This past weekend, I took a couple day trips to Verona and Venice. I really enjoy day trips: they’re cheaper, traveling is easier, I get to see more of ITALY, and I can sleep in my own bed. It also makes me feel better since everything that has been going on with global politics. My friends and I purposefully planned the major weekend trips to be before fall break; that way, the weather would be warmer, we could do touristy things in Florence after tourist season, and we could take it easy (well, easier) as we prepare for finals and returning home. I am really glad I did it that way.
Saturday, I met Maddie at the train station to go to Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet. Somehow, the cheapest ticket we could get turned out to be in first class! There was slightly more leg and elbow room, and we got free snacks, but those were the only differences from the basic ticket. I got lemon cookies and blood orange juice, which is so good!
Once in Verona, we asked a Canadian where she got a map, and headed to the Tomb of Juliet. It had the most magnificent little garden area! I liked that better than what was inside that we had to buy a ticket for.
We bought a combined ticket with a student discount (ALWAYS ask for a discount!) that also included Juliet’s House and a fresco museum. There was another couple taking wedding (?) photos in the garden. I tell ya, people get married here all the time. The inner garden was beautiful as well!
The tomb associated with Juliet is very bare, and there is nothing inside. I think the building used to be a convent.
From there, we walked to the little Roman coliseum and took pictures from the outside because it was more than we wanted to pay to get in. There was a modern piece of ugly public art in front of it, and we thought it looked very out of place.
From there, we walked to the House of Juliet, where it is popular to touch her boob (and photograph it) to have good luck in love. It was especially funny to see parents make their little boys do it for the picture. They were so embarrassed.
If you’ve ever seen Letters to Juliet, you know that people like to stick love letters to the wall with chewing gum or bandaids, but that is now illegal. There is a guard watching and ready to fine anyone who defaces the monument. Instead, there are cute little red mailboxes to put your letters in. There was lots of graffiti on the walls of the tunnel through which you walk to get to the courtyard, lots of gum on the wall behind Juliet, and lots of love locks as well. I’ve seen love locks all over Europe, so it’s not just something you do in Paris.
I tried to go up into the house using my combined ticket, but the lady turned me away, saying it was not right. I went back down to Maddie, who was waiting to take a picture of me on the famous balcony. She went up instead and figured out that you have to exchange the tomb ticket for the house ticket at the front desk, even though they are both included. I took some pictures of her, then we switched places. I went out to the balcony and then explored the rest of the house. In the room connected to the balcony, there were different pieces of art depicting the famous story. I went upstairs and there were a couple costumes as well as a period bedroom. Going into more rooms and up more stairs, there was a view of the courtyard and some displays of ceramics and porcelain pieces from the period. I went back down and left a note in the guestbook instead of a letter in the mailbox.
We tried to go to Romeo’s house, but it was closed. I wasn’t too bummed, because I still don’t know what is in it. We then walked through a piazza with a little Christmas market. We kept going and came to another little square with more market, and I got hot chocolate. Apparently it’s a thing to put a little rum in it, so I got some that way, but I decided I like my chocolate better senza rum.
From there, we walked ten feet to the palace museum to get warm. We decided to buy a ticket and climb the accompanying tower. We climbed up several flights of stairs when we realized there was an elevator that went most of the way up. 😐 Oh well, we worked off the hot chocolate. Up at the top, it was cold and very windy, but the view was beautiful.
We went to the museum, which was mostly modern art (in Italy that means like post- eighteenth century). It was mostly artist from Verona, and their work was beautiful! There was also an ornately painted chapel. We then looked for the mysterious whale bone that is hanging under an arch. No one really knows why it’s there, but it was even in some of the older paintings of Verona. Turns out, we walked right under it to get to the Christmas market. We just didn’t see it earlier because we were a little distracted by Christmas cheer.
We then walked back through the city to the train station. Verona was the prettiest city I’ve been to, aside from Venice.
Sunday, I went to Venice with two of my other friends. We left the train station and immediately saw the canals. It was beautiful! We walked around the city for a bit, just taking pictures and taking in the sites. That was possibly my favorite part.
First, we went to the Peggy Guggenheim museum. Peggy was a big collector and patron of modern art. She had a lot of very famous names in her personal collection, and she was friends with many of them. Her collection was amazing.
There was also a terrace looking out onto a canal. Peggy lived here, no big deal.
We then visited the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, which had gorgeous red decorations.
We then walked to the Bienale, which is the huge contemporary art exhibition. It’s a big deal.
We got to Murano and watched the sunset, then walked through the store of the famous artist who made the large blue comet structure we later saw.
We were too late to see any glass blowing demonstrations, so I would recommend getting there earlier than 4:30, when we got there. We did walk into the back room of one of the stores and saw where they blow glass.