Wanderlust: Verona, Italy » Joel and Amber Photography Blog

Wanderlust: Verona, Italy

J&A Wanderlust

Jan 17, 2019

Travel Tips Verona, Italy // Huntsville Wedding Photographers Travel The World

Verona: the city of love. Home of Romeo & Juliet, a Roman amphitheater, gnoochi, gorgeous piazzas, and Shakespeare.

It also quickly became our favorite Italian city so far! Siena holds its own as a very close second, but Verona edged it out with our favorite piazza and our favorite pasta of the trip. Not to mention our love for the movie “Letters to Juliet”. I’m going to be completely honest here. That movie is the main reason we added Verona to our itinerary, and we’re both glad we did!

Fun fact, via Rick Steve’s guidebook: “Two real feuding families, the Montecchi and the Cappellos, were the models for Shakespeare’s Montagues and Capulets..and if Romeo and Juliet had existed and were alive today, they would still recognize much of their ‘hometown'”.

Verona was everything we wished it would be. And how perfect a city for our portrait session with Giovanna Aprili!

A city of dreams

Joel and I agreed that Verona is one place we’d love to come back to someday! We toured the city in our typical whirlwind way during this trip. We’re already dreaming of spending a few days watching the city go by as we sip on our coffees at a nearby cafe. There are endlessly beautiful side streets to wander, and our favorite pasta dishes of the whole trip were in Verona.

All our adventuring!

Some of our favorite highlights from our travels through Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland already hit the blog few weeks ago (you won’t want to miss that whirlwind tour!). We’ve also shared even more about our time in MilanCinque Terre and Pisa, and Florence . Today is really fun because we’re sharing some of our favorite memories from our favorite Italian city!

Enjoy this peek into our magical time spent in Verona!

After a somewhat eventful bus ride into the city from our AirBnB, our first stop was this amazing castle. Called castelvecchio, of course, it was build back in the 1300s for a really powerful Verona family. The next picture down shows the wooden bridge we crossed to get into the castle grounds. It felt so authentic!

Inside the castle grounds was just beautiful. We got there pretty early in the morning, and everything was really quiet and peaceful.

Joel especially loved seeing these authentic feeling details scattered throughout the castle grounds. Can’t you just image that lamp lighting the entrance at night while the guards stand at their post?

A second moat, just in case. I read somewhere that they were kind of a nervous family when it came to security.

A game of cricket, anyone?

A walk across the nearby Ponte Scaligero bridge brought some incredible views of the city!

One more stroll around the castle grounds on our way back before heading on to see more of the city!

Our next official stop was the third largest Roman arena in Italy from the first century. Can you believe that most of these pink marble stones are original?!

It’s a concert venue and arena now, and there happened to be a big concert the weekend of our time in Verona. We were thankful for a chance to visit it first thing in the morning before crowds filled up the square!

The Piazza Brá just outside the Roman arena.

It’s clearly time for some coffee and croissants by this point! It was pure Italian bliss as we wandered through the streets to our next coffee adventure stop.

Our coffee stop showcased tons of really, really yummy looking treats. We stuck with freshly baked pastries at this point, but we came back later in the day to get chocolate cake! I didn’t technically get any birthday cake to go with my birthday gelato while we were in Florence. This morsel of cake more than made up for it, and you’ll see a picture of it later!

Next stop: bucket list item. I like Shakespeare well enough, but I’m not totally into his writings like I am Jane Austen. Ever since Verona landed on my radar through one of my favorite movies, “Letters to Juliet”, Juliet’s house has been something I’ve wanted to see!

I actually assumed that the letter part in the Letters to Juliet story was made up for the movie. It turns out that people actually do leave all kinds of letters and notes outside her house. Albeit not nearly as picturesque as the movie, for sure.

There’s actually a Juliet Club that reads all these letters! I think the writer of the best letter is awarded a trip to Verona.

