'Romeo, Romeo. . .wherefore art thou Romeo?' Juliet called out in Shakespeare's tragic tale of two star-crossed lovers.
|Verona Italy street scene|
Romeo was in Verona, Italy, as was his love, Juliet.
And on a chilly weekend not so long ago, so were we.
|Verona at Night|
We were here as part of our 10-day Italian Escapade that began in Bologna (see previous post) and ended in Venice. Both cities have charmed us on past visits. We'd decided to include a one-night stay in some place we'd never visited before - one located along the train's route between our two old favorites. A mix of nostalgia and new is always a good travel combination.
|Verona - a stop between Bologna and Venice|
After much pondering and a bit of research we decided that night would be spent in Verona, a city of 265,000.
That Night in Verona
Rooms, considering it was late November, seemed surprisingly scarce and rather expensive. As it turns out we were visiting on the weekend of the Verona Marathon - an annual event that traditionally draws a couple thousand runners to the town.
We ended up paying a bit more than we had planned for a hotel room, but in return, got more than we ever could have imagined. Due Torre Hotel was a few blocks from the city's main square, a few blocks from the winding Adige River and opened onto Piazza Sant' Anastasi.
|Piazza Sant'Anastasia - Verona|
In other words, a perfect location for setting off on foot to explore.
|Lobby Due Torre Hotel - Verona, Italy|
I have to admit that I could have spent my short stay just sitting in the lobby of our hotel, a former palace of the Della Scala, a Middle Ages clan who are remembered for both being murderous tyrants and patrons of the arts. Quite honestly it felt we'd stepped back in time (despite all the modern conveniences) and were staying in a palace!
|The Lobby Bar - Due Torre Hotel Verona, Italy|
The Italian hotel group that operates the hotels outdid themselves on restoration of this facility. The lobby and its elegant bar were among the most stupendous we've ever seen. Breakfast, included in the room rate, was served one floor above the lobby in an equally elegant dining room.. And I just have to add for all my fellow pet lovers, the posh palace welcomes animals. These two four-footed guests were adorable!
|Four-footed guests are welcome at the Due Torre Verona|
Romeo and Juliet
Back in 1562 when Shakespeare created the two lovers, he had no idea of the 21st century marketing tools they would provide this northern Italian city. Souvenirs of every size and shape pay tribute to Romeo and Giulietta, as Juliet is known here.
Now we all know that they were imagined characters, but that didn't deter city authorities back in the 1930's when they selected a house and added a 14th-century style balcony to it and for good measure put up a bronze statue of Giulietta out front.
|Waiting for entrance (under the star) to Casa di Giulietta|
Today this tourist attraction continues to draw hordes of people. If you are willing to stand in the incredibly long lines and buy a ticket, you too, could stand on the balcony. It didn't appeal, especially after seeing the massive number of tourists waiting to get in on a late Saturday afternoon.
We not only bypassed 'the' balcony, we didn't seek out any of the other tourist attractions here. We opted, instead, to simply enjoy the city. Our plan was simple: stroll around the town until we tired, then we'd rest up, and head out again in the evening:
So under ancient wood-beamed porticos we went, past charming restaurants and retail stores.
|Piazza's were teeming with people in Verona|
Then across piazza's lined with cafes; their outdoor seating areas overflowing with people enjoying the sunshine while sipping afternoon beverages.
|This rainbow of temptations caught my eye in Verona.|
It seemed this city had a bakery with windows filled with tasty temptations, on every block. And had we not been 'saving ourselves' for a pasta dinner, it would have been most easy to give in to temptation!
|Section of the Adige River in Verona, Italy|
We left the bustling central area and made our way back to the hotel through the quiet residential areas fronting the river. The horse-shoe shaped Adige River cradles the city on its route to the Adriatic Sea. The empty sidewalks at river's edge were a striking contrast to the busy piazzas.
|Saturday night in Verona|
Following our pasta dinner we strolled back to the hotel on once-bustling streets that had nearly emptied. The pace of those few folks who were still out had slowed. It was so quiet that. . .
|Evening in Verona|
. . .with a bit of imagination you could almost hear Giulietta calling out in the distance,
'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?'
That's it for this Italian stop, we were off to Venice the next morning. And that will be the topic of my next report. As always, thanks for being with us for this segment of our Escapade and we hope you'll be back for the next installment. Until then, wishes for safe travels to you and yours~
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