Sunday, April 22, 2018

Verona, Italy, Part Two


Beautiful Verona, Italy. It is a city often overlooked by tourists, whose focus is on the cities of Milan or Venice, yet Verona holds many interesting and historical sights and is easily explored in a day or two.  Many visitors are interested to explore the sites in Verona made famous by Shakespeare in his play Romeo and Juliet, as I showed in my prior blog post, click here, but there is so much more to see and do.
Piazza delle Erbe in Verona is one of the most historical and picturesque city squares in the whole country. Once the site of the Roman Forum, where chariot races were held, it is now the site for the local market.

Please remember, all photos and photo collages in this post can be enlarged for easier viewing of details by clicking on the photo.


Many stalls and shops line the piazza, as well as cafes and restaurants.


The highlight of this square is the Madonna Verona Fountain, which was created by Cansignorio della Scala in 1368. This 14th-century Roman statue is also known as The Virgin of Verona and is actually a Roman statue that dates back to 380 AD.


The three-story Palazzo Maffei is also on the square and is famous for its Baroque architecture and facade decorated with statues of Greek gods. Standing in front of the building is a white marble column topped with a statue of St. Mark's Lion, a symbol of the Republic of Venice which once ruled Verona.


Piazza Erbe is dominated by the tallest of Verona’s towers, the Torre dei Lamberti, built by the powerful Lamberti Family in 1172. Verona in the Middle Ages was a city dotted with tall towers which were a visible symbol of the wealth and power of the noble families which lived in them. Torre dei Lamberti is a surviving tower to a whole group of towers which rose next to the Palazzo della Ragione and is 276 feet high (84 m).


My husband and I purchased tickets to go up to the top of the tower...


...where we enjoyed seeing the views of the city of Verona and surrounding area.


The tower houses two famous bells at the top, the Rengo, and the Marangona, which kept time and regulated city life. The Marangoni signaled the end of the working day for the artisans and also sounded the alarm in case of fire, whilst the Rengo summoned the Town Council and citizens of Verona in times of war. The bells still ring during funerals.


Close to Piazza Erbe are the very ornate Scaliger Family Tombs. They are a group of five Gothic funerary monuments in Verona, Italy, celebrating the Scaliger family, who ruled in Verona from the 13th to the late 14th century.


We visited the nearby Sant’Anastasia Basilica, which is one of Italy’s rare gems built in the Gothic style. It was constructed by the Dominicans from the 13th to the 15th century.


The Basilica is famous for its fresco of  “Saint George and the Princess of Trebizond” painted by Pisanello, which is located in the Pellegrini Chapel.


Like all churches in Italy, the basilica is full of magnificent artwork and sculptures


A true feast for the eyes!


The hunchback figurines supporting the two stoups at the base of the first columns of the church’s central nave are also famous. The one seen on the top right of the collage is the work of Gabriele Caliari, eldest son of Paolo Caliari, better known as the Veronese.  The one in the bottom of the photo collage above is attributed to Paolo Orifice. Both statues symbolize the humility and poverty of the Veronese population. 


In the Piazza dei Signori stands a statue of the poet Dante Alighieri. It's the work of Ugo Zannoni and was erected in 1865. Verona was where Dante lived for six years between 1312 and 1318 in Cangrande's residence, editing the Inferno and Purgatorio and working on the final part of the Comedia, Paradiso.


In my last post--click here--I also spoke a little bit about Verona's first century Arena, located next to Piazza Bra. Built by the Roman Empire, it was here where gladiators fought to the death before the eyes of 30,000 spectators. After the Empire fell, the arena became the scene of jousts, tournaments, and trials. The Verona arena also became a quarry of fallen stones, when earthquakes knocked down many of its surrounding walls. It is still in remarkable shape and now seats 15,000 inside.  It is most often used for opera productions, but the day we visited Verona a Music Festival Finale was being televised that evening from the arena, and we were fortunate to receive complimentary tickets to attend it.


It was a thrill to walk into the ancient arena that was constructed so long ago. Our seats were one of the cement block rings that lined its inner circular walls, where we had a wonderful view of the stage.


The show began with the finale of a summer-long singing competition, sort of like an American Idol Finale, with three singers that were from Naples, Ragusa, and Milan. Afterward, singers and dancers from around Italy performed.  If you'd like to listen to one of the performers singing you can click here to view the video on my Mille Fiori Favoriti Facebook page. Our very full day in Verona had come to a delightful end. The next day we were traveling on to Padua, another exquisite city in the Veneto region. I hope you will join me again to view some of its treasures in my next blog post.


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Festival Show 2017: here is the grand finale at the Arena di Verona with Alex Britti and Francesco Gabbani
Naples, Ragusa and the band Thema from Milan.

settembre-2017.html


 CHIARA RANIERI from Naples, the singer NICO from Ragusa and the band THEMA from Milan.
Potrebbe interessarti: http://www.trevisotoday.it/cronaca/festival-show-2017-arena-verona-settembre-2017.html
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Monday, April 16, 2018

Verona, Italy, City of Romeo and Juliet, Part One




While my husband and I were visiting relatives in Genoa, Italy, last summer we decided to take a few local overnight trips by train. Our first stop was beautiful Verona, located in the Veneto region of Italy. Verona has at its center a medieval old town, called the Centro Storico, that lies between the meandering Adige River.