Now you can see why all of our pictures are angled up. We had to crop out the crowd of people in the courtyard! We discovered this is a hugely popular tourist place. Later in the day, we walked back by the entrance to her house. There was a ginormous line waiting to get into the jam-packed courtyard! A local told us that tour buses will stop by Verona for an hour just so everyone can visit Juliet’s house and get back on the bus.

Tip: visit first thing in the morning before all the crowds come out. We were so glad we did!

We went to visit our favorite piazza, Piazza Erbe! Verona put on a special festival that weekend to go along with whatever big concert that was in the arena. Their festival celebrated their culture and history. It included things like these traditional dances, ancient games, and music.

Isn’t it beautiful?! Pictures just don’t even do it justice, especially with festival stands set up in the middle. Check out the old artwork gracing these walls.

They just don’t make stuff like this anymore!

The rest of the day we spent wandering through the streets of Verona. We highlighted a few places around to stop at as we walked by, but we mostly just enjoyed getting a little bit lost in this amazing city.

Some super neat ancient ruins under the city streets. We stumbled across the entrance to this unexpectedly. I think it’s maintained by the archeological society. But down the narrow stairs we ventured to see this sight!

We wandered through the Piazza dei Signori.

Romeo’s house doesn’t create nearly as much fuss as Juliet’s. Maybe since the story isn’t actually real, it needs more than a brick wall to draw the crowds? It sure is a pretty street, though!

Another favorite spot was the Porta Borsari! This once functioned as a toll booth, and it was the main entrance to Verona back in the days of Roman rule. We walked past this gate many times during our visit to Verona. It became somewhat of a landmark for us. We really relished seeing it each time!

Gelato stop!

This pregnant mama was a little tired out by this point, so we spent a couple hours back at our AirBnB to rest before going back into the city.

Close to our AirBnB stood the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore. We walked back to the city center so we could swing by the church. It still just blows my mind thinking about how old all these things are. One of our favorite parts of visiting Europe is all the history!

The different layers that made up the side of this church fascinated me.

There was supposed to be a cool park somewhere around here. We never found the park, but we walked through some very fascinating places. It looks so creepy and deserted, but there were families playing on a tiny playground just on the other side of that building.

Back to normal civilization! We walked across our favorite bridge from earlier in the day to get back into the city. I still loved those views!

Next up: we walked straight back to get that birthday chocolate cake I told you about earlier! It was small but mighty and so, so good. Quite a tasty little morsel. It was so rich that I really didn’t need it to be much bigger!

Italy (and most of Europe) seems to focus on quality over quantity. No complaints here!

You can’t forget the Duomo, of course! Every one of them is so different.

Incredible artwork inside!

Our AirBnB host highly recommended a viewpoint on the edge of the city. We opted for a walk instead of the tram (partly because we couldn’t figure out where the tram entrance even was!).  Lots and lots of stairs. Thankfully it was a beautiful evening and very nice scenery along the way!

Totally worth the million stair steps.

On the way down, we caught a glimpse of the Roman theatre. You could pay to go in, but I think our views were better!

My favorite travel buddy in the world!

After a full day of walking, it was pasta for dinner, of course! This was the best pasta we had on our whole trip! It was dark outside, so these cellphone lit pictures were the best I could get. They were worth documenting, though! The texture and flavor were spot on. Yum!! Since we were heading up north toward the German-influenced Bolzano region and Austria the following day, we loved ending on a great Italian dish.

After dinner, we bus-hopped back to our AirBnB on the edge of town and crashed hard! Our morning started early with a road trip to northern Italy. The Bolzano region (including the beautiful Dolomites!) is coming up next in our Wanderlust series. Stay tuned!

*hugs*

Amber

{Want to explore another city? Tag along on our adventure to Cinque Terre/Pisa or browse the stunning scenery of Acadia National Park! You can also check out the quaint Victoria BC or our favorite Hawaiian island: Kaua’i!}

 

Our Top Recommendations for Verona

House of Juliet (go first thing in the morning to beat the crowds!)

Piazza Erbe (so pretty!)

Castelvecchio grounds

Ponte Pietra (footbridge)

Porta Borsari

Roman Arena

Pasticceria Flego (pastries and cake)

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