“Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”
If you have read Romeo & Juliet then you have heard of Verona, Italy. On our trip to Italy I convinced my hubby that it was essential to visit the famed romantic city and we weren’t disappointed. We could only fit one full day into the itinerary between Florence and Venice but for what we planned on doing in Verona it was plenty of time.
We took the fast train from Florence early in the morning and arrived in Verona within about an hour and a half. We dropped our bags off at the front desk of our hotel since we were too early for check-in and headed to the center of town for breakfast.
Verona happens to contain one of the largest surviving Roman arenas along with a positively romantic medieval city center. To best enjoy the atmosphere of the old town, we went against the guidebooks and ate at a cafe on the main strip (the further away from attractions, the better the food). While we sat and enjoyed our cappuccinos and pastries we made our plan for the day. Most of our day was spent simply exploring. Spending money for tours was simply not in the budget for Verona so we focused on activities that we could do for free.
We started our explorations with a visit to Piazza delle Erbe. The colorful marketplace is full of grocery stands and cool trinkets so we had a blast just taking in the atmosphere. This is the perfect place to pick up gifts for your family or pick out your lunch. Be sure to note how many gorgeous balconies seem to bloom off all the buildings and try to resist the urge to climb up to one.
After we finished in the Piazza, we began to make our way to Juliet’s House. It is very touristy but the atmosphere is so romantic that we couldn’t pass it up. If you are going with a loved one, be sure to purchase a lock for the gates and notice the entrance tunnel to the house. Thousands of couples graffiti their names and love for each other on the tunnel walls so it is a colorful and gorgeous tapestry of different names and languages overlapping. The gates fill up with locks so frequently they have to change them out every few days. However they save the gates and are planning to exhibit them at some point so note the gate number and date. The courtyard will most likely be packed but if your lucky like me you may be able to snag a picture of an empty balcony and the famous statue. You will notice a line of people that gather by the statue of Juliet. It is said to be lucky to rub her right…erm…chest area. We didn’t go in the house, but we left a lock and graffitied the entrance tunnel.
After we left Juliet’s house we began to make our way up Peter’s Hill. It is a steep climb full of stairs but the twisting and turning of the tiny streets makes for tons of photo opportunities and romantic hideaways. Once you get to the top and once your legs stop yelling at you for so many stairs the view is unforgettable. You can see the entire city.
Once we were done with our lunch we just continued our exploration of the city until it was dinner time. We made our way back to the Arena district and found a gorgeous little restaurant with outdoor seating to finish out our day. The day we spent in Verona was very relaxing since we didn’t have to be on any sort of tour schedule. Even though we didn’t take any tours or pay entrance to any sites, we felt like we got to truly experience the city just by walking the winding romantic streets.
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