Verona is a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” It’s home to a 14th-century house said to have “Juliet’s balcony,” even though the building’s connection to the play is fictional. The balcony was added after so numerous questions as to where it was located.
I arrived to Verona by bus and waited to met the girl (Martina) I was going to be couchsurfing with. She was meeting me at the train station at 6. At the station I found I couldn’t connect to the wifi, so I asked some random person if I could message a friend that I was meeting, they let me text her and I waited next to him for the next 15 minutes until we were able to finally meet. Luckily the guy was there using the wifi so he wasn’t in any rush.
After meeting we drove into the center of town and she showed me around. She even printed me out a map so I could have an idea of where we were going. It was super awesome and thoughtful. We got a couple of drinks at a cozy little bar and then walked around some more. She knew a lot about the city and kind of gave me a solo tour; if she didn’t have a job already, she could get one as a tour guide.
The following day we went to Lake Garda district. The lake is about an hour drive from Verona, it is the largest lake in Italy and it is surrounded by tons of small medieval towns and villages. We drove to a town called Malcesine and took a cable car to the top of Baldo Mountain. From atop the mountain there was an incredible view of the surrounding valley; we were able to see the Italian alps and the Dolomites. The day couldn’t have been anymore perfect, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was clear for miles. We even got to see a para-glider take off; following and watching them as they slowly got smaller and disappeared out of sight. After a couple of hours we took the cable car back down and explored the town at the base of the mountain. It is a very quaint medieval town that can trace its roots back to 500 BC. We only spent about 30 minutes walking around it then went to another town nearby to watch the burning of the befana; a medieval like ritual that takes place on the 6th of January, which consists the burning of a watch on top of a mound of wood. It was very interesting to see. I had no idea it existed.
The following day was my last day in Verona.
I was catching a 12:30ish train to Bergamo. I had to get up early and be out of the house because Martina had to work; so I took an 8 am bus to the center of the town and walked around (I hadn’t yet seen the city during day). I The city is very small and easily walkable, so I walked to the other side of the river and climbed the hill where some castle is located, but more importantly to get a panoramic view of the city. Since it was so early, there was nobody around, well almost nobody, they were doing construction on the castle so my ears were constantly assaulted by the sound of construction. After some time I decided to continue my exploration of the city. I checked out the cathedral and accidentally dozed off a couple of times in the pew (I was very tired) and then made my way toward the Castle Vecchio. My path was more or less a loop around the outskirts of the city. The castle was pretty cool, it was built in the 1300’s some distance from the political center of the city because it was constructed not for the city, but against it. It was built to ensure greater control over possible uprisings and a safe escape route to the north. The castle bridge allows access across the river, so you get to walk through the castle.
Verona is a very small city, easily see-able in one day and well worth the visit. If you get lucky enough to have an awesome couchsurfer like I did, you can see some of the amazing natural beauty Italy has to offer.