Holiday crowds in Verona

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May 2nd 2015
Published: May 3rd 2015
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We started our sightseeing this morning at the Museo Lapidario Maffeiano where we purchased 48 hour Verona Cards that entitle us to see pretty much everything that we want to see while we are here in Verona. The museum consisted of Etruscan, Greek and Roman stelae and funerary monuments. It certainly made us think. Here we were looking at headstones prepared for people who lived and died more than 2,000 years ago. In another 2,000 years there'll be no such tangible record of our lives and deaths as we move more and more to an entirely digital existence!

We walked by the Arena, but it was ridiculously busy in and around the Piazza Bra which we assume was due to it being a holiday weekend and/or the 'Wings for Life World Run' that is on on Sunday. There was a queue to enter the Arena so we decided that we would leave that until later in the day. We shuffled along the Via Mazzina in a mass of people; it was just crazy how many people there were! Eventually the sea of pedestrians flowed out into the Piazza Erbe ... where it was only marginally less crowded. There was a market on in the square so heaps of people were in the square milling around the market stalls. It was all starting to freak me out a bit.

Next, Bernie tried to guide us to the Museo Miniscalchi Erizzo. As soon as we turned into the smaller streets we left the masses behind. What a relief! There may not have been any people, but we were really struggling to locate the museum in the backstreets of Verona so I had a look at the map to see if I could help; I know, a stupid idea really for someone as directionally challenged as me. However, I was able to read the bit that said that the museum is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays!! We abandoned that plan and started heading towards the Fiume (River) Adige where we took some photos from the Ponte Garibaldi.

From the bridge we continued on to the Duomo, Battistereo e Scavi Archeologica. This is a cathedral dedicated to Saint Maria Assunta which proved to be a fascinating site that has been in use since Roman times. First there were Roman villas with thermal baths and a few small temples. The first Christian basilica was built between 362-380 A.D. and remnants of the mosaic floor can still be seen today. The first basilica was replaced soon after with a larger version that survived into the 7th century A.D. before collapsing. The basilica was subsequently reconstructed and/or substantially renovated in the 8th, 12th, 15th, 16th and 19th centuries. The Romanesque Canon's Cloister built between 1117 and 1120 was particularly atmospheric.

After the basilica we crossed the river using the Ponte Pietro and headed uphill towards the Teatro Romano and Castel San Pietro. The ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre were not accessible and few actual ruins were visible. It appeared that some restoration work may be in progress; either that or the site is used as the depot for all the council's earth moving equipment?? We continued to the top of the hill where the ruins of Castel San Pietro sit overlooking Verona. Unfortunately we had only a rather hazy panoramic view over the city of Verona.

Our next stop was the Chiesa di Santa Anastasia which was temporarily closed to due to a funeral service. Despite this there was a section dedicated to St Peter Martyr at the side of the church where a photographic exhibition was being held. We went in to take a look and started seeing some very familiar images. Many of the photos were of sites that we visited in Jordan in 2013. The remainder of the photos featured Israeli sites.

Knowing that there was street food on offer we returned to the Piazza Erbe for a cheap lunch on the run! The piazza was conveniently located for us to continue our sightseeing with yet another bell tower!! Today we climbed the Torre dei Lamberti to look out over Verona. OK, I have to confess, we paid a Euro to go part way up the tower in the elevator! The Torre dei Lamberti was co-located with the Galleria d'Arte Moderna Achille Forti al Palazzo della Ragione.

Ever since we visited the Museum of Modern Art (MONA) in Hobart we have been a bit dubious about visiting 'modern' art galleries. We needn't have been concerned though as this art gallery didn't have anything later than the mid-20th century and nothing 'abstract'. We need to remember that not all modern art is necessarily abstract and that so-called modern art refers to art painted from around 1860 until the third quarter of the 20th century!

From the gallery we headed down Via Cappello to visit Casa di Guilietta and the infamous balcony. This proved to be a truly horrendous experience with a RIDICULOUS number of people trying to view this celebrated Veronese attraction. There were so many people trying to get through the tunnel to the courtyard that the balcony overlooks that I very nearly had a panic attack and bailed out. In the end I persevered and shuffled along using Bernie as a shield to clear a path!! Once in the courtyard the press of people was a little bit better but, basically we just took a couple of photos and then shuffled back out through the tunnel. Crazy! We didn't take a ride on a gondola in Venice, I think visiting Juliet's balcony is another tourist experience that should have been given a big miss. We didn't even contemplate going up to stand on the balcony, we wanted to escape the overwhelming press of people.

As we returned to Chiesa di Anastasia we stumbled across the Scaliger Tombs, a group of five Gothic funerary monuments celebrating the Scaliger family, who ruled in Verona from the 13th to the late 14th century. Fortunately, on our return, the Church of St. Anastasia had reopened to visitors. This church is another fine example of Italian Gothic architecture. The church, the largest in Verona, was begun in 1290. Work continued between the 14th and 16th centuries. Despite centuries of work the facade remains incomplete, but the interior is spectacular.

Gelato o'clock!! This afternoon we went to a really posh Gelateria where the gelato was very artistically applied to the cones to look like flowers. Usually we don't mix our flavours but, to ensure that we ended up with beautiful gelato flowers, we chose vaniglia/caffè (me) and limone/lampone (Bernie). Delicious.

After our gelato fix we returned to the Arena where there was no longer a queue to enter. Hmmn, with the remains of the Roman era arena fitted with plastic seats to host modern events it lacks a certain charisma. With all the paraphernalia on the outside for the run tomorrow and all the modern fitments on the inside the Arena was quite a disappointment compared with other Roman ruins we have seen.

We bought very expensive water and beer last night because we couldn't find the Supermarket while we were wandering around. Having Googled its location last night we made sure to return to the hotel via the Pam Supermarket. See, that was the problem, we were looking for a Spar or Co-Op branded supermarket. Who knew there was a supermarket called Pam?! Well worth the effort as the beer was cheap and they were practically giving the water away.

Still making up for the expensive dinner that we had on our last night in Venice we went for another cheap dinner tonight at the Hamburgheria very conveniently just down the Corso Porto Nuova from the Best Western Hotel. OK, OK, it sounded a bit fancy, but it was basically upmarket McDonalds!! At least is was licensed and we were able to wash our hamburgers down with beer and red wine rather than soft drink.

Steps for the day 20,711 (14.11 km)

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6th May 2015

hello again
Love the gelato flowers, very different. I can never resist an extra flavour! As always some great pics. Phil is out with his camera at the moment but nothing here as flash as what you are seeing. We are in Toc for our bowls week so I think he will mainly capture flowers from the motel garden and river views from the beach today. A few of the guys will be at the beach stoking up fires as I type, putting on enough camp ovens to feed roast and vegies to 60 people! It gets bigger every year. Not a bad life, sitting around with a glass of wine and watching a group of men cook for us all. Looking forward to following more of your adventures.
6th May 2015

Gelato everywhere!
Hi Janet, It seems that nearly every second shop here is a Gelateria!! We are certainly making pigs of ourselves on it because it tastes so much better in Italy. Or is it just because we are on holidays? It's a similar sort of thing to having a meal cooked by the men I think?! 💜 T

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