Verona, Verona, Verona…

verona 4
Ponte Scaligero
Verona 1
Roman Arena
verona 2
River Adige
verona 3
Ponte Scaligero Market
verona 5
Treats from the market! Crunchy Nutella Croissant 

Traditional Italian beauty defined!

My boyfriend and I traveled to Verona last weekend for a day trip, what a gorgeous place!

To start with, it was easily accessible from the motorway and we found parking instantly on arrival in the city centre – free on Sundays fyi! Not a deciding factor when reviewing a trip – but a positive start!

We started our day in Piazza Arsenale, and strolled along the river towards the centre. My first impression was almost Toulousain, with high stone walls leading down to the pebbled banks of the river, the length of the promenade shaded by trees.

The first gem we were led to by the river, was Ponte Scaligero. The redbrick bridge links the North and South of the city across the vast river Adige. The bridge itself is a hive of activity, there was a lovely market lining the cobbles, selling all types of food, drink and handcrafted articles to locals and tourists alike.

As we weaved our way through the light crowds, the attraction to the bridge was not only on the ground. The top of the bridge is formed of many “towers”, between which tourists clamber in order to snap a selfie & get a glimpse of the river from above.

Along from the bridge, you exit into the Old Castle and are immediately entwined in the vibrant traffic of the city. Turn after turn, it really is all roads lead to Rome, with piazza upon piazza boasting traditional roman architecture and beautiful winding streets.

The Roman Arena is a notable sight from outside, towering Piazza Bra beneath. However, my advice would be to admire from the outside, inside is incomparable to the likes of the Colosseum in Rome or similar sized arena in Nimes, as this has been transformed into a commercial arena for shows. The 11 euro entry isn’t worth it!

The sprawling streets are littered with markets, cafes and bars, leading to piazzas filled with markets cafes and yet more bars! the lively atmosphere makes the romance of the city come alive – especially at Casa di Giulietta.

Of course we cant go without mentioning that Verona, of course is the hometown of Romeo and Juliet! Juliet’s house is a humble house positioned behind a grand archway – which you can expect to be stuffed with tourists wanting to see the balcony and to touch the golden statue of the young lady!

The walls surrounding the house are adorned with messages of love, although, sadly over the years due to a lack of space – many notes are now written on plasters and stuck on with chewing gum as adhesive over the original notes, acting as a modern disruption to the romantic tradition!

The tomb of Juliet, the Duomo and clock tower in the city are amongst other notable sights, however the city can be done in a day – best seen with a bellini from the side of a piazza!

Overall a beautiful city to visit, after Venice, and despite its size in comparison to others — my new favourite Italian City.

Pictures to come!

R x

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Lovely Laveno

The spring has struck in Italy. The change in the season has seemingly shocked my system! In England we have failed to differentiate seasons properly for some years now – mild precipitation blending the seasons into one.

Despite the piercingly bright, clear skies in the towns, the haze around the mountains remains, creating a sleepy vibe for those strolling around the lakefront, passing through the small antique markets and stopping for their morning espresso.

Laveno is a small town, perched on the edge of Lake Maggiore, between Angera and Luino, and facing Stresa. The town still belongs to the locals, with notably less commercial sway and thus, less traffic than nearby locations of Angera or Arona. Despite this the streets hold a typical Italian charm, with plenty of small sailing boats bobbing around the hazy harbour.

Outside of most tourist’s peripheral vision, this town boasts fantastic views of Maggiore, and in the summer a funicular to transport you to the top of Sasso del Ferro, boasting views of the entire lake and surrounding cities.

Although the town itself is somewhat subdued, without the designer appeal of Lugano or Como, a hidden gem is the Villa Della Porta Bozzolo. A short drive from the town centre, this typical Italian Villa is set into the nearby village of Casalzuigno.

On approach the Villa is not an obvious attraction, somewhat cramped between the surrounding rustic houses. Set back into the hills, the levels of the gardens form a steep cascade into the central theatre, overflowing with buttercups, and subsequently onto a courtyard of lemon trees and fountains, further adding to the grandeur of the Villa, which dates back to the 1500’s.

Certain elements of the Villa have been restored, however many original pieces remain among the sprawling floor plan of hand painted bedrooms, cellars and salons.

The Villa is undoubtedly an unexpected find in the area, and a welcome alternative to the bustling streets of the surrounding towns.

R x