Here is a secret for you; Verona is geographically a city of love. No, its not from “Romeo and Juliet” or “Shakespeare”. It is from its city map. Look into my featured image; i left big mark there. I hope you see it. That was my first reaction when my Airbnb’s host explained city of Verona with me using her city map. She said, “Wow. I never thought like that.”
It was almost dark when i arrived in Verona. Guided with map from my host, Olga, i found the her apartment in 5th floor of the green building near the Porta Nuova Station. Before i departed to Europe, i was reminded by my friend that not all apartment building in Italy has lift. Most of the case we need to drag our suitcase on stairs. This is true for most of the cases in Airbnb accommodation i found in Italy. If you have backpack, you don’t need to worry, as long as you have enough stamina.
Olga’s rented room was nice and spacious. She and her family came from Russia and settled in Verona. She was warm and easy to talk to. Once i arrived in her house, she gave me the map of Verona and explained the tourist spots and how to get there. She was a bit surprised when i refused her paper map. I explained that i had Google Map Offline on my phone and i would be fine. When i travel a lot, i always to try to be as simple as possible and avoid any waste (based on my experience, i will throw out the tourist map after i visited the city – a very short shelf life).
Verona’s medieval architecture was lovely, especially seeing beautiful pastel colour in some areas. Even some modern “love” sculptures in the middle of city centre made this city brighter. I found one of them was in front of Louis Vuitton shop. Walking through the maze of Verona was quite an experience. No wonder the city was awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO. Its just .. lovely.
Most of Verona’s attractions can be reached by walking. One day, I walked from Verona Porta Nuova to Percoso della Salute through Circonvallazione Oriani and Maroncelli. I watched sun rising in the middle of the park. Then continued to Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, served as the first point on visiting four famous churches in Verona.
Another day, i walked to Arena di Verona through Corso Porta Nuova. Then, continued strolling around inside the city centre visiting Piazza Bra, Porta dei Borsari, Torre dei Lamberti, Cattedrale Santa Maria Matricolare, Ponte Pietra, and of course the Casa di Giulietta. When i saw pink padlock in the fence in front of Juliet statue, i couldn’t help myself thinking how often they “clean” this up, like coins in the Fontana di Trevi in Rome (they “fish” them once a week and got average 21,000 euros per week). Of course, cleaning the padlock will require more effort since they do not own the keys. Just a random thought.
Sometimes, i hopped on random bus that aligned with the direction i went to, hoping it stopped in the my destination. There was one time where i took the wrong bus in Verona train station. I supposed to go to city centre but instead i went to the opposite direction, making me stop in the middle of Verona’s gridline outside the city. It’s called adventure.
On my walk on Ponte Pietra bridge, i spotted something strange. Its not the beautiful Teatro romano di Verona, but i found someone in the middle of Adige river. As i zoomed in, she/he (not sure about the gender) wore a full body orange suit, stood on top of something like surfing board, and tied up by a kind of rope. I concluded later on that she/he was learning to surf in the end of Autumn, long enough to prepare for summer surf. Good luck pal! Please don’t get cold!
At the end, I like to see Verona as City of Love, not from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet play (i still consider their story as tragic one), but from Sophie and Chris in Letters to Juliet movie (2010). I can’t help myself quote a beautiful line from the letter, “What and if are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.”
Ask yourself, what is your biggest “what-if”?
“You need only the courage to follow your heart. I don’t know what a love like Juliet’s feels like – love to leave loved ones for, love to cross oceans for, but I’d like to believe if i ever were to feel it, that i will have the courage to seize it. And, Claire, if you didn’t, i hope one day you will.”
Lots of love,