery section which shows the difference in quality and appearance even of a fast food restaurant in Italy versus the United States.
We later received a historical tour of Verona led by a wonderful woman Francesca who really opened the tour up to interaction rather than just a walking lecture. On this tour we were able to see the Verona Arena that holds summer Opera performances, similar to a small concert in the United States. It looks extremely similar to the Roman Colosseum but a quarter of the size, and in Verona of course. We learned that in the past these events were very inclusive and open to everyone no matter the social class, although they sat in different sections. This was very interesting to hear because of the strict discrimination and division of people in other countries at this time. Passing through tons of Italian restaurants was exciting as I will get my full share of pasta and pizza for the entire summer on this trip, unlike in the United States, where streets are full of multiple types of cuisine. Juliet’s famous balcony, from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was also a stop on this trip, along with an old castle, showing the importance of the country’s history in it’s everyday culture and architecture (also unlike in America where some historical landmarks are taken down to commercialize. Overall, Verona surprised me greatly and I am thrilled to see everything else there is to offer, as this was what I imagined Italy would be like.