In the opening lines of the drama “Romeo and Juliet” William Shakespeare called it “fair Verona”. The city in the Veneto region worldwide know for the love story of the two adolescents belonging to the “two households, both alike in dignity”.  This is the reason why the city is still so popular and it is one of the more visited destination in Italy.  A must see is then the house of Giulietta Capuleti even though  the real last name of the family was Cappelletti.  Above the main entrance of the palazzo there is the coat of arms of the Cappelletti family: a cappello ( “hat” in English). Plenty of people every day decide to pay their tribute to the two teenagers by leaving on the walls of thepalazzo their notes of love.  A few steps from Juliet’s balcony there is Piazza Bra, the heart of the city.  It is one the oldest square in Verona and it used to be the centre of the city during the Roman era.  This is demonstrated by themagnificent arena which is still standing in the very centre of the square. The arena as the one in Pula (Croatia) and the well know Colosseum in Rome was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

A view from the hills above the city of Verona
A view from the hills above the city of Verona.

Nowadays the arena is the stage for concerts, shows and the annual opera festival which includes the Aida by Giuseppe Verdi. Another square which is really worth of a visit is the Piazza delle Erbe where the mercato takes place. Make sure to turn around yourself to take a look at the magnificent Palazzo Maffei, the old fountain of the Madonna and the column with the lion on the top. The lion was the symbol of the Republic of Venice and it is a very popular statue in this region.

If the roman era and the renaissance period have left their legacy in the city with architectural masterpieces, the catholic tradition has contributed to the cultural heritage of Verona thanks to the several churches that have been built in the city. The Duomo, aka Santa Maria Matricolare Cathedral, is settled in the medieval part of the city where the very first church was built by bishop Saint Zeno in the fourth century.  A tour of Verona must include a walk along the river Adige. The river is the second longest in Italy and crosses the north eastern part of the Italian peninsula. Once the walk is over just take the time to sit in the Piazza Bra and to enjoy a Spritz, the signature pre-dinner cocktail of this region of Italy.

 

The spritz is the popular drink of this area of Italy
The spritz is the popular drink of this area of Italy