October 7, 2009

We drove from Nosellari to Rovereto and then instead of taking the autostrade to Verona we leisurely drove down SS12, a lovely two lane road that runs from Bolzano to Verona.  It is so much nicer than the autostrade where you drive fast and nervously and cannot really enjoy the scenery.

In Parona, about 8 km. before Verona, we stopped at the very pleasant and very inexpensive Hotel Borghetti where we paid 65 Euros for a fine room with breakfast.  The staff were very friendly and helpful and the waiter gave us some excellent wine (but that is another story).  As you can tell we either like this place a lot ... or we are on the payroll.

Hotel Borghetti, Parona Italy near Verona

Web photo of the Hotel Borghetti, Parona, Italy

After checking into the Borghetti we drove to Verona and easily found a parking place (don't try this in the summer).  We were very close to the Ponte Scaligero which was proably built in the 1350s.  At the time of its construction the bridge was the world's largest bridge span in the world (48.70 metters).  The bridge is part of the fortifications that make up the Caselvecchio.  During World War II the bridge was demolished but was so loved by the people of Verona that they dredged the Adige for mortar and restored the bridge to its full glory.

Castelvecchio Bridge

                                                                                   Wikipedia photo of the Ponte Scaligero

As we crossed the bridge we came upon an accordian player playing some of our Italian favorites.  Great music on a beautiful day in a superb locale.

iAccordian Player on Castle bridge

                                                            Accordian player on the Ponte Scaligero

.Over the Castle rooftops

                                                 Verona as seen from the bridge over the Castelvecchio roofs

In the courtyard of the Castelvecchio is a museum that our guide book told us "is one of the finest art galleries in the Veneto (the state of Venice) outside of Venice."   We are no experts, not even knowledgeable, when it comes to Roman, Christian, medieval and Renaissance art but the collection of the museum  certainly did appeal to us.

Castle Museum

                            Museum within the Castelvecchio

Saint Peter statue

                           A statue of Saint Peter in the museum

We walked around the museum's large collection for a couple of hours and finally gave up without seeing all of it.  We crossed the street and had lunch under an umbrella.  It was here that we were served the delicious risoto limone that I mentioned previously.

Our lunch restaurant

                                                                               We had lunch under the umbrellas

After lunch it was just a short walk to the Piazza Bra, lined with green awninged cafes and the site of the Verona Arena.

                                       Web photo of Piazza Bra

Web arial photo of the Verona Arena

                                                               Web photo of the VeronaArena

Sueann and jeff in the Arena

                                                                               Here we are in the Arena

The arena did not look ancient as I had remembered it because there had been a recent event and all the lights, press boxes and seating were still in evidence.

Verona's Arena

                                                                       The Arena set up for an event

From the arena we strolled past the high end shops on Via Manzini and found our way to the ancient Piazza Erbe which was once a Roman market.  The Piazza is quite charming if you can get over the stands that fill most of the interior space.  You can buy trinkets, fruits and vegetables and, it is said, just about anything from the stands.

Piazza Erbe

                                                                                North end, Piazza Erbe

Piazza Erbe Lion Statue

                                       I couldn't resist taking a photo of the lion which is the symbol of the Veneto

                                                     West side of Piazza Erbe with Frescos on the buildings

We went to the Duomo of Verona but aside from a Titiian painting, we don't remember much.  However the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore is another story. The exterior of San Zenos was all covered up so we could not really see what it looked like except for the West Doorway with its Romanesque porch that has shielded biblical bas-reliefs and the wooden doors from the elements since 1138.

                                                                               SanZeno Maggiore covered up

                                                  Web photo of San Zeno uncovered

Inside the church we were able to see the two inner wooden doors which are covered with rows of striking bronze panels.

                       A bronze panel from the inner doors of San Zeno Maggiore

The interior of San Zeno Maggiore is simply splendid.  The presbytery is very bright and is elevated above the nave.  Under the presbytery is a crypt area with 49 columns behind which is the tomb of San Zeno who died in 380.  In 921 the body of San Zeno in a sarcophagus was placed in the crypt.


                                                          View of San Zeno Maggiore presbytery from the nave

The lovely ceiling of the nave is called a keel ceiling because it resembles the iinside of an inverted ship's hull.

                                                    The keel ceiling of the nave

                                                             Sueann, lost among the 49 columns of the crypt

                            Each of the captials of the crypt's columns is unique

The bapistry features a huge font carved from a single piece of marble - here is one of its 8 sides, about 6 feet in length

Saint Zeno is credited with building the first basilica in Verona and converting the people of Verona to Christianity.  He died in 380 AD.

                         A statue of San Zeno, said to be a native of North Africa

After all this sight seeing we were tired and returned to the hotel.  There is much more to see and do in Verona.  For us, this will have to wait until the next time.

Best wishes to you,
Sueann and Jeff

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