Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Verona and Lake Garda

When you only have class four days a week, it’s easy for the weeks to go by quickly. The addition of midterms seems to expedite that process even further (and acts as my excuse for writing this blog post so late). Lucky, with the four-day school week comes three-day weekends with plenty of time to go out and have some fun.

The other weekend I signed up with the tour company, Florence for Fun, to go on a day trip to Verona and Lake Garda. As a Shakespeare fan I was very excited to see the place where Romeo and Juliet was set. I have always heard of people heading to Juliet’s House to leave their letters and “love locks”, while snapping a few photos of themselves grabbing hold of the statue of Juliet’s breast for good luck in love; however, Verona has much more to offer.

Upon arriving in Verona, the tour group was taken on a walking tour of the city. We saw the Roman Arena, which is the third largest Roman amphitheater in existence. It was originally used to house gladiator games, until the Middle Ages when it began hosting theatrical events and opera. Today it is the only Roman arena that is still used for entertaining the public. Cool, huh? 

We walked through many of the piazzas of Verona, which back in the day were designed to separate the practice of government, religion, and commerce…pretty brilliant if you ask me. 

In Piazza Delle Erbe, which was once the home to the Forum, has a strange small stage in the center of it. Our tour guide, Francesco, demonstrated how people would be trapped there to be embarrassed publicly for their wrong doings.

We made our way over to the Ponte Pietra to take pictures and take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

Juliet's House! The area dedicated to a character in one of Shakespeare’s famous tragedies was packed with visitors, so our group quickly made its way out...but now without groping the statue and leaving a letter to Juliet first! 

Hello, puppy! …GIANT puppy.

After the walking tour we had some free time in Verona. We roamed the streets and grabbed a quick bite to eat. Then I made my way to the outdoor art sale. Many of the pieces were beautiful and were a welcome break from all the frescos that I have been seeing in Florence (even though I love Florentine frescos).

During the second half of our day, we made our way to Lake Garda, the largest of all the Italian lakes. It is a total of 34 miles in length and up to 11 miles wide. We took a boat to one of the islands on the lake where we were able to see the Rocca Scaligera castle, which dates back to the 13th century. The island itself is very small; we were able to walk around the main part of it in about 10 minutes. It was extremely beautiful though and I am so glad we were able to go.

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