Today was a great day and probably my favorite of the trip so far. It started with waking up at 9 for a 3-hour bus ride that was very relaxing. In addition to a great nap, it was nice just calmly listening to music and looking out at the Italian countryside, something not typically possible when caught up in the hectic reality of traveling abroad. When we arrived in Verona, we immediately dropped our stuff off at the hotel and went out to get food from a sandwich shop that was very nice. Following this we had a tour of the city and it is so far my favorite of the ones we visited even with the crummy weather. Between the gorgeous integration of renaissance architecture contrasted with the old roman division of how the city is laid out, it was a truly unique place that didn’t feel like the other areas in Italy we had prior visited. On every building there was either beautiful marble sculptures or an old fresco painted that complimented the marble walking paths and brick roads wonderfully.
The most amazing thing we saw on the tour was the Arena that was built in the first century B.C. and is still in use today as the best-preserved Roman theater (like the coliseum in Rome). Only the outer wall has fallen from a earthquake hundreds of years ago, but other than that it is still as it was thousands of years ago. You could feel the age in the air of that place, and only imagine the Catholics, criminals, and gladiators whose blood was spilled in the sands lying below for all to see. Interestingly enough, the word arena actually means sand in reference to the sand that would soak up the blood after events. For these reasons, this city is my favorite and it just fits with what I understood Italy to be in my head.