Italy : Verona, City of Love!

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It is said about Verona that, ‘if you love someone, you should take them to Verona’!

It may not be the most romantic place in the world (there are some very strong contenders to that crown – Maldives, Santorini, Paris and the likes) but it definitely is the place where Shakespeare set the most famous love story in the world – Romeo & Juliet. It is also a setting for a reasonably popular Hollywoood love story Letters to Juliet & now that it’s touched by Bollywood as well (Rockstar), it braces up for more visitors than ever!

And this is the place to be on St. Valentine’s Day! Not just for being the ‘City of Romance’ but for a lot of events the city organises around St. Valentine’s Day.

Verona is quite an underrated, overlooked city (with tourists outside Europe) in Northern Italy’s Veneto region when compared with it’s much celebrated neighbours – Venice & Milan.

 

 

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We arrived in Verona, that looked, smelt and felt freshly bathed in May showers.

 

We journeyed via train from Lausanne to Milan to Verona, speeding through Swiss mountains, alpine lake Maggiore, gently hilly Italian landscape studded with tall cypress trees, lake Garda, lonesome and large farmhouses and bright blood red Italian poppies growing in clusters in the wild.

 

 

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Like so many European cities, Verona is mushroomed around River Adige, that flowed furiously full owing to all the rain.
The city looked postcard perfect with all the elements to inspire a painter, the river, trees, sky and rising tall above the hill – San Giorgio Church.

 

 

 

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Beholding a freshly soaked city is one of the most refreshing sights!
I believe it’s the perfect time to get your cameras clicking!

 

 

Rain does wonders to the landscape photographs, clears out the dust, your vision goes farther than farther, the sky has the right proportion of blue and white on it’s palette, the moisture adds so much colour to everything from bricks to trees to bric-a-brac.

 

 

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In short, it’s a lottery to be in Verona in this weather!
On Ponte Pietra, a small pedestrian only bridge over Adige.

 

 

While weather was a bonus, the surefire real deal was staying in a 14th century palace hotel Due Torri. I haven’t reviewed it on TripAdvisor (I usually review hotel stays there) so I’d elaborate here.

Well, it’s in the heart of historic centre, with a lot of points of interest at walking distance. It is as grand and vintage as they come. We had a gorgeous ‘period’ room with large stately windows and lovely views to ourselves! The breakfast was great although I remember more of the breakfast hall than what I ate!! It’s a quiet, dreamy, polished palace and has been a home away from home to a lot of who’s who.

 

 

 

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In Due Torri, Verona.
It constantly felt like being on the sets of a period drama, which was quite amusing! 🙂

 

What was more amusing was looking through the windows!!

No, seriously. The windows opened into the parking/patio of St. Anastasia church which was for reasons unbeknown until now, filled with several sets of parents sitting on haunches or standing and lots of chirpy hyper-excited teenage girls and some boys.

 

 

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As I moved the curtains to take a peek through the windows, I heard a huge cheer rising from the crowd!
And some cameras flashing at the windows!!

 

 

OMG! Was it my moment, the moment?!?! Have I been ‘discovered’? Have I become a celebrity and not yet know about it?? Is this my straight-out-of-movie moment?

Lot of OMGs began and followed all my thoughts that were turning up quite fast in my head.

 

 

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I was beginning to feel flattered when the cheer turned to giggles and died down. 

 

 

 

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It wasn’t for me after all, I told my equally bemused husband!!
Oh! I was so close…

 

 

It was later, that we found out that it was for a band called ‘One Direction’ that stayed in the rooms above us! All the girls had been waiting for a picture, a peek or a wave from ‘One Direction’! Literally.

 

 

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Girls! you’ve been looking at the ‘Wrong Direction’!
P.S: I loved the theatrical play of light and shadow in this room! 😀

 

 

Now that  you’ve made your acquaintance with this city, let me take you closer to the caption. To all the romantic hot spots in Verona although I’d put staying at Due Torri as numero uno.

 

A short walking distance from Piazza del Erbe, is situated, the tourist sensation of Verona – Juliet’s House. The most famous address in Verona :  No.23, Via Capello.

The love story of  Romeo-Juliet has been told and re-told and re-retold with such great conviction and passion over the time that the segregating line between fact and fiction in now just a blur.

Although there is no suggestion in the pages of history of Shakespeare ever visiting Verona or the existence of these two rival families, you’d be taken with great surprise to see the number of people visiting the place! But Shakespeare definitely had some fascination with Italian cities for sure. Besides Romeo& Juliet, Taming of the Shrew & Two Gentlemen of Verona are set here and we all know about The Merchant of Venice!!

