Verona is lovely, and on the smaller side, and a perfect place to start.
We drove from Milan to Venice, which was the perfect opportunity for a bus nap. Jet lag is a real thing, you guys.
We arrived in Verona and drove through the suburban-sprawl-ey area to the historic downtown, formerly walled city. Buses have to buy a pass ahead of time to enter this area of town.
We walked across this bridge on the way in, which gave us a beautiful view of the city and mountains beyond. It's been under five hours in Italy so far, and I am in love.
We got an amazing look at the historic wall surrounding the town, which I wish we could have gotten a little bit more information on. But here it is, and here we were, and on we went.
Verona has the third largest surviving Roman arena, which is used now for opera festivals and performances. When we walked up, there were huge piles of set elements and props, from twenty foot tall heads to decaying chairs and spinning wheels. It was eerie and fabulous.
Past the amphitheater are the roads into the historic area, with tiny winding streets and shops everywhere. There are gelato shops every thirty feet, it's amazing.
The next stop was Juliette's window. According to the Italians, Shakespeare stole his famous tragedy from an Italian writer, and the inspiration for Juliette lived in this place, and this was her balcony.
They have done all kinds of restoration work, and you can visit exhibits, and get to imagine wildly ill-fated love and iambic pentameter and all that good stuff.
Notice the shiniest parts of the Juliette statue, that most people choose to interact with for photos.
Who says romance is dead?
But one of the coolest parts of this site was the walkway on the way in. People graffitied everything, on bandaids and tape, to gum, and the wall itself. Love finds its tributes in the strangest ways.
Love = love = love
We had lunch in the Piazza della Erbe (more on eating with celiac in Italy, it deserves more discussion!!!), which was delicious and also a sweet little square. I am 4 hours in at this point, and already in love with Italy. Yes, yes, yes to this.
Next stop... Venice!