May 8 Sunday
I had a chance to practice my Italian this morning with the taxi driver on the way to the station. I guess I am getting better at Italian because we had a conversation the entire way there, and I understood about 95 percent, and was able to speak so he understood me. Thank you, Lori, for everything you taught me. I think of you every day as I try to parlo Italiano in your bellissima homeland.
I arrived in Verona before noon, and my hotel is beautiful, plus its location is perfectly situated. After I unpacked I headed out to via Mazzini and Piazza delle Erbe. It was beautiful, and the streets were made of pink marble. There were all kinds of trattorias and osterias lining the piazza and little shops as well. I knew immediately that I was going to enjoy being in Verona!
During the time of the Roman empire, this square was the location of the Roman forum, and the fountain dates back to the year 380.
I had some lunch at one of the outdoor trattorias and then walked over to see the famous balcony of Juliet, which is always crowded with tourists like myself. The building dates back to the 13th century and is believed to be the house of Giuletta Capuleti. You can go inside the house for a fee, and I couldn’t get a photo of the balcony without someone peering out from there.
I then headed over to the oldest monument in Verona, the Arena, which was built in the first century, and is a smaller version of Rome’s Colosseum but is completely intact. It is used today for opera and concerts and can seat 20,000 people. It is in fact the largest outside opera venue in the world.
I wanted to see the Ponte Pietra, an old Roman arch bridge dating back to 100 BC. Its five arches are of varying sizes, and it is a beautiful spot on the Adige River. More tomorrow on Verona.