Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday (Venice and Verona)...

A light, but persistent rain joined us for the walk to the train station this morning. Bought tickets for a day trip to historic Verona. Also made reservations for our trip to Florence tomorrow. Unlike our frustrating train experience on our last European vacation, these purchases were simple and clear and involved no lines or humans. (Fingers crossed.)

The 10:04 Trenitalia service departed promptly at 10:24 from Bin 10. Rain? Cappuccino break? The slow regional train took about 2 hours till we arrived at the Verona Porta Nuova station. Bought a one-day Verona Pass. Grabbed a quick burger. Hopped a crowded #11 bus to the historic center of town.

Began our walk at the ancient Roman Arena...the third largest in the ancient Roman world. A simple-yet-massive structure. Best of all, you can walk up and down and all over the arena, unlike the Colliseum in Rome.

After gazing at mural-painted buildings and snapping a few people shots in the narrow Piazza Erbe, checked off another stop on the Verona Card at the towering Torre dei Lamberti. A uniqe perspective revealing tall churches and bell towers rising above the squat old city. The Dolomites stood grey and ominous in the distance.

Returned to earth. Walked to the impressive Chiesa di Santa Anastasia. Started in the late 13th century...continued through the 14th and 15th centuries...and completed in the early 16th century. This church has everything...everywhere. Beautiful painted ceilings. Ornate chapels and altars. Vibrant frescoes in every nook. Stone sculptures, terra cotta reliefs, and lofty stained glass. Something to see in every direction.

The distinctive Duomo was next on the list, and far more restrained than the previous S.Anastasia church. The current cathedral building dates to the 8th and 9th centuries, with the current interior dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Many impressive chapels and amazing paintings. The architectural remains (e.g., mosaics, columns) of two previous basillica (early 1st century, and pre-7th century) are visible under the floors of adjacent cloister buildings.

Crossed the water-logged Adige River via the Ponte Pietra...an ancient Roman bridge. Climbed and explored the Roman Theatre, its multiple terraced vistas of the city, and its architectural museum.

Re-crossed the Adige. Wound through narrow, shop-lined streets. Wandered into the courtyard with the "famous" House of Juliet...of Romeo and Juliet fame. Tons of people rubbing the right breast of Juliet's statue...for true love? Intricate graffitti on most surfaces of the narrow entryway. .

Bought an umbrella. The rain stopped. Returned to the Arena. Caught the #11 bus back to the train station. Bin 4. The 7:15 intercity train back to Venizia Santa Lucia...arrived about 8:45.

Oh look. Rain. Well...just a drizzle. Broke in my umbrella...its orange. Warded off the cool rain with food and drink. Two more fantastic pizzas from the Trattoria Da Silvio...Jeff tried the "Capricciosa" with ham, artichoke, and mushrooms. My Divola was top-notch. Two more cool refreshing beers.

In spite of travel-weary feet, we headed back out to wander the peaceful evening streets. As we hit Piazza San Marco we were immediately reminded of its late night beauty. Large puddles doubled the points of light. A quartet entertained a dessert audience and sent chords echoing across the Piazza. At midnight, the bell tower signalled the end of the day. And an unexpected surprise: the newly refurbished clock tower quietly added its chimes to the chorus above. And then the sounds stopped and the Piazza was silent.

Our last night in Venice, and we can't seem to say goodbye.

1 comment:

Kim said...

orange umbrella - excellent choice!

Rubbing Juliet's breast - strange.

I can't wait to see your photos when you return. Have a great trip.

Kim