Sunday, June 27, 2010

Verona, Italy

Verona, known as the City of Love, treasures the most famous love story in history: Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare has immortalized the town of Verona in his famous novel featuring the love tragedy of lovers Romeo Montecchi and Giulietta Capuleti. While in Verona, you will find that Casa de Giulietta (No. 27 Via Cappello), or Juliet's House, is an actual house, with an actual balcony, just as you imagined while reading the play. The background is perfect with ivy growing off of the neighboring walls and the balcony is the perfect height for any Romeo to try and romance a Juliet. Romeo's house is only a short walk down the road, but it's not as impressive as Juliet’s. Despite the debate as to whether the characters actually existed, tourists continue to flock to the famous balcony and to participate in the strange tradition of rubbing the right breast of the bronze statue of Juliet for good luck.

Piazza Erbe is named after the city's old herb market. The fountain in the middle of the piazza, erected in the 14th century, serves as a reminder that this piazza has been used as a marketplace for 2000 years. Today, market stalls abound selling everything from fresh-picked fruits to tourist wares. At the northern end of the piazza is the Baroque Palazzo Maffei (1668), surmounted by statues. In front rises a column supporting the Venetian lion marking Verona's absorption into the Venetian empire. 

The Arco della Costa (Arch of the Rib) connects Piazza Erbe with Piazza dei Signori. A whale rib (yes, an actual whale rib) hangs from an iron chain over the passageway. Legend prophesied that the rib will fall on the first who passes under never to have told a lie. The rib is still hanging there hundreds of years later despite that Kings and Popes alike have passed under. 

A 19th century statue of Dante stands in the center of Piazza dei Signori, with his gaze seemingly fixed on the forbidding Palazzo del Capitano, once home of Verona's military commanders. The 15th century Loggia del Consiglio sits just behind Dante's back and is topped with the statues of Roman worthies born in Verona: Pliny the Elder, the natural historian, and Vitruvius, the architectural theorist. The 84 meter Torre dei Lambert rises from the western side of the courtyard. Climb the 368 stairs for a panoramic view of Verona and the misty hillsides miles away. 

The Tombs of the Scaligeri lie beside the tiny church of Santa Maria Antica. Over the entrance to the church is the impressive tomb of Cangrande I, surmounted by an equestrian statue of the ruler. The other tombs are beside the church behind a wrought iron fence. Towering above the fence are the tombs of Mastino II and Cansignorio, decorated with tiny Gothic spires.

To view all my pictures of Verona, visit