As part of my travels in bella Italia, I made a weekend trip recently to the wonderful city of Verona; the true city of love – that is, the birthplace of none other than Romeo and Juliet.
Heading east of Milan, the choice of Verona was made based on a curiosity to visit another Northern city that was manageable in a weekend. Of course, Venice was the initial thought, but I preferred to have a few more days to discover there. And so, the planned roadtrip consisted of a short stop-over in Sirmione, a beautiful town on Lake Garda, and a night in Verona.
Arriving in Sirmione, I was instantly taken back to a beautiful town near Athens, Nafplio. It carried the same architectural style, thanks to the Venetians who apparently ruled much of Northern Italy at one point, as well as parts of Greece. I just adore the colourful facades with their bright shutters swinging in the breeze. It was a very sweet little pit-stop. Unfortunately, the day wasn’t so clear, so views of the lake were somewhat limited, but it’s somewhere I would definitely like to return to and explore more.
Back on the road and we headed straight for the centre of Verona. It was late in the day at this point, so as we drove across one of the many bridges, we saw before us a stunning city burning a shade of dark orange under the setting sun. It was magical. We dropped our things and ventured off to find exactly where Romeo stood below as Juliet watched him from her balcony….
Although a small city, Verona has so much more to it than just the sights. It was quite comical in fact, because as we were walking into the centre, we found ourselves amongst some kind of frenzy that led through a tunnel and into a courtyard. And so, without realising, we had made it to the exact place that people travel to Verona for: Juliet’s balcony. Unfortunately, it has become a typical over-crowded tourist trap, which has ultimately lost a part of its historic sparkle… Instead of a feeling of tranquility, or a walk back in time, it is just a balcony surrounded by hundreds of people, which has a gift shop opposite selling aprons for your grandma. Nevertheless, we made it!
My favourite part of Verona was none other than the food. Just WOW! I took along my trustee Lonely Planet guide and found exactly what dishes and wines it is famous for. The Amarone wine is the most famous, and expensive, in the region, however the way to get around not having to pay for a glass is to instead have a taste of Risotto All’Amarone. I had that one evening… oh my lordy – it was sensational! It is also known for its horse casserole…something I didn’t try, but another typical dish for the area. Maybe next time 😉
All in all it was a beautiful little weekend city. Just perfect for a couple of days. The restaurants below are what we discovered and really recommend:
– Enoteca Segreta – Secret little wine bar, perfect for trying the Valpolicella & wines of the region
– Trattoria Al Pompiere – Local dishes… just divine!
Enjoy the snaps!