Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bella Italia: Lake Garda and Verona

 Warning: Lots of pictures! We loved Verona and I'm trying to show what we loved about it. :) I'll keep the descriptions brief.

Entering the lake country from the Alps (Italy)
 We stopped for lunch at Lake Garda. There are a ton of things to do, but we found a castle jutting out on a peninsula in the southern part of the lake and just visited there. The day was beautiful as were the surroundings!

From the castle, at the northern tip of the peninsula, looking south.

From the castle, looking north.
Our official trip photographer with tag-alongs, I mean, assistants.
We were able to make the drive from Tirano (pronounciation help: Tier-RAHN-o) to Verona in a day. The place we stayed wasn't as spacious as the previous, but the owners were great. They even introduced us to their German-speaking neighbor. (Too bad we don't speak German!) It was interesting hearing the owners speaking Italian to their neighbor, who translated it to German for us, and then us trying to understand. Thankfully, the owner's wife spoke some English and another neighbor spoke French. What a language amalgamation!
We saw several signs for this...I guess Verona has the corner on the market? :)
 We drove our car into downtown Verona and parked at this parking garage. It had two amazing features--classical music (playing all the time) and lights indicating open (green) or full (red) parking spots. We thought the Germans would be incorporating this in the near future. (It seems like it would much more of a German trait than Italian!)

Verona is known for its Roman ruins. It has a very popular "season" in the summer where concerts and Shakespeare plays are performed in this arena. How incredible to listen to these works of art in this amazing setting! The girls were obviously impressed.
 This year marks 100 years Verona has had a concert season. It would have been so amazing to hear a concert here, but I don't think the girls could have made it. That and the season didn't start until June.

Jen, consulting Rick Steves. He was our "official" guide and we followed his walking tour.

One of the old Roman gates that still stand around the city, marking the entrance.
For some reason, this store reminded me of my brother in law. It says "The World of Chinos." :) Love you, Ev!

One of the beautiful palazzos in the "painted city" as Verona used to be called.
 For this former English teacher, stop at the Romeo and Juliet "balcony" was a must. It was crawling with people and everyone was as delighted as the next. Although it's not the REAL balcony (there isn't one) it was fun to see.
This one made us laugh: boys following the tradition of rubbing the Juliet statue for "luck in love."
My sweetie and me!
The girls' favorite thing about Verona: pigeon chasing during lunch.

The cathedrals of Verona were AMAZING. We've seen a lot of churches in Europe, but none that looked like this. The marble they used in the construction was incredible, and the decorations in the churches themselves were extraordinary. We loved seeing the two we went in.

The Basilica of St. Anastasia, built between 1290 and 1481.

The Duomo, with frescoes dating back to 1187. The red pillars are Veronese marble.
This is what's left of a Roman fresco, found during excavations under the Duomo.

After all that walking, we needed a gelato break. We sat on the statue of Dante. :)

On our way back to the car, we found this delightful fountain. The girls immediately wanted their socks and shoes off, and very quickly were running between the streams. One was more adventurous than the other, and as such, got much wetter.

At the end of our day in Verona, we drove up to a sanitorium (religious place of rest?) that had amazing views of the city. You can see the spires of the Duomo (white) and Basilica (red). The bridge that's just peeking off the left-side was destroyed in bombings during WWII. But the Veronese dug each marble block out of the river and painstakingly put it back together.

My handsome hubby.
 The Europeans, as a whole, eat later than us Americans. Especially us Americans with small children who have toured around all day. But we were thrilled to find this restaurant, Pepperoni, within a few miles of our house. It had a play area for kids and a huge menu (in English, German, and Italian). We were the first ones there (it opened at 5!!) and we stayed for almost two hours. The girls still talk about it--what a perfect end to our wonderful day in Verona. We had a hard time saying goodbye!

Next stop: the fish island! (Also known as Venice.)


Betsy said...

What a fabulous tour for us of your day in Verona! What a blessing for all! Love seeing the photographer at work a swell as his assistant tour guide! What fun Pepperoni was!!!! The girls are having south FUN!!! Love, G+P

Nana said...

Verona is an incredibly beautiful city. Wow! And the girls are having a great time. Keep the pictures coming, we love them! The photographer did a wonderful job!

Irishdrums said...

AMAZING photos!! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic pictures!!! Looks like we need to put this city into the next Italian trip. It is beautiful. Loved seeing the girls just having fun and enjoying the sites! We loved the fishing island and are looking forward to your pictures of it! You all look great!!!!