Thursday, 25 December 2008

2004 Within These Walls - Not A Capulet (Or Montague) In Sight

Today the weather is more muggy than it has been so far. No worries as we walk to the train station and purchase our tickets from an automatic machine and head off for Verona. The train has separate compartments and also pull down seats in the corridor, even so it was standing room only when we boarded. At least Verona is only 23km down the line.
On arrival we head for the town centre through this gateway, the Porta Bra.
In the centre there is an open square with restaurants around the perimeter, whilst in the square itself is a fountain with a plaque proclaiming that Verona is a designated World Heritage Site.
This however is dwarfed by the Anfiteatro Arena. The Arena is one of the best preserved theatres from Roman times and was used for Gladiator fights. When we entered the centre of the Arena, Ian said that he felt just like Russel Crowe in the film Gladiator when he first entered the Colosseum to do battle.
With seating for several thousand people, opera takes the main stage during Summer, although none of us are fans of this type of entertainment we would like to see such a show, sitting in the cheap seats, where I'm sure there would be a wonderful atmosphere. Other music events also take place and when we were there the stage was being set for Henri Mancini. A review of a previous concert from a famous musician in 2006 can be read here.
Climbing to the top of the Arena gives a bird's eye view of the square
and surrounding area.
Lunch was eaten at one of the restaurants in the square. Our waiter spoke good English, with an American accent, could it be down to the amount of cable tv he watches?
Whenever we are walking around a new place we endeavor to look up at every opportunity. This bodes us well back home as above the standard shops that are in any city centre, for example, HMV, Marks & Spencer, Primart, etc, there is usually some interesting detail above many shop signs. One day I will photograph some buildings around Nottingham (mental note taken!). Here in Verona, here are some of our findings:

The final photograph shows the young boys Romulus and Remus, who as legend goes were abandoned by their parents the priestess Rhea Siliva and Mars, to be raised by a wolf, so begins the story of the Roman Empire. This plaque can be found on a street corner not too far from the Arena. In the background it looks like the plaster is being prepared for painting. Of course not all of our findings are above head height and a trip would not be complete without a photograph of something like this.
Once again Guzzisue stops to take some shots of a church. There are several churches in Verona worth shooting and we cannot remember which one these pictures are from but the detail is interesting. We were unable to venture inside as a wedding ceremony was taking place.

When in Verona, do as the Veronans do. I'm sure that is how the saying goes, we could not go to see Juliet's grave as there was a wedding taking place there also. Maybe it's me but to be wed by the grave of a dead fictitious character from an old English play does seem a little bizarre. Each to their own. We console ourselves by finding Juliet's balcony instead.
Passing through a passage way to reach the courtyard where the balcony is, lover's from across the world declare their undying devotion by leaving pieces of paper or graffiti on the walls.
With time against us we head back to the train station with an open promise to ourselves to return to Verona sometime as we feel we have only scratched the surface of this wonderful city.
Romeo will have to wait until the next time.

1 comment:

Affer said...

Great photos - that graffiti is starting to look like a Jackson Pollock painting! I was in Arles earlier this year where they have a similar amphitheatre; they are incredibly atmospheric aren't they?

And a lovely Guzzi!