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Days 8-9, Verona (9/21-22)

Verona was the breath of fresh air that we needed. After our exciting water taxi ride to the airport we picked up our cars and drove through the foothills to Verona, where it turned out that our next stay was in a bed and breakfast on the very top of one of those mini, rolling mountains. The very top, and it had lots of grass, and trees, and an olive grove, and vegetable and fruit patches, and being on top of the mini-mountain, the view went on forever. It was an abrupt change from the narrow streets and tall buildings that we'd been enclosed by for a week by that time.

Before settling in we stopped for our first winery tour of the trip. Verona is the Valpolicella region of Italian wine, and we enjoyed a tour of the Bertani winery there followed by tastings of their ripasso and amarone. For Jon and myself (and Calvin) it was our very first winery tour. I loved the old, dark, brick basement stacked with wines nearly a hundred years old. Calvin was disappointed that they didn't go into details about how the different bottling machines worked, but enjoyed the trip just the same. I think Jon enjoyed the wine.

The rest of our stay in Verona included getting a good rest in the very modern and comfortable agroturismo farm on top of the mini-mountain, followed by excellent breakfasts on the patio overlooking the view, and one day of walking all throughout old-town Verona. Smaller than Venice, old-town Verona offered several ancient Roman sites, like the old bridge, the ruins of a theater, the old gate into town, and an amphitheater that was kept in excellent shape and is still in use today. Castelvecchio is the old fort/castle in town, complete with surrounding walls and a drawbridge, and of course there were churches to wander into. Jon and I also did the extreme tourist thing and stopped by Juliet's balcony just to say we'd been there.

One of my favorite things about Verona, was enjoying meals outside on patios overlooking the city below. We ate both breakfasts this way, fresh and delicious buffet-style breakfast with real coffee served to us by our host, and also one lunch and one dinner at a delightful open-air restaurant just a little ways down from our bed and breakfast with enjoyable table wine and a litter of ferrell kittens scampering about. Also memorable for me was the night that we drove part way down the mountain to dinner: parking alongside the narrow, winding road and we walked up the road a bit looking for the restaurant and instead found the old city walls, surrounded by tall pine trees and being circles by innumerable chirping bats in the deepening twilight. It was beautiful, and it felt like an important moment, something to be held onto forever. 

Lunch on a mountain top

Bertani winery tour

At our foothill top stay


The house of Capello, purported by the tourist industry to be the inspiration for Shakespeare's Rome and Juliet

The view of Piazza Bra from the top of the Amphitheater

The drawbridge of Castelvecchio

Porto Bosari, the ancient Roman entrance to the town

The old Roman bridge

The spookiest building every, or at least in Verona. It was even surrounded by a cool draft.

Saints (or something) hiding in the doorway of the Duomo

pirate Jesus inside the duomo

The Scaglieri tombs

The sacred rooster on the door of the church

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