I am terrible… I neglected to write about this trip for about two weeks because I have been so busy!..and then another week before posting
Feb 11 2017
It was really nice to have a more relaxing day trip after spending a very busy day in Venice. This trip was only me and Casey and it was chill. We woke up to catch a train from Campo di Marte – the other train station. It was really far away! Probably a 30 minute fast walk through a very quiet residential part of Florence.
We made it by train easily but were a little lost once we got there because the station is slightly outside the city center. Casey and I ran into two other girls who looked a little lost and we just split a cab to Piazza Bra. Thankfully I had some pointers from a family friend who grew up in Verona so I knew where to go.
Piazza Bra and Arena
Piazza Bra is a really charming square with an arena that resembles the more famous coliseum in Rome (fun fact: the arena in Verona is older than Rome’s). When we got there, it was about 10am so vendors were just setting up their tents for the first day of a Valentine’s day festival! While we had the town to ourselves, we grabbed a pastry from the vendors and went into the arena.
I really wished we had been able to find a walking tour of Verona. I feel like I missed out on a lot of cool things history and facts because I was too lazy to read through a bunch of small-font posters within the arena. It was cool though! We went inside and walked around the entire circle very carefully. It had rained a little bit so the uneven stones were slippery too.
After the arena, we roamed around the streets a little bit and I noticed one major difference from Florence: Verona is so clean! There is barely any graffiti, the buildings have been kept very well with new paint, there was no garbage anywhere and the sidewalks were bigger and even stoned. I seemed more luxurious than Florence because of the cleanliness and many fancy cars zooming around us.
We made our way to Piazza Erbe where there was a small market set up kind of similar to the San Lorenzo markets in Florence. There were really cute twinkle lights stung everywhere which probably looked nice at night. In this Piazza we started to notice a bunch of dogs! Everyone here had dogs (even a couple greyhounds) and they were out walking.
Next stop was Ponte Pietro – the main bridge in Verona I think. Too bad the weather was kind of gross… it was a beautiful area but a little gloomy on this day. We stopped to take a couple pictures on the way to a lookout point that Luca had recommended.
On the way up to the lookout point, there were so many stairs! We saw a man on a bike going down the stairs and it was super impressive. On the way down we saw another man going up the stairs on his bike.
We walked through some quiet, beautiful streets with unique shops before going back to Piazza Erbe and seeing Juliet’s balcony. I personally wasn’t extremely excited about this stop even though it is one of Verona’s most popular/famous sites. It was very crowded and a little underwhelming – but we had to do it!
After being in a mob of people for Juliet’s balcony, it was refreshing to get off the beaten track and find a pizza joint that Luca recommended (again). We each got our own personal pizza which was delicious! I got a carbonara pizza that kind of tasted like an omelet. We also got two classes of the house wine – it was a delicious sparkling white wine! The people here did not speak English, or at least not to us, and we got along just fine!
Being completely stuffed, we walked across the river to explore and see some gardens. The gardens are called Giardino Giusti and it is where some wealthy families in the garment dying industry built a house/factory. The gardens were quite large and we had them mostly to ourselves! It was really nice to see some greenery – something I get very little of in Florence. We relaxed on a bench overlooking the gardens and listened to a bunch of church bells ring at the same time while we tried to figure out how to get back to the train station.
We ended walking back to the station to save a few bucks and it really wasn’t that far away. On the way we even got a little shopping done… we both got matching trench coats – mine is a red wine color and Casey’s is khaki.
By the time we walked to the train station, and then from the station to our house I had about 29,000 steps and it was only around 8pm. I really wanted to get up to 30,000 so I (easily) convinced Jordan to walk and get gelato after dinner. We went to Venchi and stopped by the Piazza della Republica to listen to some street music. The particular band from this night is so clever and had a little puppet attached to the drums so it would dance to the beat.
I made it to around 32,000 steps as I got into bed and felt completely exhausted from the two consecutive days of extreme walking! Even though we didn’t sign up for a tour, I really enjoyed Verona and would recommend others to go there when it gets warm. It is the definition of charming and we had great food!