Friday, June 18, 2010

Day trip to Verona, Italy

6 June Sunday, Verona

Last night I had decided I would spend my last full day in Venice. I woke up early and decided I would go to Verona even though I hadn't bought any train tickets in advance. After a quick breakfast (nice spread of food at the hotel), I took the vapporetto to the train station and got in line to buy my tickets. The line had about a dozen customers in front of me, so I knew the line would go quickly. Four or five windows were open. I was lucky and caught the next train, only 10 minutes after purchasing my tickets.

It took about 1 hour, 20 minutes to get to Verona. Another hot but sunny day, I walked all around the city. Verona is a beautiful city with fabulous architecture. The lines were long at the Roman amphitheatre so I decided to visit it in the afternoon.

Along the pedestrian street, via Mazzini, there were lots of expensive shops with beautiful window displays. There was no market this day but I got to see the piazza Erbe without all the vendor's umbrellas covering the entire area. The piazza was once the forum in Roman times. All of the streets were small and so colorful. Many of the buildings had wrought iron balconies.

I took the easy way (elevator) to the top of the La Torre dei Lamberti (tower) for some great views. Not one cloud in the sky! The tower was first built in the 12th century and later restored I the mid 1400’s. A large clock was added in 1779.

My friend Anne gave me some restaurant suggestions but I ended up at Osteria Verona Antica. If I didn't have to worry about catching the train back to Venice I wouldn't have minded the slow service. I had a polenta and mixed mushroom dish and pasta with chinghiale (wild boar). I’ve had better.

I walked by Romeo's home...or at least that's the story. Juliette's home was nearby but didn't think about it at the time. I had been there several years ago.

I walked along the river, stopped in a two church’s (one with some fabulous frescoes that had been discovered at some point and unfortunately discovered when the workers used picks to tear town the stucco, which heavily damaged the frescoes). It was sad to see such damage. The other had a fabulous ceiling.

Next I walked to the castle but didn't go inside - I had seen one castle/fortress already and that was enough for this trip. The afternoon was very hot, close to 90 degrees.

In the center of town there was some sort of sport street festival and a stage with musicians.

There were lots of cafes in the area with people having afternoon drinks and dessert. At the amphitheatre, I discovered the place had closed at 2pm. I wasn't sure if it was for just the one day; however, that night I did see a concert on tv and I was 98% sure it was at the Verona amphitheatre. I also saw a sign for a Rod Stewart concert for June 21st. Too bad, as it would have been great to see him in concert in such a fabulous place.

I headed back to Venice on the 4:40pm train. It was a nice visit to Verona, as my last time there was back in 2001. It would have been nice to spend a night or two there. Back at the hotel, I had printed out my boarding pass. The hotel has one computer next to the front desk for people to use and a printer set up as well. I had Tony check me in since I couldn’t do it during the day.

I was back at ai Tre Spiedi around 8pm. The restaurant was empty when I arrived, but a few people did come in soon after for dinner. It was a slow night, but then maybe a lot of tourists left the city. I had a delicious bowl of mussels and clams in a light red sauce (like a soup), and then a pork cutlet with potatoes. The water treated me to a shot of cold limoncello. Yum!

I walked along the streets towards St Marks and took several photos. I bought a pretty purse in one of the shops that was still open. It was marked 25 euros. He knocked it down to 23 and I offered 20. He was quick to accept, so I imagined I could have started lower.

Back in the room, I finished off my local white wine, packed my suitcase, and went to bed.

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