The motto of Arena di Verona is “Where dreams come true”. This was certainly the case for one Maria Callas who made her debut and met her husband all in the same night in Verona! The city of Verona is better known for the story of Romeo and Juliet, however, which did not have such a happy ending.
The story of the star-crossed lovers is not just myth, though – the Montecchi (Montague) and Capuleti (Capulet) families were the ruling families in Verona in the thirteenth century and the story of the young lovers who died for their love was passed on down the Franciscan order of monks from the friar who helped them – Friar Lawrence in Shakespeare’s play. Even academics – who were sceptical – are beginning to accept that the story Shakespeare used for his play was based on history, not myth, making the tale even more moving and tragic.
Verona has had a peppered history throughout the centuries. including an alliance with ancient Rome and being the property of Venice, France or Austria at several times during its career – as well as being awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valour for backing the partisans during World War II, when the Nazis created a base in the south Tyrol, near the Veneto region of Italy where Verona is located.
Today it is a beautiful and vibrant city, with fascinating Roman ruins to see, including the arena, a small amphitheatre and excavations near the Porta Leoni city wall. It has a bustling shopping mall full of designer shops – but the ghosts of the past can still be felt if you walk round the city at night. These days it is getting noisier, with music playing in bars, but it is still possible to find pockets of stillness in the dark streets, where the ghosts of the past can still be felt.
It is also easy to reach other Italian cities by train or bus – including Mantua, where Romeo fled after being banished – as well as the Italian Lakes. The 205 bus to Lake Garda stops just by the arena.
Verona is one of the most captivating cities in Italy – and is also the industrial centre for shoe making in Italy and one of the wealthiest regions of Italy. Recently Veneto and Lombardy both called for independence. But whether you head off to the opera or simply relax in the many bars after seeing the sights, Verona is one place everyone should visit, because it has a unique charm and a fascinating history. And, yes, the legend is true – it is very, very romantic.
Want to go to Verona now?
Download VERONA ALONE at Kindle Unlimited and join Moira as she marks her divorce by fulfilling a childhood dream of visiting the city during the opera season. There she is taken under the wing of a generous American, Ed, who appears to have a secret. It is only when Moira finds herself all at sea with him that the truth emerges – and she finds herself and her life transformed.
Find out more about the ROME ALONE series.
Coming soon in 2018 – VERONA AGAIN
As three couples fight the odds to save their relationships, little do they suspect how much their lives are intertwined – who will succeed, who will fail and who will lose the love of their life?
Photos copyright A. Meredith 2015-2017