Excerpt Day 2: Three Perfect Days in Verona


Day Two:

Your second day in Verona dawns rosy on ancient monuments. You are ready to tackle the day after getting your coffee fix at the Cappa Café, a cozy joint with a bohemian feel.

With that jumpstart to your day, you head a few blocks north to Verona’s Duomo. The Romanesque exterior, and a breathtaking expanse of columns and chapels inside are meant to impress, as this is the city’s main cathedral. Light a candle if you like, and take a moment to ponder Titian’s famous Assumption of the Virgin, located in a chapel towards the back of the church.Duomo

A short walk back towards the river and you’ll find Verona’s oldest surviving bridge, Ponte Pietra, simply meaning ‘stone bridge’. An original Roman construction, the bridge was rebuilt by residents even after its destruction during WWII.  A plaque is inscribed with words from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in both Italian and English. “There is no world without Verona walls” it reads, a true statement for those who have come to love the dear city.

Crossing the bridge, the Teatro Romano comes into view, a Roman amphitheater home to the Museo Archeologico, built right into the grassy hill. Walking up the steps of the amphitheater, imagine the performances and how it looked 2000 years ago. The rooms inside the museum are crammed full of Roman artifacts, enormous columns and tiny oil lamps alike.

Though it’s time for lunch, you’re still in a Roman frame of mind. Head for a street café near the river on Via Leoni, where you can enjoy a panino, a simple sandwich, in the sunshine. All along this thoroughfare, the ruins of ancient city walls rise up from the middle of the street.giardino

Refreshed and ready for more, the afternoon is full of inspiring views for the camera-happy traveler. Cross the river at the Ponte Navi, and head to the Giardino Giusti for a stroll in a Renaissance garden. Italians are fans of a sophisticated garden with hedges and fountain statues though, admittedly, modern Italians don’t have much more than a balcony flowerbox. Climb up to the higher terrace and admire the multiple towers that dot Verona’s skyline.

castelloAs many locals will agree, the best view of the city can be found from atop the Castel San Pietro. Take the street back north to the river, where you’ll climb the stairs to the left of the theater. Street names aren’t helpful since this same road changes name every block, a phenomenon of Italian city planning. Climb the steps to the castle where friends and lovers sit and chat, perhaps waiting for the sun to sink towards the horizon. Once again, feel the Italian way of life calling for you to slow down.

Do as the Italians do and head back to Piazza delle Erbe for a spritz aperol, an orange colored white wine cooler that is extremely popular before dinnertime. Look around and notice everyone has ordered the same thing. The locals, after all, are creatures of comfort and enjoy the habit of a drink before dinner. Head back to your hotel to rest and get spruced up for tonight.

For a romantic hilltop dinner, visit the classy Piper Bar & Restaurant overlooking the city. Order the Gnocchetti Patate con Scampi for a little seafood paired with Verona’s favorite pasta made from potatoes.  Linger to enjoy the sassy contemporary atmosphere and the twinkling lights of the city below. With a drink list just as long as the menu itself, you’ll be prepped to head to Verona’s hottest nightclub just down the street, Alter-Ego. The young stylish crowd spreads out through several rooms and outdoor patios.  You’ll surely be dancing until the wee hours.

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