God has blessed Dustin and I with an incredible family and an amazing group of friends. Thanks to their generosity and God’s grace, we were fortunate enough to spend 16 action-packed, absolutely spectacular days exploring Italy and all its splendor for our honeymoon last year. After visiting Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Rome, several cities on the Amalfi Coast, Florence, and Venice, we made one final stop in Verona.
I never knew much about Verona except that it has come to be known for the story of Romeo and Juliet. I saw a movie called “Letters to Juliet” that was filmed there so we thought it would be fun to visit Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House) and see the balcony that is known around the world as the place where Juliet stood while Romeo professed his love to her in the famous story by Shakespeare. Something that many people do not know is that it is very possible that Romeo and Juliet were only a figment of Shakespeare’s imagination and not actual people. Even still, people come from all over the world to write to Juliet in hopes that she will give them advice on love. And many people like Dustin and I still want to see the famed house and balcony- whether the story is true or fictional. So on our way back to Milan from Venice, we stopped for a few hours in Italy’s city of love.
Upon arriving, we took another hop on/hop off tour so that we could see the entire city in the short time that we had there. We caught the bus in front of the train station. The guide on our tour bus pointed out many popular attractions and gave us a little history of the city.
Since Juliet’s House was the main reason for our visit, we got off the bus at the stop nearest to it. We quickly found the street where it was located and came upon an arched doorway to the entrance of the courtyard where you can view Juliet’s balcony.
The walls of this entryway are completely enveloped in love notes, signatures, hearts, and the initials of lovers from many decades past and present. We too, marked our love on this wall by inscribing our names in one of the few blank spaces left. It was so full of writings that people had resorted to sticking bandages on the wall to temporarily affix their initials to it when an empty space could not be located. We got lucky though and found a tiny space left on the actual wall to write.
Inside the courtyard just below Juliet’s balcony is a bronze statue of her. The legend is that placing your hand over her right breast will bring good fortune in love. My grandmother saw these pictures of us and not being familiar with the legend, thought we were a little weird. So now I feel the need to tell everyone the story prior to showing them the pictures! We opted to skip the tour of the inside, as they charged a fee for it and we aren’t really museum people.
During the quick loop around the city, we remembered hearing about how Verona had its own, lesser- famed, amphitheater much like the Colosseum in Rome, but on a smaller scale, called the Verona Arena. We followed our map until we located it a short distance away. We were told that it was used for the same purposes as the Roman Colosseum with gladiator fights, but it is in much better shape today and actually still used for the opera.
Near the Verona Arena is a wide open piazza called Piazza Bra. We wandered around a bit exploring and came to the conclusion that Verona is a truly charming city that we wished we could’ve spent more time in. It was very well manicured, large but had character, and right in the middle of Venice and Milan, which made it extremely convenient to get to for a day trip visit or longer.
After 2 1/2 weeks in Italy, we decided that a great first time trip to Italy for someone should include the five V’s: Varenna, Vernazza, Vico Equense, Venice and Verona. These were some of our favorite cities that we visited throughout our honeymoon and they all just so happen to all start with the letter V! After our experiences in each city, we also concluded that at least 3 nights in each place would allow enough time to explore and relax without being rushed. 1 night is way too fast, 2 nights only give you one full day and 3 nights is just about perfect. Verona is definitely a place we would like to revisit someday and spend a little more time in!