Verona's Arena di Verona is located in the Centro Storico by Piazza Bra. It was built by the Romans in the first century and is still in active use, mainly for opera productions.  It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind and once held 30,000 spectators in its confines. In modern times 15,000 people are admitted for performances for security reasons. Unfortunately, we did not visit on an opera day, but we were fortunate to be able to obtain free tickets for a musical event that was taking place later that evening--more about that event in my next blog post.


The round fa├žade of the building was originally composed of white and pink limestone from Valpolicella, but a major earthquake in 1117 almost completely destroyed the structure's outer ring, and only a small portion of that decorative ring still stands. It is a marvel to think about the many centuries the arena has been in use and all it has seen!


Verona has become famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s play "Romeo and Juliet," written in 1597. Although the star-crossed lovers are fictional characters, their story has attracted visitors to Verona for centuries. In an effort to satisfy those seeking a place to dream about their legend. the city of Verona has promoted "Juliet's House" (Casa di Giulietta) and "Juliet's Tomb"  (Tomba di Giulietta) as attractions. The house, located along the Via Cappello, at one time belonged to the Dal Capello family, commonly known as the Cappelletti. This was so similar to the name of Juliet's family, the Capulets, that the house became her family home in everyone's imagination, even though the balcony was not added until the 20th century!  The inscription seen in the collage above lies on top of a corridor that leads to the house's courtyard.  It translates as: "This was the house of the Capulets. for whom so many hearts wept and the poets sang."

Please click on to enlarge

When I visited Verona in the 70's on my high school trip, the Juliet's House courtyard was totally empty and serene--you can read about that experience and see my 1970's photos here.  That romantic serenity was nowhere to be found on this visit in the summer of 2017! I was saddened to see it now had almost a circus atmosphere.  The walls of the corridor leading into the house courtyard were full of notes and band-aids. proclaiming lost love or the desire for love. The tourist crowds were so thick in the courtyard it was difficult to find a place to stand. Admission to the courtyard is free, but now tours of the house have an admission and many visitors stand on the balcony to have their photos taken.


Even the bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard, sculpted by Nereo Costantini, shows how many tourists reach up to touch and rub her for photos, as the metal is shiny in those areas. It took awhile for me to get a photo of her, and the balcony, without people in it!  Even though Julietta's House is definitely an overblown tourist attraction, it was still fun for me to see it again so many years later.


I decided that I should also see "Juliet's Tomb" on this visit to Verona since I did not see it on my first visit to the city. It was quite a walk from the house, but a pleasant one.  We had to pass through the walls of the city which themselves were picturesque.


It is inside the former monastery of San Francesco al Corso, located on the Via del Pontiere, which has been indicated as the place where the final events of the Romeo and Juliet tragedy took place. At the end of the thirteenth century, the period in which it is believed that the story might have happened, San Francesco al Corso was the only Franciscan monastery outside Verona city walls. The old monastery has now been transformed into a museum: the Museum of Frescoes G.B. Cavalcaselle.

Please click on to enlarge 

The Romeo and Juliet story is highlighted throughout the museum grounds.


In a vaulted room inside the dark crypt under the church of San Francesco al Corso, lays an empty, simple sarcophagus made of red Verona marble. It is believed to be Juliet's grave.


Thankfully, the room in which the sarcophagus rests was empty and solemn, and it was easy in this environment to imagine the story of the star-crossed lovers being true. 


The underground room also contains tombstones on the floor where monks were buried centuries ago.




More views of the tomb

Please click on to enlarge to read.

The museum's explanation placard in the photo above as to how this tomb became associated with Juliet.


Beautiful Verona, as well as other Italian locations, were much a part of Shakespeare imagination. A third of his plays take place wholly or partially in Italy. There is much speculation as to why he used Italy as a location, but I'd like to think that it was a fascination with a country that had a rich and passionate history as well as monumental beauty and allure.

In my next blog post, I'll show more sights in Verona, as well as the special event we attended in the Verona Arena. There is much more to see!

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I'm linking this post to the following blog events:

Amaze Me MondayMosaic MondayAll SeasonsBlue Monday,  Through My Lens MondayInspiration Monday, Blogging GrandmothersYou Are the Star Blog HopGood Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialPhoto Tunes, Happiness Is HomemadeTuesday TreasuresOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayParty in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayWordless Wednesday #2Oh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful WednesdayOutdoor Wednesday, Wednesday Around the WorldWonderful WednesdayLink it Up WednesdayPicture Perfect Party Wednesday LinkyShare Your Cup ThursdayLittle Things Thursday No Rules Blog Linky, Travel Photo ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Favorite ThingsFriendship FridaysFriday Photo JournalSkywatch FridaySweet InspirationWeekend Travel Inspiration Pink SaturdayOver the MoonHappiness Is Homemade


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