We slept very well last night, though we did hear the rain start hitting the
roof for a while at some time.
We had nothing to hang around for this morning except the end of the rush hour. Then it was off to Verona via the filling station
just round the corner and the supermarket on the edge of town. The journey was toll road most of the way, and very busy it was too with the second and third lanes tailgating as nobody wanted to use lane one as that's where the lorries are, and that's where
nobody lets cars out if the need to overtake the lorries.
We arrived at our Camperstop in Verona (GPS: N45.434423 E10.977859) and it's very well located. We
can walk in to the city from here.
After an early lunch we made our way in to town, buying a street map which was nothing like as good as the one I bought in Venice,
but I didn't want us getting lost before we'd even reached the Tourist Information Office.
Verona is a vibrant city, the second biggest in the Veneto region
after Venice, and one of the most prosperous in northern Italy. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, its ancient centre boasts many magnificent Roman remains, second only to those of Rome itself, and palazzi (buildings) built of rosso di
Verona, the local pink-tinged limestone, by the medieval rulers. Verona has two main focal points, the Arena, and the Piazza Erbe with its colourful market, separated by a maze of narrow lanes lined with some of Italy's most elegant boutiques.
Once in the centre there was the Roman Arena. Built in AD 30, it's the third largest in the world, after Rome's Colosseum and the amphitheatre at Capua, near Naples.
Originally the elliptical Arena could hold almost the entire population of Roman Verona, and visitors came from all over the Veneto region to watch mock battles and gladiatorial combats. Prisoners of war, criminals and Christians died in their thousands in
the name of entertainment. Though it does seem a rather good way to control the prison population.
Since then the Arena has been used for public executions, fairs, theatre
performances, bullfighting and opera. Today, performances of Verdi's 'Aida' and other popular operas can attract a capacity crowd of 25,000.
Look - we're tourists, so we've
got to do it ok? The Romeo & Juliet balcony. Now I know there isn't any such thing since the story was created, but never the less, we have to embrace the whole thing along with hundreds, if not thousands of other tourists each day. It took a bit of finding,
but there was no mistaking it once we had.
A few pictures later and we were then on our way to Piazza Erbe, the second focal point in town. Very nice it was, and
yet more pictures later we were off towards the Chiesa (Church) di San Fermo Maggiore. It was on my Travel Script, but I can't remember why, and since I had no intention of carrying the guide book around with me I had to trust the list I had drawn
up without necessarily knowing why.
Chiesa di San Fermo Maggiore consists of not one but two churches. The lower one, now rather dank due to flooding over the years,
dates back to 1065 (back home King Harold was to enjoy 20/20 vision for just another year following a visit to Hastings), but the upper church (1313) is more impressive. It has an impressive ships keel roof and lots of medieval fresco work.
Because as old people we were entitled to a concession, we ended up with a ticket for €5 each which entitled us to visit four different churches, so we're just going to have to
try and get our money's worth.
Heading for church number two which was on my list we passed the Castle and viewed the Ponte (bridge) Scaligero, built between 1354 and 1376.
Such is the affection of the locals for their bridge that after the Germans blew it up in 1945 they dredged the river for the medieval masonry and rebuilt it. So there you go - they're the best of mates now that they're in the EU together.
In fact the only nation out of step with them all is us, who, thanks to Winston Churchill, our amazing allies and billions of pounds we had to borrow to re-arm ourselves so that we could lose
thousands upon thousands of our own young men and civilians liberating the ungrateful bastards because, having done so they couldn't wait to set up an alliance (EU) to continue to be controlled by the Germans.
It's called the Stockholm Syndrome http://medicaldictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Stockholm+syndrome So now they're
all happily back under German control they now wish to punish the UK for wanting our freedom, something we gave them in 1945, and something they gave away again so readily a few years afterwards.
Let's just walk away from those Brexit negotiations and to hell with the lot of them.
.....................Now where was I? ..........Oh yes,
as we approached the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore I fancied a beer, we'd been on our feet for hours and it was pretty hot. The Chef didn't fancy one and so I sat there with a beer whilst The Chef had an ice cream. Then it was round the corner to
the church. Again impressive. Having ticked that box it was time to make our way back 'home'.
Tomorrow we will visit the cathedral (it's on my list and one of the Big 4!)
before crossing the river and visiting the Roman Theatre from which we expect to get a wonderful view of the city.