I don't remember the exact date when I fell in love with Italy forever. Maybe when I was 11 and first saw the silly romantic comedy "Only you" with Robert Downey Jr., and it was not only because of him that I chose this for my favourite film (for at least one entire month haha), but because of the fabulous background provided by Italy. Soon I forgot about the film, but not about the country, the more I know it, the more I love it.
Let's see some facts about the city: inhabited by ca. 250 000 people (UN, 2012) and lies just halfway between Milan and Venice. Shakespeare made it famous, being the home of Romeo and Juliet. Oh and yes, UNESCO has awarded World Heritage Site status to the city because of the importance of the many historical buildings, that found here.
It was my first time in Verona, and we spent a whole day there. Our train departed from Milan Central Station around 6:30 and a two-hour journey began. I loved the Italian public transport system, and the trains were super comfy as well, but maybe this is just a big deal for me because I come from a country where the situation is not that great.
So we arrived in Verona about 8:30 and it seemed that the town was still sleeping. It is easy to get from the station to the old town, it takes about 15 minutes by walk. Piazza Bra' was the first attraction we saw, and it gives home to the Arena, the third largest Roman amphitheatre in Italy. Here you can really get the taste of the good old days of the Empire and the Arena is still used for public events and even open-aired opera during the summer.
We continued our way on the Via Mazzini. It is kind of a fashion street, you can find most of the representatives of the fast fashion brands. And after that... To be honest, I wanted to see the Casa di Giulietta later during the day, because I felt that it would be the highlight of the trip, but in the case of Verona, all roads lead to it (seriously, we passed it at least ten times during the day). We were lucky, though, just had arrived before a larger high-school group so we could have a look at the balcony and the yard and take some pictures with no crowd. I was never really a fan of the story, but if you are interested, you can check out the museum, which can be found inside the house and the exhibition is related to Shakespear's play. You can also visit Juliet's tomb in the Abbey of San Francesco.
Oh and Romeo actually also has a house, although it is not that popular and also hard to notice at first, but you can go there, to have the story complete. Poor Romeo, the girl has stolen the show.
Next, we headed in the direction of the Adige river. There are some beautiful spots here, where you can have a break and relax a bit, we chose to sit next to the Ponte Pietra. You're going to definitely need some rest, before the next part of the tour. The Piazzale Castel San Pietro is situated on the other side of the bridge and worth to climb up on those stairs. At the top, different rewards are waiting for you. The breathtaking, nearly 360-degree view, the TeodoricoRE restaurant, where it was just simply amazing to sit and enjoy the sunshine, the food, and the drinks.
After it, we crossed the bridge again and visited the Arena Museo Opera. I'm not a big opera fan either, but there is a temporary exhibition about the life of Maria Callas, which is until the 18th September 2016. I'm really interested in the previous century and the famous people who lived in that era, so for me, it sounded very attractive. Of course, it's not a must see and also, I found the entrance fee a bit pricey, but I think it was interesting to see.
We took a short bypass to Via Duomo, where you can find the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Matricolare. I don't want to say too much about it, it's a beautiful piece of architecture.
Our final stop was the Piazza delle Erbe, and we had our dinner at the Casa Mazzanti Caffé. I loved the atmosphere of the square, there is a flea market in the middle and the buildings are simply amazing around it. This was one of my favourite spots, I really recommend to finish your tour here.
Better have cash with you. There are some cafés, where you can't pay with credit card, or just simply can't use it under ten euros. The earlier, the better. If you want to avoid the massive flow of tourists and gaze around the top spots, arrive in the morning, 9-10 AM is ideal.
Verona is a perfect place to get lost and stroll along down its streets, even for those who don't really get the Romeo and Juliet feeling. I know, I'm gonna be so mainstream right now, but I can't say better: Verona is a beautiful jewelry box of Northern Italy.