Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Verona, Italy

Ciao e Bentornati!

“..Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…”

Verona.  A “public place”, the location for William Shakespeare’s tale of love and sadness, and the next destination for WinGaz to visit.  This seemed like a great place to delve deeper into this literary classic and see if the town lives up to it’s reputation.

As Verona was going to be a short overnighter for us, we were hoping to spend a few hours walking the city’s streets and seeing for ourselves the place where Juliet spoke those timeless words:

“Romeo.  Romeo.  Where for art thou Romeo?”

I had studied Romeo and Juliet in high school for my English Literature exams, and this story had become my sole reason to visit Verona.  We quickly learnt the location of both Romeo and Juliet’s houses, and set off to find them.

the small streets of Verona
Verona has a few other landmarks and monuments that can keep you interested if you want to see them, there is yet another tower to climb and a castle high on the hill on the other side of the river.  There are lots of narrow streets and funky little cafés to chill out in.  There’s even a Roman Ampitheatre smack bang in the centre of town – who put that there I wonder!

We set of to find Juliet’s house first.  We located the Capulet “side” of town and quickly wandered to her house which surprisingly was number 23!!!  My lucky number!!  After walking through a small covered archway into the tiny courtyard you immediately see a bronze statue of our dear Juliet.  To the right side of the courtyard you will see her house, and the infamous balcony where she made that desperate speech to Romeo.

Juliet's Courtyard
It’s meant to be good luck to cup and rub Juliet’s left breast (on the statue), so both Winnie and I gave her a good grope and smiled for the camera!  Her breast was warm from all of the tourists rubbing it…I felt her lonely right boob and it was quite cool… Poor right hand boob!

Gaffa rubbing Juliet's boob
All around the courtyard there’s love messages, graffiti and padlocks.  Padlocks with the names of lovers on them…Padlocks locked to anything, everywhere.  Strange but it seems common in Italy!

After spending a few minutes in the courtyard, I found a small soccer shop that had a window that overlooked the balcony…We went up and took some snaps from their window!!!

We next headed out to find Romeo’s house.  Not nearly as impressive, his house is mentioned on a line of terrace housing, with a plaque… Miss the plaque and you miss his house!

After a brief visit to Casa Romeo, we walked in the main streets of Verona.  We passed by the various souvenir stores and eaterys and found ourselves feeling hungry, so we stopped for a bite to eat at a little pizza place near to Juliet’s house.  The prices for food and drinks in Verona are inflated like a bodybuilder’s chest.  We were forewarned this by our bed and breakfast host, who said that Verona is an affluent city, and people can afford to pay more…not fair for us!  When in Verona, WinGaz share a pizza!

The pizza was tasty and the additional free bread rolls were good (so good in fact, I stole a pocket full to tide me over until dinner time). True Story.

View from Castel San Pietro
After a walk to the outskirts of town, and over Pont Pietro crossing the river that runs romantically around the city, we climbed around 300 steps to reach Castel San Pietro.  The view was pretty enough, not sure it was worth the climb but still a nice way to conclude our day in Verona.

A very Italian  Barista
After meandering back through the city’s back streets we found the BEST coffee shop so far.  It served these wicked coffees, that were like modern art in an espresso cup.  Winnie found her first ever coffee (that she enjoyed) – Coconut Espresso.  I have to say for artsy coffee, the prices kicked the butt of all of the “Starbucks”, “Costa Coffee”, “Nero’s” and “Gloria Jeans” that Europe has to offer.  Not a bad introduction to Italian coffee.  They really turn making coffee into an art form.  Did I mention that the prices were like 1-2 Euro per coffee?  I was having an awesome time!  I was impressed with Winnie and her new found enjoyment for “great coffee, that doesn’t taste like normal coffee”.  Make sure you find Bottega del Caffe Dersut, located on Via del Pontiere (number 20) – it’s worth it!

Very Good Coffee
GAFFAtron bouncing after 3 coffees!

Winnie enjoying her First Coffee Buzz!
Verona is definitely worth a visit.  I’d say, you should make it a short visit on your way through to your next major Italian destination.      

Next stop, we head to Venice.

Are the canals really that romantic?  Is Venice just a cliché?  

Come back to www.eattraveldive.blogspot.com soon to find out ETD’s perspective.

Ciao, Ciao!

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