The Roman Bridge

Complesso della Cattedrale (Cathedral)

Basilica di Santa Anastasia

TUESDAY 26-6-18

That was a fairly peaceful night and we were eventually up and ready to get back in to Verona centre. Today we wanted to visit the Complesso della Cattedrale (Cathedral), Basilica di Santa Anastasia, cross the Roman Bridge then climb up beside the Archaeological Museum for views of the city.

We arrived in town much quicker to day which was done to experience from yesterday and a street map. Following a minor navigational error we came across Basilica di Anastastia whilst making our way to the Cathedral, but no matter since we were going to visit them both anyway.

The church was quite impressive inside and quite light. Apparently it's the richest church in Verona due to the value of its paintings and murals. That done it was off to the cathedral, a quite different experience I didn't like it at all. It was too dark and depressing inside. Never mind we had by then visited all four churches on our Old-Gits-Four-For-Five-Euros tickets. We're not church goers, but The Chef quite likes having a quick look around such establishments as we pass them, and I have to say over the two days it has given us something to do.

Next we crossed the Roman Bridge making our way up the hill beside the Archaeological Museum, but as it was getting quite hot we cheated and used the funicular on the way up. Once there we had nice views over the city but they were spoilt by trees which had been planted lower down and prevented panoramic views in some directions.

Then it was lunchtime which we spent sat on a balcony close to the Roman Bridge with views across the River Adige to the museum and Roman amphitheatre, not that we could see much of it as it was being covered and prepared for some kind of performance.

And that was us about done then. We took a leisurely stroll back to our Camperstop where I got the folding chairs out to relax for a while. We're not supposed to get them out, but others had, and if they can, then so can we.

That is now the end of our 'playing tourists' on this trip, we can now relax more for the remaining couple of weeks. We now start playing it by ear a bit as we had originally planned to head down to the Mediterranean and pay another visit to Villeneuve-Loubet between Antibes and Nice, but the campsite we like is quite small and as this is now the holiday season and nobody is allowed to book ahead, it would be a long way to go to be disappointed, plus the whole area will be heaving, so we'll give it a miss this time. Instead we are going to make our way to Manosque in Provence, France and see what turns up on the way. Tomorrow we are going to take a look at Lake Garda which is only just off the toll road heading west. Hopefully we'll find a nice campsite where we can spend a couple of days.

We've both enjoyed Verona, and are pleased we spread the visit over two days. Some motorhomers here arrive first thing in the morning and leave early evening heading who knows where for the night.

I think tomorrow I will have to start another 'chapter' on the blog as this one is getting full I am being told. Although I'm not supposed to use a 'Standard Page' for a blog diary it does avoid having to keep navigating up and down the page clicking on 'Older' and 'Newer'.

Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore

A 1354 or 1945 bridge?

The Castle

The upper church

The lower church

The church of di San Fermo

Piazza Erbe

The Romeo & Juliette balcony

Entrance to the walled city

MONDAY 25-6-18

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  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.

The balustrades of the Basilica

The stage

The theatre

The Odeon Room

The garden and entrance to the theatre

SUNDAY 24-6-18

We had to tolerate the Karaoke last night until bang on midnight, though of course it took longer for the kids to wind down and shut up. In future we will make a point of avoiding campsites which try to merge the peaceful camping experience with that of a holiday camp.

This morning it didn't take us too long to be ready for the road, though we didn't feel like dashing about too much, just as long as we were off the site by 11:00.

Having dumped our black and grey water I had to spend fifty cents for eighty litres of fresh water. Normally it's free, but there you go.

On leaving the site we were almost straight across the road in to the Lidl supermarket car park where we topped up with some bits as we could be fending for ourselves for a few days now.

Our destination today was Vicenza, only about fifty miles west of Venice, and toll road for much of the way.

When we arrived we made for one of two Camperstops, both located within Park & Ride sites for the city. Nothing fancy, but it does have a dump station and at €8.50 a night including free bus fares in to town, not a bad deal (GPS: N45.563354 E11.547646).

We had started off by thinking we'd not go in to town until tomorrow since we have some time on our hands, but since there was nothing to do we decided to catch the bus to town to at least see the Teatro Olimpico, as there will be no admission to it tomorrow, it being a Monday.

The Teatro Olimpico is Europe's oldest surviving indoor theatre. It's a remarkable structure, largely made of wood and plaster and painted to look like marble. Fashionable architect Andrea Palladio (he's a local lad and worshipped around here, having designed most grand buildings in town) began work on the design in 1579, but he died (so this was his last one) the following year without finishing it. His pupil, Vincenzo Scamozzi, took over the project and completed the theatre in time for its ambitious opening performance of Sophocles' tragic drama, Oedipus Rex, on 3rd March 1585.

Scamozzi's stage scenery represents the Greek city of Thebes. The streets are cleverly painted in perspective and rise at a steep angle to give the illusion of great length.

All very nice, but it cost a whopping €12 each to get in, and having first passed through the Odeon, a room used for music recitals, and decorated with frescoes depicting the gods of Mount Olympus, after whom the theatre is  named, you enter the theatre, and all you can do really is sit there and admire it. Not as good as the London Palladium, but it was nice to see it, to see it nice.

Then it was a short walk in to the town centre where we saw the Piazza dei Signori encircled by grand 15th-century buildings including the city's green-roofed basilica and slender brick tower. There was a river running through the centre, but it looked quite shallow and rather scruffy. I'd have it tidied up, then flooded a bit so that I could put a load of Gondolas on it. That should attract a few extra visitors, make more profit and allow them to halve the ticket price in to the theatre, because that was all it was worth.

Next I persuaded The Chef to splash out another €4 each for a ticket to look around the Basilica with its green, copper-clad roof (but only until UK pikey's start coming here for their holidays) shaped like an upturned boat with a balustrade bristling with statues of Greek Roman gods.

Having had to walk up three flights of spiral stairs we reached - the balustrade, after walking around it we made our way back down looking for the door to get in to the basilica itself. But no, upon enquiring I was told that they don't have in interior space, that is taken up by an exhibition centre, which we could visit at an additional cost of €12 each. Oh how I laughed, gosh they couldn't possibly tell how annoyed I was. So having paid out a total of €32 to sit inside a theatre and look at it, followed by an inspection of the Town Hall roof we decided to call it a day here in Vicenza.

It has worked out quite well as it now means tomorrow we can leave for Verona which isn't too far away. Maybe they've an interesting roof or two we could have a look at.