Tag Archives: Verona

On This Day – Padova in Northern Italy

Even though travel restrictions are easing I am not yet minded to risk it so I still have no new stories to post so I continue to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 25th October 2012 I was travelling to Northern Italy to visit Venice, Verona and Padova.  Instead of reading a travel guide in preparation I read a book about William Shakespeare and the Italian connection.

I’ll see you later in the Colosseum…

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Travels in Italy, Looking Back

Travels in Italy

Not surprisingly Italy is the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites; it has fifty-three, seven more than Spain which has the second most sites in Europe.  I have visited half of the sites in Spain but when I reviewed the Italy list I was disappointed to find that I have been to less than a quarter.

This time in Italy I was planning to add a few more, Milan (The Last Supper), Modena and Ferrara.

Click on an image to scroll through the gallery…

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

Juliet's House and Balcony Verona Italy

Juliet’s House in Verona

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.”

Visiting the Italian city of Verona considered it essential that we find and see Juliet’s house in a cobbled courtyard tucked away in a side street.

Supposedly the location of the famous balcony scene from Shakespeare’s love story, Juliet’s house is a popular romantic shrine and tourist honey-trap where lovers leave messages to each other on the walls and attach the dreadful love-locks to the fences and the railings.  This is a problem of course so there are attendants on duty to make sure visitors only do this in one specially designated spot because if there wasn’t some control the courtyard would be quickly covered in untidy graffiti and more ironmongery than an average Home Depot store!

Although the courtyard has become a major destination for tourist pilgrimage the house of course has no connection at all with the bard’s fictional characters and although it is old and looks authentic enough, the balcony was actually added in 1936 and declared to be “Juliet’s house” by the city authorities in a blatant attempt to cash in on the Shakespeare connection and to attract more tourists.

The balcony overlooks a tiny courtyard containing a dainty bronze statue of a graceful Juliet and people were waiting impatiently for their turn to be photographed with the heroine and to touch her right breast which is supposed to bring good fortune but I was worried that public groping was ever so slightly inappropriate so I steered clear, chose to do without the good luck boost and on the way out decided not to waste my money on a lottery ticket next weekend.

Have you been to Verona?  Have you been to Juliet’s house?

Juliet's House Verona

“Ever a shadow, he disappears, all but utterly, from 1585 to 1592….There is not a more tempting void in literary history, nor more eager hands to fill it”  –  Bill Bryson on Shakespeare.

It is an interesting fact that thirteen of the thirty-seven plays of William Shakespeare were set either completely or partly in Italy and if we rule out the ten English history plays (which naturally have to be set in England) then half of the remainder of the major works are set in the Italian states and no one knows for sure just why.

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William Shakespeare Verona Italy

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall of Love Letters

Juliet's House Verona

In Verona we considered it essential that we find and see Juliet’s house in a cobbled courtyard tucked away in a side street.  Supposedly the location of the famous balcony scene from Shakespeare’s love story, Juliet’s house is a popular romantic shrine and tourist honey-trap where lovers leave messages to each other on the walls and attach the dreadful lovelocks to the fences and the railings.

A wall in the courtyard is provided for people to leave their messages but all around there are strategically placed attendants keeping a careful watch to make sure no one touches the precious walls of the building itself.

Read the full story…

 

Italy, World Heritage Sites

Italy Postcard

Following the visit to Puglia in Southern Italy I thought it was probably time to review my performance in visiting the Country’s World Heritage Sites.

The World Heritage list has been around for over forty years as a consequence of events in 1954 when the government of Egypt announced that it was to build the Aswan Dam, a project that proposed to flood a valley containing priceless treasures of ancient civilizations.  Despite opposition from Egypt and neighbouring Sudan, UNESCO launched a worldwide safeguarding campaign, over fifty countries contributed and the Abu Simbel and Philae temples were taken apart, moved to a higher location, and put back together piece by piece.  At last the World was collectively protecting its treasures.

