Venice Santa Lucia – Venecia Santa Maria di Nazareth – Verano Puerto Nuevo – Piazza Bra – Verona Coliseum – Casa di Guillietta – Piazza del Erbe – Piazza dei Signore – Santa Maria Antica – Santa Anastasia – Duomo di Verona – Adige River Walk – Castlevecchio – Verano Puerta Palia – Venice Santa Lucia – Vienna Westbahnhof
After our jam-packed day in Venice we decided we had done enough in the city of canals and would explore an Italian city that neither of us had seen before: Verona. We were also covered in mosquito bites and figured Verona had less standing water so we went to the train station and bought tickets for a day trip. After some confusion about the tracks, we finally ended up on the right train to Verona at noon. That gave us about 6 hours to walk around the city before we had to be back in Venice for our overnight train to Vienna
As soon as we arrived in Verona, we were overwhelmed by its beauty, charm and the multitude of pedestrian and bike-friendly sidewalks. For the first time in our journey there were actually crosswalks where pedestrians had the right of way and cars actually stopped for them! If this was not enough, we headed into Piazza Bra, which is a massive area surrounding the ancient arena that is completely blocked off from traffic. The arena is quite large (although no comparison to the Colosseum) and is still used for performances today.
From here we made our way to the “home” of Juliet; yes that’s right, from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The history of this place was not exactly clear, but apparently it was owned by a Capulet family on which the tale was based, and has a nice stone balcony that is well screened by a wall covered in ivy. As it has been a destination for lovers from all over the world, the walls leading up to the house are covered in love notes, the names of couples, and lots of chewing gum.
Next we made our way to the church of Santa Anastasia, as a thunderstorm hit Verona and it started pouring rain. We spent some time here and at the Duomo Cathedral admiring the architecture and beauty of the churches’ construction, dating back to the 1200s. The storm passed and we walked along the river to the Castlevecchio, the original fortress of Verona complete with drawbridge and moat. The castle has a small art museum, but the best features are the grounds and stairwells that lead up to provide spectacular views over the city and the river.
We spent at least an hour wandering the castle’s parapets and overlooking the city before deciding to head back to the train station. We were so impressed by the beauty and cleanliness of Verona, and so happy that we had a chance to experience a new city in Italy together. While Venice is charming and also architecturally stunning, Verona had a warmth and a romantic-ness to it that was different. A little bad weather initially led to immaculate cloud-scapes which framed Verona’s unique style and beauty.
The stiff wind from the thunderstorms had blown some concrete dust from a construction site into Andrew’s right eye and lodged it there for the better part of the five hours we were in Verona. This led to some rather comical “one eyed” moments including a trip to the pharmacy where the pharmacist didn’t speak english and Andrew trying to express “dust in the wind,” a stiff debate on whether to dunk Andrew’s head in a baptismal font at the Duomo and bleary eyed stumbling around two massive churches, a castle, and a frozen pizza. As we walked back to the train station the bit of dust disappeared and Andrew was freed. Despite all that, a great experience in a beautiful city.
We hopped on our train back to Venice, admiring the vineyards and farm land, and grabbed a bottle of wine for our evening train to Vienna. We were happily surprised when we saw that we had booked a private sleeping car called a “double lady” with its own bathroom and shower! The eleven hour journey was comfortable and pleasant, and we arrived well rested and groomed to find Vienna also beset by thunderstorms…