If you’re wondering about my motivation, it was purely Hollywood. Letters to Juliet showed this city so exquisitely that it was worth dedicating a long weekend to it.

 

 

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Casa di Giulietta featuring the most famous balcony in the world!

 

 

 

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The real age Romeo & Juliet!
Needless to say, the crowd cheered 🙂

 

 

 

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Love struck come in great numbers here in this small courtyard to be moved by such display of love!

 

 

 

 

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Besides the balcony, Juliet’s House features a statue of Juliet, a letterbox to Juliet and walls chock-a-block with messages and promises of love!

 

 

The entrance to this courtyard is free but you’d have to pay to get up to the balcony. You can spend anywhere between half an hour to an hour here. If you just wish to play the audience half an hour should suffice but if you wish to play Romeo-Juliet, that is go up to the balcony and/or recite the famous lines penned by Shakespeare, you might take an hour!

Oh yes! People do that.

 

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They say touching the right breast finds you true love if you haven’t already.
Guess what, there was a huge queue.

 

I hope all those who are now nodding in disbelief or raising brows are not the ones who’ve been to Prague Castle!

 

 

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And that’s us on the backdrop of padlocks of love!

 

 

 

 

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One of my favourite pictures from Verona, also in Casa di Giulietta

 

 

 

 

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By tradition (a touristic one) people stick a chewed gum and pen down their initials and small messages on it!
Love makes people do crazy things, if you had any doubt about that, it must be gone for good by now.
I can almost hear a lot of ‘eews’ and ‘yikes’ and some ‘awws’ too!

 

 

 

 

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That’s where the ‘real’ letters to Juliet go!

 

 

While Romeo and Juliet is the work of pure fiction, Letters to Juliet has some of facts mixed in the fact-fiction formula. There actually is a Juliet Club that receives, reads and responds to all the mail sent to Juliet. They even hold a letter writing contest fittingly called ‘Dear Juliet’, where some of the most beautiful letters win great prizes.

If you wish to try your luck, you may click on the Juliet Club link above.

 

 

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This small courtyard welcomes hoards of love-lorn young and old hopeless romantics.

 

 

While some sights are plain heartwarming others are mushy, so if, puppy love is not your thing or you don’t have a single romantic bone in your body, you might want to avoid it. But I’d say go for it, it’s one of a kind place and it gives Verona a lion’s share of it’s claim to fame.

 

 

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Romantics may march forwards!

 

 

 

 

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A small souvenir shop inside Juliet House, sells these locks and other take home keepsakes.

 

I wonder if Shakespeare was alive today, would he be getting a royalty on this as well?

As the story goes, Romeo’s house is close to Juliet’s House but you can’t visit it, as it is a private residence and it makes little sense to see it from the outside.

We finished our Juliet trip at Juliet’s Tomb which is also walkable from Juliet House. Yeah, so there is a tomb as well! If being/looking at Juliet’s house makes you feel silly, this might make you feel sillier.

If there wasn’t any Juliet, what’s with the grave?

 

 

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Entrance to Juliet’s Tomb

 

 

 

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A love seat at Juliet’s Tomb

 

 

 

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An excerpt from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet on a plaque at Juliet’s Tomb

 

 

 

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As opposed to Juliet House, very few visitors come to Juliet’s Tomb.

 

 

 

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Got a penny, got a wish? ‘coz there’s a wishing well!

 

 

 

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It’s a good escape from the madness of city…very serene!

 

 

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Juliet’s Tomb.

 

 

 

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Herein lies, the quintessential heroine of romance, Juliet!
They say leaving a flower at Juliet’s grave, brings good luck.

 

 

 

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A series of copper plaques showing the legend of Romeo & Juliet

 

 

 

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Notwithstanding the credibility of the place, it is one of a quiet escapes from the buzzing city.

 

 

 

 

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Finally a large open heart in the garden of Juliet’s Tomb.
Well, the image says it all…

 

 

Have a large open heart!

And a Happy St. Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Love,

Pastlife Seamstress

 

P.S: Lots more on Verona, coming in next post!

Comments

  1. Howdy??
    A bit late though, Happy Valentine’s Day to both of you & I know you would still take my wishes…
    Best travelogue out of the lot by far. Whenever I see both of you, it reminds me of someone else & you know,
    Them Say…
    “If every person you meet reminds you of someone else, consider that you’ve grown old..” No Ways!!!
    🙂 :-):-):-)
    Smile always & spread smiles…. Cheers, PM

    • pastlifeseamstress says:

      Many thanks from the two of us!
      Happy to know you enjoyed reading Verona travelogue 😀

  2. Happy Valentine Day to a Lovely couple in City of Love.

  3. Lovely!!! Nice Valentine post Nikita,expressing Love in different ways.