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.
Web photo of the Hotel Borghetti, Parona, Italy http://www.hotelborghetti.com
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.
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
Accordian player on the Ponte Scaligero
Verona as seen from the bridge over the
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.
Museum within the Castelvecchio
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.
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 photo of the VeronaArena
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.
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.
North end, Piazza Erbe
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
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
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
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
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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