Going to Verona on a last minute weekend excursion a week before my flight back to LA was probably the best thing I’ve done in a while. Living in a foreign city like London makes me feel like I don’t ever really need to leave, since everything is still relatively new and exciting to me. But the idea that I could take a cheap three-hour flight to Verona, then hop on a one-hour train to Venice, didn’t really occur to me until a few weeks before I had to go back to California.
Prior to leaving for Italy, at my favorite Italian deli in Islington, which also happens to be my favorite eatery in all of London, Merv and I said to the waiter that we were afraid that the food in Italy wouldn’t taste as good as the food in the deli. To which the waiter guy, who has this angelic looking face and awesome Italian way of speaking responded calmly, “Every place in Italy has good food.” That definitely made me feel less anxious about our trip.
The ironic thing is that in all my adult years as a traveller, our first meal after stepping off the plane is the first time I remember totally walking into and eating at a tourist trap. I totally felt duped. It’s too traumatic to even recall here the events that led up to eating in this tourist trap; let’s just say that the experience was such that for the rest of the trip I dreaded walking into restaurants for fear that I’d have a repeat experience. But like most things in life, it was an isolated event and thankfully, we ate really well for the remainder of our time in Italia.
I don’t want to dwell too much about the food since it was all good and Italian-tasting but I just wanted to remember the places I visited in Verona. The Arche Scaligere, above, was a Gothic tomb of the Scaligere family that ruled Verona from the 13th-14th century. Just behind it is a square that has a statue of Dante, who lived in exile in Verona. Only a few metros away is Romeo’s family home (the Montecchi house) which confuses me since Romeo was a fictional character. Not far from his house is the Juliet balcony, which is definitely fake and built in the 1930s to attract tourists, who to this day, still gather and take loads of photos. Most of the tourists were Italian, by the way.
The best thing I visited in Verona was this Italian Renaissance garden not far from the Roman amphitheater.