Saturday, 28 June 2008

in fair Verona...

Having laid back sufficiently by Lake Garda we decided to check the scene at Verona, just a half hour away (except we decided to drive around Lake Garda first, stopping for s swim and a picnic lunch en route, naturally). The quirky little campsite had great views, was run by hippies - in fact I was mistaken for a campsite worker the next morning - and was just a short walk from the very pretty walled old town, nestled as it is in the bend of the river.

The city is unsurprisingly a World Heritage site, preserving side by side Roman relics, a medieval castle, Gothic churches, Renaissance palaces and Venetian piazzas. It was in one of the latter that we sipped the local wine and watched the world go by as we made the most of the Italian tradition of aperitivi. Basically if you go into a bar in Italy between 7 and 9pm and order a drink you will either be brought a selection of free snacks by the waiter or else invited to help yourself from a free buffet. In the cheaper establishments it's a case of paper plates and mini slices of pizza, but here - seeing as we were paying what we like to call "view tax" on our glasses of the local Bordelino wine - it was china bowls, marinated zucchini, spiced croutons and fried chicory. Delicious. We rather exploited the bar's range of snacks to the extent that neither of us needed any supper.

Afterwards we wandered the lively streets taking in beautiful courtyards and ancient walls, clocking the Roman Arena - which is now used for concerts rather than mass slaughter - and grabbing an ice-cream.

We stumbled upon the Casa Guilietta - supposedly the home of Shakespeare's Juliet and now quite clearly a shrine to love. Every inch of the walls by the entrance was covered in amorous graffiti. A discreet "TB loves KS" was added in black biro.

A stroll along the river took us back up to the campsite past many a hand-holding couple and the Roman Theatre, currently playing host to Hamlet. On the way we paused among yet more couples to admire again the view from Castle San Pedro. We could understand why so many had gathered there - Verona is a truly romantic and passionate city.

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