The Romans originally built on the hill, but there was not enough land for the city. An earthquake in the 12th century destroyed most of the buildings and only restored ruins of the Roman theatre remain.
Geo: 45.4448, 10.9995
Walking tour of Verona this morning. Super weather; clear skies with the temperature reaching 26 degrees. Then in the late afternoon a talk by the co-author of the book (then 2010 movie) "Letters to Juliet" and another tour dinner.
The author Ceil Friedman described how each year thousands of love-torn Dear Dorothy letters addressed to Juliet are received by the Juliet Club, and how a dozen or so "secretaries" provide a hand-written reply to each letter containing encouragement and/or advice. It seems a bit hysterical to me.
We dined at the "12 Apostles" restaurant. When they were doing a cellar refurbishment in 1987 they uncovered (8m below ground) a well-preserved Roman road and the foundations of two ancient buildings. At their own cost they excavated these structures and preserved the remains. An interesting inspection. The house red wine was insipid, and with a bit of effort I was given a more robust wine that was great.
Old VeronaThis graphic shows the first Roman town on the hill above the river (previous pic).
Ponte PietraA rebuilt Roman bridge over the Adige River connects Verona to the pre-3rd century old town on the hill. Like many northern Italian cities they were under the control of French, Germans and various city states through their histories, up until the Unification of Italy under Garibaldi in 1861.
Juliet's BalconyShakespeare's play at the end of the 1500's was based on a 200 year-old Italian love story legend that had been recorded in a novella. Bill (who never visited Italy) put his own twist on the plot and characters. This balcony and courtyard became famous when a team from Hollywood came to Verona in the 1930's to promote their movie. This property owned by the Dal Cappello family seemed close enough to the fictional Capulet family, and canny marketing gave the legend substance. Millions now visit this courtyard each year - don't come on Valentine's Day! Touching Juliet's 1972 statue is meant to help frustrated lovers (yeah, right).
Verona ArenaWho knew? Verona's Arena is older than the Coliseum and is the fourth-largest in Italy. It could accommodate an audience of 30,000. In the 3rd century most of the outer wall was demolished to provide building stone. This remnant of that wall was kept for posterity to (successfully) indicate what it was like. A major earthquake in 1187 also destroyed the upper levels of the arena.
Inside the ArenaThe city is preparing the venue for the summer season of performances. It's new configuration only holds 15,000 and it mostly sells out early.
GelatoTina believes you should have at least two gelatos (gelati?) a day, and she has identified for us the best vendors in the cities we visit. Although the photo does not do it justice, this masterpiece was built in the shape of a petalled flower, comprising many differently-flavoured gelatos. Tasted great too!
12 Apostles cellarAperitifs and hors d'ouevres before going down to the excavated Roman remains.