Day 3: 3 Perfect Days in Verona


Day Three:

On your last day in Verona you intend to soak up the sun as much as possible. After your now usual morning cappuccino, head towards the quietly beautiful Piazza San Zeno, only a brisk ten minute walk.  Turn the corner around Castelvecchio and take the steps to the sidewalk above street-level. Linger to enjoy the beautiful Adige River, and if the sky is clear, glimpse the mountains to the north.IMG_0024

Stop at the tiny grocery store, Fresca Mia, on Via Barbarani and pick up some tasty items for a picnic in the park. Walk your way through a series of mini piazzas until you see the Basilica di San Zeno on your right. Feel free to step inside the church which is named after the patron saint of Verona.  This church is home to a pair of 11th century decorated bronze doors, and the San Zeno Triptych by Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna.

This side of town is quieter but has an enchantingly local feel, where old men sit at the same outdoor café day after day. Take the short walk towards the city walls, cut through by a modern street and an ancient gatehouse. Walk up into the park to enjoy a view of the city, and the mountains beyond. Now simply part of the city landscape, you’ll find the park occupied by joggers, dog walkers and families. Find a park bench to dive into your picnic lunch, and savor the fresh air. When you’ve had your fill, it’s time to head back to the bustling city center.

You’ve passed by several times, but now you are ready to tackle the Torre dei Lamberti, the tower that dominates the center of town. Full of history, this is the court of the Tribune, and the only Renaissance staircase still remaining in the city. You’ll find it just off of Piazza dei Signori where you can get your picture with the statue of the Italian poet Dante, always recognizable by his overly large nose.

Verona- Venezia- Vittorio Veneto 106Below ground, the history buff can see more ruins of the original foundations around the complex, or peruse the current contemporary art show at the Centro Internazionale di Fotografia. The center exhibits internationally recognized photographers from Italy, the US, and across the world. Just around the corner are the tombs of the Scaligeri, the ruling family in Verona in the 14th century. They became rich making ladders, a symbol which is found in their family crest.

Though the Duomo is Verona’s crown jewel, the quirky Church of Sant’Anastasia is its largest. Under construction during the time of the famous Scaligeri family, the building’s façade was never completed. If the organ player is practicing, you will be blessed with the enormous organ singing a sweet but powerful song.  After all that sightseeing, a siesta is in order, so head back to your hotel for a quiet nap before dinner.

Dinner tonight is at the Antica Bottega del Vin, an upscale restaurant just a few blocks off of Piazza delle Erbe. Take the suggestion of the waiter and pair an excellent bottle of red wine with one of their famous local dishes. Top off your meal with an espresso because the night is still young. Walk off dinner with a stroll down to the river, making your way towards the lively university neighborhood. Just down Via XX Settembre you’ll find the amusingly familiar Campus Pub. With Guinness posters hanging from the walls, and large wooden tables, this feels like a pub straight from England, but don’t let it fool you. The young Italians come here to drink and socialize, barhopping until late in the night.

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