Ah Verona...the city where Romeo and Juliet had their tragic love affair. Or if you're a fan of modern cheesy rom-coms, it's where Amanda Seyfried's character wandered about in the movie Letters to Juliet. Whichever version you prefer, we can all agree that Verona is brimming with romance, ancient Roman ruins, and that classic beauty all of Italy seems to have.
So if you read my post on Bologna, you know my first trip to Verona did not pan out. I originally planned out visiting Bologna and Verona on the same day. After finishing the first half of the day in Bologna, I ran to the station - because I was late - to catch my train to Verona. When I finally made it on the platform, I was scanning the schedule board to find out which train I was suppose to get on. As I finally figure it out, I looked to my right, and the train I'm suppose to be on is pulling out of the station! I was so bummed that I missed it by seconds...
Standing next to me was this seemingly nice gentleman, who could clearly tell I was frantic and lost. He offered to help and told me an alternative route to get to Verona and even led me to the correct platform. Well it turns out he wasn't doing it out of the kindness of his heart, but he wanted compensation for his time and help. Once I realized his real intentions, I tried to get away, but he managed to corner me and simply would not leave me alone. So I gave him a few euros just so he would back off. Now I know why they tell you to only ask official train station employees for help...lesson learned.
Despite being a scammer, he wasn't lying about the alternative route. So I took his advice and got on the train he recommended. I assumed it would be a direct course to Verona and I would get there in an hour or so, but nope! Because life is just hard sometimes... Four hours later, I finally made it to the train station in Verona...minutes before my return train to Florence departed. So once again, I dashed through the station to catch my train, and thankfully, this time I made it. While I had an amazing half-day in Bologna, missing my train to Verona stressed me out, and I was just ready to go home at that point.
Flash-forward to a week later, I bought another ticket to Verona, and I was determined to see it this time! My couch surfing host also insisted that I see Sirmione and Lake Garda, about an hour bus ride away. I had a little over 6 hours to spend, and he told me Verona didn't take a lot of time to see, so I decided I could make room for a little side trip.
While this small town is picturesque, it definitely caters to tourists. And other than the castle, I found it to be underwhelming to be honest. But perhaps if I went back and stayed at one of the fancy resorts along the peninsula, I would reconsider 😉.
When I decided it was time to head back to Verona, my plans, once again, went awry. Buses were late, traffic was heavy, and I made it back to Verona with barely two hours to spare. I was starting to think Verona just wasn't meant to be, but I made the most of it anyways!
After visiting the popular Piazza delle Erbe and browsing through the market stalls, I followed the crowds to Casa di Guilietta.
If you've seen Letters to Juliet, you're probably picturing the scene where Amanda Seyfried's character stumbles upon the quiet little square. Women are crying and pouring their hearts out into their letters, there's an old wall full of love letters, and classy Italian music is playing in the background.
Well I hate to burst your bubble, but in reality, this place is overcrowded with tourists. There's a small fee to enter the house, though I didn't bother due to the crowd and wait, but the courtyard where the balcony and statue is located is free. So not quite as romantic as I pictured it in my head, but I suppose you can't really visit Verona without stopping by this iconic landmark.
And lastly, if there's one thing I learned about Verona, it's that they love their arches...
Somehow, I managed to see most of Verona's major landmarks in two hours, but I had to rush through the whole experience, so I didn't get to enjoy any of it. Such a disaster! But in the short amount of time I was there, I could see that this city was full of charm, and it was worth all the trouble. One of these days, I'll have to make my back to Verona and really take my time to appreciate it...third time's the charm, right?
*Originally published on Violets for Vivien