Verona – Exploring Verona

We are loving Joyce’s AirBnB stay. The bed was comfortable, we both slept pretty well and had decided the previous night to go to bed early so we could get a jump start on the day.

This turned out to be a great idea as after we had awoken, dressed and prepared for the morning, we got a quick breakfast of a coffee and brioche at Cinque Stella which is conveniently a couple of doors down from our AirBnB location and then headed to Castlevecchio which had interested us very much the previous evening.

During the daylight hours, we were able to access the museum which was, of course, closed when we wondered past yesterday. The museum was full of beautiful historical artwork and some of the original castle’s wall friezes and decorations were still evident or had been restored.

As part of the museum trail, we were also able to get access to the Castlevecchio battlements where we got some stunning vistas of Verona. As it was early, we weren’t vying with crowds of people and so could very leisurely walk around the many exhibits.  We did see the tour groups rolling in as we were leaving.

Our next stop was to check out the Arena which is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra.  It was built in the first century. It is still in use today and is famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind. In ancient times, gladiators would fight in the arena to slake the blood-lust of the spectators. So modern time performances are a tad tamer by comparison.

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We didn’t go inside as the line was incredibly long already (at about 10:30am!) but we continued on to Castel San Pietro.  This isn’t a location you can enter either, but travellers flock here to see the views from the top. This did entail a bit of walking (more stairs!) but at least these were nice and even steps.

There was a lovely moment when at the top of view all the church bells in Verona started ringing in symphony at midday.  Without the sounds of the city drowning them out, it was actually quite lovely!

We took the cable-car down to the bottom of the hill and then continued exploring the city until we decided it was time to have a break for some lunch.

Our chosen destination was the equivalent of Italian fast-food, but better.  Quick pasta at Bigoi Verona.  Nick and I did our best to order in Italian and apparently didn’t do too badly!  We chose a black ink cuttlefish pasta and an amatriciana pasta.

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After lunch we walked leisurely back to the AirBnB and took care of some housework – laundry.  An annoying necessity when you travel relatively light unfortunately.  But Joyce had kindly looked up the details of a nearby self-service laundromat for us so it was pretty simple to gather our things and go.

We did have some trouble reading the instructions at the laundromat but luckily for us, there were a couple of Italian travellers there who assisted us. They showed us how to get tokens for the machines and even helped us set them up to wash, and then later, dry our clothes.  All up, it took about an hour to wash, dry then fold our clothes.  While the cycles were spinning though, Nick and I took a walk around the area and got a cheeky Nutella gelato from a Gelateria we didn’t catch the name of.

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Once we got back to the AirBnB, Nick needed to do a couple of errands in regards to our next movements and hotel stays.  He encouraged me to go and take a walk around Verona before meeting him again for dinner so I did so.  I didn’t go too far but killed almost an hour walking around the Arena area of Verona which also had all the international brand shops and boutique fashion outlets (in other words, things Nick has less than zero interest in).

Just before 7pm, I got back to the AirBnB and Nick and I shortly afterwards set out for our cheap dinner of the night – Sapore Pizza Stand Up.  As the name suggests, it was a relatively no-frills pizzaria where you decide on which pizzas slices you want, they charge you (by the weight of the pizza) and then you eat the pizza at the stand up bar (or take it to go). We chose a mozzarella, tomato and olive, a margarita and a vegetarian pizza which had potato (we thought it was pineapple at first) onion and mushroom.

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After the pizza, we decided we better try to walk it off. We visited the (in)famous Juliet’s House which was closed for the day but we could still see the statue of Juliet barely as well as all the love letters scrawled onto the walls leading up to and surrounding the place.

Another location we visited was Piazza dei Signori which is also called “Piazza Dante”, for the statue of Dante Alighieri you can see in the centre.  Dante was the writer of the Divine Comedy, the most famous part of which is Dante’s Inferno.

Our night walk took us back to the Arena eventually where Nick and I stopped to listen to the performance which we could hear from the street level.  Hilariously, I stopped to give Nick a hug at this point as we were standing and an Italian lady walked past us and very cutely called us “Romeo e Juliet” – I couldn’t help but laugh though I think our story will be a lot less tragic then theirs!

We had one last cheeky stop on the way back for a sweet treat at Enocibus which was just outside the AirBnB and recommended by our host as a good place to grab a drink and a dessert. We did just that.  Nick had a frozen yogurt and fruit dessert which was full of tart currants while I had a white mint icecream which had a frozen chocolate core.

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This was more than enough to top off my day though and I was almost falling asleep at the table.  We paid, headed back up and showered and changed for bed so we could face the next day prepared.

I may not be able to update tomorrow as we will be checking out of the AirBnB and will be on a sleeper train headed to Naples so we may not have wifi access. I’ll update again as soon as possible.

Km’s walked: 20.7 (good effort!)

Flights complete: 5/10

Tomorrow: Lake Garda and sleeper train to Naples

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