Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!

I thought of the perfect way to describe the Veronese (Veronites?): being around them is like watching a preview for that TV show V, which has something to do with aliens invading. You see all these incredibly good-looking people and you think, wow, they almost look human! Indeed. But I won't dwell on them - especially since it's only 9:30 Wednesday morning and I've walked all over town. In the early morning hours I know I missed out on some good shopping and people-watching, but I got what I think is perect: Verona without its people.

There's no way to put into words how breathtakingly beautiful this city is, so I'll rely on pictures instead. It's no wonder Starbucks picked it for the cheesy picture on one of their coffees - it screams old Italian. It was raining this morning but that only enhanced the feel of time travel and mystery.

I wandered by many of the tourist sites, excluding the churches (they're lovely but at this point they all have started looking too similar). There were a few highlights but what I really loved were the unimportant buildings. Old buildings, brightly-colored in the cold, grey morning...flower-covered balconies...storefronts with ancient lamps next to their signs...crumbled sculptures above doorways. It was a gorgeous mosaic of a city composed of each of these small details.

My favorite site was Ponte Scaligero, a bridge adjacent to Castelveccio. The bridge itself is not beautiful, especially compared to other famous bridges of Europe, but its history helped me paint a picture of Verona without the expensive shops and fancy restaurants. Ponte Scaligero was bombed by the Nazis, then rebuilt at the same place. I can't even imagine the horrors of war in these beautiful streets, but I appreciated the sobering sight.

On the opposite side of the emotional spectrum, Casa di Giuletta was delightful. I went before it opened and was glad I did, since the courtyard was very small. I shared it only with another ambitious tourist, a student from China who studies in France. Her English was perfect and I promised myself (again) that I will learn to speak multiple languages.

I covered territory quickly and was able to hop on the morning train to Venice, leaving The Blank-Faced People behind...

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