When I drove into this medieval walled city I fell in love with it immediately! Renaissance, romanesque, Viennese and gothic!
Verona means music and what a place to hear it. The ancient Ampitheatre built in 1000 AD in the centre is the biggest open air opera stage in the world and every year holds 4 operas and hosts other music concerts. I had the pleasure of going to see 'Aida' which was the first opera ever shown here and is on every year. I sat on a stone step with a cushion (not comfortable at all!) and watched the tragedy of the 'Aida' love story unfold. Magical. One of those things you should do before you die, even if you don't like opera.
When I first arrived here there was a little train that took you on a ride around the city. I thought that would be a good plan to get a quick idea of the place and the things I'd like to see. It was like the runaway train from Hell! Clearly the driver didn't really like his job as 'tourist train driver' and drove like a Grand Prix contender across the cobbled streets. It was like real life Mario Kart! Now I know why the two main characters are Luigi and Mario! I had to hang on for dear life to stop my head smacking into the glass panel in front of me and camera shake took on a whole new level. Seriously, it was insane. I got off with a headache, a cricked neck and no clue as to where I'd been! Sat down for a cappuccino and nearly jumped out of my skin when some random Italian man (who looked remarkably like Johnny Vegas) started singing in all manor of operatic tones to himself at the top of his voice. Odd.
Now, obviously this place is famous for......ME! The Shakespearian heroine Juliet or 'Giulietta' for she is such things dreams are made of! The truth! Anyway, I visited the house where she lived and in the courtyard stood a bronze statue of her looking all demure and beautiful. Everyone was queuing up (well the Americans and Brits were as all Europeans and other have no concept of 'taking your turn') to have their picture taken with 'Giulietta'. I was most alarmed to find that people were grasping her right breast as they said cheese for the camera. I thankfully found out that this is a tradition; for if you touch the breast of Juliet you will have good luck! Whoa! Good times ahead for me then!! I then went into her house where I stood on the famous 'Juliet' balcony and called for my love. Nothing happened. Damn! I was hoping that hot waiter from the other night was going to appear. Now, you are able to write letters to Juliet, leave them in her house and she will reply. Well actually a group of volunteer writers reply to you. So in I went with my many letters to Juliet ( I kept having to write more as I thought of new things to ask) 5 in total and I also e mailed her as this was available inside. Can't wait to get a response and see what she says! The place was all very dreamy and beautiful and I came away from' di casa Giulietta' believing once again in all things romantic and magical!
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