While big cities have their fascinating stories, a mix of history, that metropolitan vibe and a flavor of chaotic sense of style, I found my self with an itchy need of escaping the hectic life for a few days.
A sweet place, filled with historic sights and fascinating stories kind of felt right. It was one of those moments when you know that you are not the one who is choosing the place but rather the city is the one who is transmitting vibrations to your mind (or soul) and tells you to come and meet it. Verona felt just right,
Once I got there, I felt the architecture is impressive and there’s no way to escape it. There, in the heart of this small city, you can get lost and enjoy each step. The old spirit combined with the new trends made me fell like behind each imposing door I could find another yet beautiful story. If only I had a pair of X-ray glasses to become a voyeur for a couple of days.
There’s no wonder Shakespeare chose Verona as the set for 3 of his plays. And because of him and his famous stories or maybe because of Verona’s spirit, everything seemed to scream romance at every step. It was like I was lost in one of his plays.
Only from time to time the actors dressed in gladiators and Egyptian Pharaohs and Mummies standing in front of Arena di Verona, next to Piazza Bra, reminded me that this is still a touristic city. Arena is nowadays a place where concerts and shows are being held and people all over the neighborhood area come to watch them.
As I realized when traveling to Italy before, once you get there, you don’t want to miss the gelato. You can grab one and continue your journey on the mysterious streets. And that’s exactly what I did.
But as I was wondering down the streets, I took a few seconds to admire the small squares filled with statues and people: Piazza dei Signori with the statue of Dante, Piazza delle Erbe with fountain of Madonna Verona and Piazza Pasque Veronesi.
All of the sudden, something strange happened. I heard a fanfare. Then another one. It looked odd and then I found myself in the middle of a festival, Tocati (it’s your turn).
And not just any festival but a street games one where people of all ages gathered on the streets to play roman games. It looked nice and the landscape changed a little bit but that wasn’t my goal. I wasn’t there for the tourist things; I just wanted to enhance the Italian experience with a sip of Verona flavor. While wondering around, I got to the water. And it wasn’t hard at all since the Adige River surrounds Verona on 3 sides. It’s a nice area where people come to rest or try some rafting right in the middle of the city.
Italy – love and food
As passing by the river and crossing the bridge I realized this really is the city of love. Padlocks everywhere; blue, red, pink or green, each of them must’ve had a romantic story behind and wishes of true love and happy people.
In this romantic mood I found a quiet little cozy restaurant with real Italian food. It was the perfect delight for the senses and a nice way to gain some more strength for the road.
On my way to discover more hidden treasures of the Old City, I noticed there, on an empty street, Romeo’s house. Nobody was there, nobody was taking pictures and I could’ve just passed by without even acknowledging it. Maybe people are not that into the masculine side of the story but they feel the romance comes from within women? I don’t know, but for sure a place that is not so visited by tourists has a certain charm and you feel that fulfillment that you found something else on your own.
At one point, even if it wasn’t the main purpose of my walk, I begin to wonder where was Juliet’s house. I could’ve asked someone or buy a map, as most of the tourists do, but that’s not me. I don’t have a hit and run destination. I have to feel the city, get to know it, become friends and there, when least expected, the city always shows you a hidden corner, a restaurant, a coffee place or a gelateria you could’ve not found by grabbing a map.
Following the same pattern, there it was, on the most crowded street (the one I was avoiding), the house where it’s presumed that Juliet lived her tragic love story. Once you pass the grey walls through the interior garden, you can see padlocks with hidden love wishes and pieces of paper stuck with the most secret thoughts, right there, so everyone can see them. The thing is that almost everybody comes there to visit and think of their own love story. So each of the letters is just “another” one.
They say it’s good luck to put your hand on Juliet’s statute’s chest so the line was big; everybody wanted to touch her breasts. As I lift my head, I saw Juliet’s balcony, the big sensation for all the young ladies looking for the perfect love story. It probably was the most jam-packed place in whole city. I suppose romance is not dead; or just the power of a tragic story gets us, even the skeptic ones.
It was the perfect ending to my Verona story. The last page that reassured me that this is a city for lovers, broken hearts, history, art, drama and anonymous travelers.
As the sun was setting down, I took my thoughts while passing by the crowd who was waiting to watch a show at the Arena and dragged my memories back home.