Tag Archives: Ponte Pietra Verona

Part 3: Verona

2 Oct

The last two days of our trip north were spent in Verona, a main tourist destination due to its location on the Adige River and its heritage. The city has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.

One of the first sights that greeted us was the Castelvecchio, or Old Castle. Established in 1353, it is considered the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages.

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The castle is described as powerful and compact in size, with very little decoration, built of red bricks. It is considered one of the most prominent examples of Gothic architecture of the age,

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with imposing M-shaped merlons running along the castle and bridge walls.

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It seemed like such a natural place for a selfie.

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Once we crossed the bridge, the look back was stunning. The Ponte Pietra, or Stone Bridge, was originally completed in 100 BC and is the oldest bridge in Verona.

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One of the arches was rebuilt in 1298. Centuries later, toward the end of WWII, four arches of the bridge were blown up by retreating German troops. Fortunately, the bridge was rebuilt in 1957 using original materials.

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Once we crossed the bridge, we took the tram to the top of the city. One could walk, of course, but the day was very hot and humid, so we happily opted for the tram. (Photo taken at mid-point.)

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I had not expected Verona to be such a large city, and the high vantage point provided views of how various parts of the city are divided by the river.

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It also highlighted intricacies of the architectural weaving of buildings.

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After our walk, we decided to lunch along the river, enjoying good food and great views.

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Nighttime in Verona takes on a different vibe. As we headed to the famed amphitheater, we walked through Piazza Bra, the largest piazza in Verona and, some claim, the largest in Italy. (Piazza Unita in Trieste is considered the largest piazza on the waterfront.) Bra, as it is known, is lined with restaurants and cafés, as well as several notable monuments.

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The most noted monument is the Arena, a Roman amphitheater completed around 30 AD and the third largest in Italy after Rome’s Colosseum and the Arena at Capua. (It is thought that the arena in Capua was probably the model used for Rome’s Colosseum.) When first built, the Verona Arena could seat some 25,000 spectators in its 44 tiers of marble seats. Shows and gladiator games once drew spectators from far beyond the city.

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The round façade of the building was originally composed of white and pink limestone from Valpolicella, but a major earthquake in 1117 almost completely destroyed the structure’s outer ring. The current two-story facade is actually the internal support for the tiers; only a fragment of the original outer perimeter wall exists, with three stories remaining.

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The interior is virtually intact, and has remained in use for public events, fairs, theatre and open-aired opera during warm summer nights. (Seating is now limited to 15,000 for security reasons.)

Our final “tourist attraction” was related to Shakespeare as two of his plays were set in the city of Verona, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Romeo and Juliet. Obviously forgetting my high school literature classes, and not having seen many Romeo and Juliet modern movies, I had forgotten that the tale was based on some true events. But such forgetfulness was definitely not the case for the throngs of people lined up to enter Juliet’s house, step on the famous balcony where supposedly the young lovers met, and plaster hand-written notes all over the entrance walls to the property. (Throngs are not our thing.)

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For those interested, however, here is a bit of interesting history from the Museum and House of Juliet.

©Inside the Museum

©The House of Juliet Museum

Afterward, we walked around the city a bit longer, taking in a large market and several other monuments and sites. Having had enough touring, Len and Carlo thought of making a quick get away, but quickly agreed to aperitivo instead.

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Although our trip to Fruily-Venezia Giulia was coming to an end, the six days had provided us with new sites, sounds, tastes, and an abundance of history about this northeast Italian region bordering Austria, Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea.

We could think of no better way to spend our last night than to sip regional white wine, enjoy local cheeses and charcuterie, and witness the illumination teeter-totter as the sun went down and the lights came up over the ancient and beautiful Castelvecchio of Verona.

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Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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