This morning we said goodbye to Milan for a few days and headed to Verona! We took the nicest coach bus I have ever been on and drove around two and a half hours before arriving in Verona. It was a pretty short ride that also gave me a great opportunity to catch up a bit on my sleep!
When we got to Verona, we went on a nice long walking tour of the city, despite the cold and rain. Very close to our hotel is the Verona Ampitheatre Arena, which is an arena very similar to that of the Colosseum in Rome but at about only a fourth of the size. The Ampitheater Arena is, however, in better condition because it was built with limestone.
We learned some interesting history about the Arena. For instance, while there were over 70 arches designated for plebeians, there were only two for patricians. This just shows how great the wealth gap was. Entering the arena was, however, free for everyone, regardless of class. When it came to the actual fights that took place there, the audience would decide the fates of the losers. If the audience gave thumbs down, that meant the loser would survive and the winner would put his sword down. If the audience gave thumbs up, the loser would be killed, and the winner would raise his sword. I thought that was interesting not only because of the fact that the audience was deciding the fate of these individuals, but also because today we use thumbs up and thumbs down in the opposite way: thumbs up for something good, thumbs down for something bad. One other interesting fact that I learned was that the word “arena” means sand. The Ampitheatre is then called an arena because there is sand below the structure to soak up the blood (a pretty morbid fun fact).
Continuing on the walking tour, we stopped in a little courtyard with a balcony like the one in Romeo and Juliet, since many of Shakespeare’s plays, including Romeo and Juliet, took place in Verona. It was pretty and cool to see a visual representation of Romeo and Juliet.
Throughout the tour, we were able to walk through the beautiful streets of Verona and see all the shops and restaurants. I loved to see all the stores, and once our tour was over, I went back with a group to do some shopping!