Verona

Verona was a Roman municipality from 49BC onwards and still has a few conserved structures from that period. I took a walk to most of them today whilst I was getting my bearings around the city.

The first example was impossible to miss as it is only a few yards/metres from my hotel. It was built in 30AD and is still in use for large scale opera and theatre productions. Unfortunately, the next performances are on 22nd (Madame Butterfly), 23rd (Romeo & Juliet) and 24th (Aida) but we leave Verona on the 21st. The Arena is the dominant feature in Piazza Bra.

The Arena dominates Piazza Bra
The Arena dominates Piazza Bra
Only a small section of the outer ring of the Arena still stands. The rest was destroyed by an earthquake in 1117.
Only a small section of the outer ring of the Arena still stands. The rest was destroyed by an earthquake in 1117.
A section of the Arena
A section of the Arena

There are a couple of Roman gates that are still standing – Porta Bosari and Porta Leona.

The Bosari Gate
The Bosari Gate, built circa 50BC to 40BC
A diagram of how the gate would have originally looked with circular towers on each side. It was part of the city wall and was the main entrance to the city.
A diagram of how the gate would have originally looked with circular towers on each side. It was part of the city wall and was the main entrance to the city.
The remaining section of the Leona Gate
The remaining section of the Leona Gate

There is a Roman theatre (Teatro Romano) on the opposite side of the river that is also still in use for theatrical productions. It was built in the first century BC. Only segments of the original theatre are still standing but enough t be able to see that it would have been an impressive structure in its day.

Parts of the original lower amphitheatre seating remain
Parts of the original lower amphitheatre seating remain
A gate leads to arches at the upper level of the theatre
A gate leads to arches at the upper level of the theatre
The arches on the upper level provide an overview of the city
The arches on the upper level provide an overview of the city
Name inscriptions are still visible on some of the arches - Valerian in this case
Name inscriptions are still visible on some of the arches – Valerian in this case
A view of part of the city from the upper level of the theatre
A view of part of the city from the upper level of the theatre

The Piazza della Erbe is a market square that was once the forum during the Roman Empire. It features a fountain with a statue that is called Madonna Verona and was erected in 1368 – but the female sculpture that was used is actually a Roman one dating to 380AD. The piazza is surrounded by historical buildings from the 13th century.

Piazza della Erbe
Piazza della Erbe
Madonna Verona Fountain
Madonna Verona Fountain
The baroque Palazzo Maffei, decorated by statues of Greek gods, borders the Piazza della Erbe. The symbol of the Republic of Venice, St. Mark's Lion, is on the marble column in front.
The baroque Palazzo Maffei, decorated by statues of Greek gods, borders the Piazza della Erbe. The symbol of the Republic of Venice, St. Mark’s Lion, is on the marble column in front.
The frescoed Mazzanti Houses are behind the market.
The frescoed Mazzanti Houses are behind the market.

During my wanderings, I came across the House of Juliet (Casa di Giulietta), the busiest attraction that I saw all day. People were packing the entrance ‘tunnel’ and were clamouring to be photographed rubbing the right breast of the statue of Juliet for good luck (she of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet). The museum on the site of the 13th century home of the Dal Capello family (Juliet Capulet is supposedly derived from the family name). There is a balcony where Romeo and Juliet supposedly romanced and, regardless of whether there is any true connection, tourists flock to the site.

'Juliet's balcony' attached to the museum
‘Juliet’s balcony’ attached to the museum
Even young kids were getting in on the breast rubbing action!
Even young kids were getting in on the breast rubbing action!

The walls inside the entrance tunnel are ‘plastered’ with love messages. Thousands of love notes have been written on the walls but many have also been written on Band-Aids (called plasters in the UK) and stuck to the walls. And what better place could there be to leave a ‘love lock’ than at the site of Romeo and Juliet, the worlds best known love story? A pair of metal gates near to Juliet’s statue are covered with locks.

Love messages written on (or stuck to) the wall of the tunnel to Juliet's house.
Love messages written on (or stuck to) the wall of the tunnel to Juliet’s house.
Metal gates covered with 'love locks'
Metal gates covered with ‘love locks’
Colourful love locks
Colourful love locks

Other Shakespearean locations in the city include Juliet’s tomb and the home of Romeo Montecchi (Juliet’s lover who became Romeo Montague in the Shakespeare play). Perhaps I’ll visit them during my stay in Verona.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s