Ever since I’ve read Shakespeare’s “Rome and Juliet” (and later seen the movie) I’ve dreamt of visiting “fair Verona”, the Italian city home to the world’s most famous lovers. Even though Shakespeare had never been to Italy, the tragic story of two lovers from Verona was well known and written before Shakespeare.
With my girlfriend Natalya, this was sort of a great honeymoon destination. Altough it was hot as hell (as one can imagine in summer) the experience was amazing and every corner of a picturesque street made me feel like I was there when the action in the play took place.
Fortunately before cruising there by car from Padua, I looked up some information about the city Verona. A good idea is to always check out the city’s official website (in this case the portal commune ). Good thing I used to take some Italian lessons when I was younger! Also I’ve looked up information about the landmarks related to Romeo and Juliet (two excellent sources: Let Romeo & Juliet Show You Verona, Italy and Romeo & Juliet, Verona) and was dieing to find a cozy romantic restaurant for the perfect dinner.
Verona is the second largest city after Venice, in the region called Veneto (in the North of Italy). It’s one of the few Italian cities to best preserve the historical heritage. Verona is home to the Roman Amphitheater (also known as The Arena), which dates back to the first century A.D. A lot of interesting buildings caught our eyes, among them: Palazzo Barbieri (where the Town Hall is), Gran Guardia Palace, The Roman Theatre and Palazzo Guastaverza.
After reading through some travel booklets, we decided to start our meeting with the most famous lovers of all times, by first visiting Juliet’s House (It., La Casa de Giulietta). It is one of the locations I’ve been dieing to see in a long while. The house is located in Via Cappello. The building is breathtaking: tall with mellow brick façade, dating from 13th century. Too bad the house is not opened for the public. Though Shakespeare never mentioned to balcony in his play (only said that Juliet’s window was “above”), it’s probably the most important landmark related to Juliet’s house. Just below the balcony we admired the bronze statue of Gulietta and we even managed to take a picture with it. Rubbing the right breast is said to bring luck…guess what we did? It’s amazing how many people queue up to do that!
Hand in hand, we started walking along the narrow streets, packed with ancient buildings with terracotta roofs. We were trying to find Romeo’s House. It took quite a bit of searching until we found the House of the Montagues (Romeo’s house) on Via Ponte Nuovo, just close to Piazza Erbe. Unfortunately the house is in such bad condition that no one is allowed inside. But our booklet read that the house was built in the 14th century, with Gothic elements.
A little sad to see that Romeo seems to be of less importance for the municipality, we decided to look for Juliet’s tomb. It’s located in the monastery of Capucins, in Via del Pontiere, near the river. There isn’t much left of the old monastery, only the cloisters and the chapel. Within the grounds we saw the stone sarcophagus, on a stone floor covered by a dim light. It seemed to be the perfect resting place for a tragic heroine. I only wondered why we couldn’t get a hold of Romeo’s tomb.
Strangely enough we were told that newlyweds have their wedding photos taken at the site of the tomb. And someone even told us we could have our own wedding there as it is one of the top 10 locations to get married.
Our “encounters” with Romeo and Juliet were pretty much finished and we were searching for some romantic things to do. We were told that the view from Torre dei Lamberti is magnificent and we could see the most beautiful panoramic view of the city from the top. So we headed to Piazza dei Signori and entered through the courtyard of the Mercato Vecchio (Engl. Old Market ) and we took the stairs to the top. The view was indeed magnificent. A romantic place to end a romantic day. Or maybe not…
I surprised my girlfriend with a romantic dinner at a secluded cafe, just near Piazza Erbe.