Verona is a dream come true. One of the most romantic cities we’ve ever been in, you can really feel the passion of the people.
We highly recommend Maria Pia Tours for this vibrant city. We took two tours with her and it was incredible. She is so knowledgeable and entertaining. A lovely Italian sprite. Our first tour was the story of Romeo and Juliet (or Giulietta if you will). We stopped by their houses, the place where they supposedly met, stood on Juliet’s balcony, regaled in the dreams of the most romantic story ever heard, and even got to drop a love lock off at Juliet’s house. There’s a statue of Juliet outside the house and if you touch her right breast, it’s supposed to be good luck. The locks are on panels and once they are full they are taken down only to be put in a museum. If you keep track of your panel number you’ll be able to go see the exhibit and find your lock once it’s completed in about 5-10 years from now. Glad we took a photo of our panel number, otherwise we would searching for a long time at the exhibit.
Our second tour with Maria Pia was a night walking tour. She takes you on a journey with stories of architecture, pointing out how takes pride in making new buildings around old ones. You can see old ruins in walls, on walkways, below the street, fossils in walkways. Our favorite part of this tour was when Maria told us we were going shopping and took us into this clothing store. We both looked at each other like, what the heck are we doing, this is supposed to be a history tour. We weren’t sure what she was talking about until we went downstairs. The entire bottom floor of the store is built around old ruins. So cool!
Our next stop was a walk through Castelvecchio, a most spectacular medieval edifice in Verona, telling stories from centuries ago. Castelvecchio was constructed on the banks of the Adige by Cangrande II della Scala in 1354 in order to defend Verona’s people and also to have a possible escape-route northwards where his Austrian relatives lived. The Scala family ruled Verona during the time of Romeo and Juliet and it is rumored that the two met at a Scala party.
Maria Pia is a true gem of a tour guide. And hilarious. She left us with her number and said if you ever need anything you have a friend in Verona. Our hearts were so full after spending the day with her.
The next day we took a tour of the Arena di Verona! This is a site to see. It’s older than the Coliseum in Rome by 50 years! It used to be twice the size until an earthquake destroyed half of it in 1117. The Arena is still in use today for concerts, operas, plays, and tours. It is our intention to come back and see a show here. We spent hours walking around, taking photos, and putting on a boomerang clinic in the center of the Arena – see our Instagram for that mess. We also walked around their market outside of the Arena and took in some glorious people watching around the square.
We then, took a trip over to Juliet’s tomb. This is where Friar Laurence’s church was where she sought advice and refuge during the tumultuous family rivalry between the Montagues and Capulets. The tomb is where she was said to have killed herself after thinking that Romeo had died. This story is truly powerful and you can feel the energy at this location.
We can’t wait to visit Verona again. One of our favorite stops on our two month tour of Europe!
Enjoy the Ride,
Justin and Lindsay