From Verona, with love…

Verona, where Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet was inspired, is a quintessential Italian town.  The entire town is a UNESCO Heritage site.  The city wall that protected it through the middle ages still stands around most of the city.  The Arena, the Colosseum’s smaller cousin, is pretty well maintained. The Roman Forum that sits on a hill across the river over-looking the city is a spectacular reminder of the Roman Forum in Rome, albeit much smaller in scale and with far less ruins.  Still, the views of the city from sitting among the columns and decapitated statues are worth the short hike across the Adige River and up the stairs of the ancient theater.  This was our favorite part of Verona.  While walking over the bridge, we were able to enjoy the view on both banks of the river.  We also found these clusters of Love Locks that couples have left with their names and anniversaries.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lock but I had a key!

The food in Verona was much heartier than the food in Southern Italy and as a vegetarian, it was very difficult to find a healthy meal.  The image below is the narrow street where we found a delicious and relatively healthy dinner.  We highly recommend Osteria da Ugo to anyone visiting Italy who wants a traditional Verona-style meal.

Of course the pizza was fantastic.  We just love the delicate thin crust, fresh veggies and artisan cheeses used on real Italian pizza.  The one in the picture is topped with eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Juliet’s house was interesting.  The original author of the story of Romeo and Juliet, Luigi da Porto, claims the story is true.  Nevertheless, there is little history presented in Juliet’s House.  It has become a somewhat bare museum showing portraits of Juliet as she has been portrayed over the years, a set of costumes used in a play.  There is also a very modern method to send “letters” to Juliet.  There are four computers set up with a screen on each that reads “Dear Juliet.”  Visitors to the house can type a letter to Juliet.  If you have seen the movie “Letters to Juliet” you may be disappointed that the beautiful courtyard filled with crying girls leaving letters for Juliet between the bricks of the wall in hopes of receiving love advice from Juliet, is in fact replaced by tourists climbing up to the Juliet statue and of course a souvenir shop.  Instead of letters left behind by lonely girls, the entrance to Juliet’s house is covered with graffiti left by people in love, which to me is even better than the movie.

The small marble balcony where Juliet was said to have first professed her love for Romeo was understated and elegant.  Even with all the tourists, it was still a very romantic place and if you have read Shakespeare or have seen any adaptation of the original story of Romeo & Juliet, it’s hard not to think about it and feel a little romantic.

Verona really was beautiful and one can see all of the sites of the city in a weekend and still have time to relax and spend a little quite time sipping on cappuccino in one of the dozens of cafes that line the piazzas and narrow little streets.

We were lucky enough to be there on the day of the Verona Marathon and the Romeo & Juliet Half Marathon.  If you have never watched the finish of a marathon, as a runner, it is incredibly inspirational and fun to watch.

The market was colorful and lively.  We spent a lot of time in Piazza Erbe where both sides of the street are lined with cafes and shops and in the center is a beautiful white fountain surrounded by a market.

Verona is beautiful.  Another wonderful trip to Italy and we cannot wait to visit the next Italian City…

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