Ostuni White City Puglia Italy

Not surprisingly Italy is the country with the most Word Heritage Sites, it has fifty-three, seven more than Spain which has the second most sites.  I have visited half of the sites in Spain but when I reviewed the Italy list I was disappointed to find that I have been to less than a quarter and in this whole fortnight in Puglia I had added only one – the Trulli houses of Alberobello.  I was genuinely surprised to find that Lecce, the Florence of the south was missing from the list and to find it marooned on the tentative list where it has been languishing since June 2006.

Venice The Gondoliers Gilbert and Sullivan

In terms of cities on the list I have been to Rome several times but my first visit in 1976 was four years before it became the first Italian site to be added to the list.  As for other cities on the list I have been to Naples, also in 1976, Florence, Pisa and Siena in 2006, Verona and Padova in 2012 and Venice in 2002, 2003, 2005 and most recently in 2012 because you can never go to Venice too many times.

Which brings me to the final two sites that I have visited, both of them for the first time in 1976 before they were even admitted to the list and which was in actual fact was  before there was any sort of list at all! WOW, I feel suddenly old.

The first of these is the Amalfi coastline and its famous death defying drive described so accurately by John Steinbeck: “Flaming like a meteor we hit the coast, a road, high, high above the blue sea, that hooked and corkscrewed on the edge of nothing, a road carefully designed to be a little narrower than two cars side by side.”    

The second is a joint listing for the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, two towns destroyed by the eruption in 79 A.D. of the volcano Mount Vesuvius which is surprisingly not included on the list even though Mount Etna in Sicily is.

Well, eleven out of forty-nine is not a good score so it means one of two things are needed to correct this rather poor performance, either I have to spend more time in Italy in the future or UNESCO needs to hurry up and include some of the places that I have already been.  They could start with Lecce and Lucca, both on the tentative list, and also Palermo that once applied but after rejection subsequently withdrew its nomination.

96 Rome

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

Juliet's House and Balcony Verona Italy

Romeo and Juliet – Verona

Supposedly the location of the famous balcony scene from Shakespeare’s love story, Juliet’s house is a popular romantic shrine and tourist honey-trap where lovers leave messages to each other on the walls and attach the dreadful lovelocks to the fences and the railings.  

Although the house has become a major destination for tourist pilgrimage the house of course has no connection at all with the bard’s fictional characters and although it is old and looks authentic enough, the balcony was actually added in 1936 and declared to be “Juliet’s house” by the city authorities in a blatant attempt to cash in on the Shakespeare connection and to attract tourists.

Read the full story…

Venice, Verona and Padova

Venive, Verona and Padua

The holiday club all wanted to visit Venice of course so the plans began with an expectation that we would be spending four days in the famous waterlogged city but during the search for suitable accommodation it soon became clear that the price of hotels was some way beyond our normal hotel room budget so I started to look for alternatives and very soon found something suitable in nearby Padova – the Hotel Grand Italia right next to the train station.

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Verona, Juliet’s House and the Piazza Signori

Juliet's House and Balcony Verona Italy

Piazza Brà, the central square with its richly decorated houses, immaculate streets and gardens and busy pavement restaurants had a prosperous, self assured atmosphere and we ate our Brek self-service pasta lunch while people rushed by on the adjacent pavement and the sun broke through the thin clouds and filled the Piazza with welcome rays that emphasized the pastel shades of the buildings and the geometry of the bricks and stones of the medieval city wall close by.

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Verona, The Amphitheatre

Verona Italy Amphitheatre

“There is no world without Verona walls                                                                           But purgatory, torture, hell itself                                                                                     Hence banished is banish’d from the world                                                                      And world’s exile is death”                                                                                      Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet

The good thing about travelling to this region of Italy and not staying within the confines of the Venetian Lagoon is that there was the opportunity to go beyond the watery city and see so much more and today our plan was to travel west and visit the ancient and famous city of Verona.

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In the Footsteps of William Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare Verona Italy

“Ever a shadow, he disappears, all but utterly, from 1585 to 1592….There is not a more tempting void in literary history, nor more eager hands to fill it”           Bill Bryson on Shakespeare.

It is an interesting fact that thirteen of the thirty-seven plays of William Shakespeare were set either completely or partly in Italy and if we rule out the ten English history plays (which naturally have to be set in England) then half of the remainder of the major works are set in the Italian states and no one knows for sure just why.

Read the full story…