If you are planning to tour Europe, consider the Veneto region of northern Italy on the Gulf of Venice. Venice is its best-known city and an extremely popular tourist destination. But the Veneto region is a lot more than Venice. It hosts many other excellent tourist attractions, and you won’t fight huge crowds. You may avoid tourist traps, and return home feeling that you have truly visited Italy. This article examines tourist attractions in the Shakespearean town of Verona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to read our companion articles on northern Veneto, southern Veneto, and the university city of Padua.
Verona. I can’t hear this word without thinking of the phrase, Two Gentlemen of Verona, a not very well-known Shakespeare play. Verona was the setting of a particularly well-known Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet. This city of more than a quarter million has a long, bloody history. On an Easter Monday more than two hundred years ago the locals expelled the French occupiers. The Roman emperor Julius Caesar spent a lot of time here, and probably enjoyed many of the sights described next.
Verona has quite a collection of vestiges from its Roman days. Its Roman amphitheatre is the third largest in Italy and could hold about 25,000 spectators in 44 tiers of marble seats. While only fragments of the outer walls remain, the interior is virtually intact. This edifice often hosts fairs, theatre, opera and other public events, especially during the summer. A First Century B.C. Roman theatre was transformed into a housing site but in the Eighteenth Century the houses were demolished and the site restored. Nearby you’ll find the Ponte di Pietra (Stone Bridge), a Roman arch bridge crossing the Adige River, completed in 100 B.C. Retreating German troops destroyed four arches in World War II but the bridge was rebuilt in 1957 using original materials.
Verona’s largest church is the Fifteenth Century Sant’Anastasia whose interior is considered one of northern Italy’s finest examples of Gothic architecture, and believe me this competition includes many entries. The city is brimming with churches, castles, and palaces. Don’t leave Verona without visiting those star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. The Twelfth Century Casi di Giulietta (Juliet’s House) long belonged to the Dal Cappello family and because it’s not a long way from Cappello to Capulet maybe… This lovely house even possesses a courtyard balcony. Yes, the house at Via Cappello, 23 probably isn’t the real thing, but crowds come to gawk and dream. This might be the place to propose marriage.
What about food? Verona's cuisine features typical dishes of the Po Valley plains: mixed boiled meats, nervetti (calf’s foot and veal shank salad), and risotto, often prepared with a healthy douse of Amarone wine. Not only the wine is classified. Verona is home to a classified cheese, Monte Veronese. But who would think that rice is also classified? The Riso Nano Vialone Veronese is a laboratory-developed rice first introduced into the area in 1945. It now represents 90% of the local production. Is it better than other rice? Locals obviously think so. I promise to taste it on my next trip to Verona.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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