Our innkeeper in Venice thought we were going to be disappointed in Verona and should stay an extra day in Venice. He’s one of those really passionate Venetians who can’t imagine why anyone would want to go anywhere else. (Sounds like some of my New Orleans friends)
And when we first arrived in Verona, we thought, well perhaps he was right. All the same we ventured forth on a single day’s visit to the town of Shakespeare’s Juliette. We first tackled the Arena, a roman-era coliseum that is now used for festival concerts and summer opera. Charlie was troubled by how they overlaid new seating and stages so that they could do performances. He’s such a purist. “There’s a reason why they call them ruins!” He would echo that at the old roman theater the next day.
As an aside, it turns out that Juliette’s house is a fraud. That is, no one really knows if the house that is proffered to be her house is in fact her house. What is clear is that the owners have promulgated this fraud for many years, and only the locals really know the truth.
When we returned to the hotel, we decided that it would be better to take the bicycles that were freely available from the hotel. And that did the trick. Verona is a great bike town. Yes, the streets are a bit busy, but it’s easy to get around, hard to get truly lost, and you can move around the old city quickly. The following day, we saw two churches, the old bridge, roman ruins (toured the museum), all before a delightful lunch overlooking the river that crescents around the city. We still had plenty of time to leisurely ride back and pick up a cab to the train station for our trip to one of my most favorite cities, Florence.