Travel

Verona and Cinque Terre, Italy

Verona

The northern Italian city of Verona (260,000 inhabitants) is located in the Veneto region on the banks of the Adige River. The old town of Verona is so rich in historical monuments that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Between June and August – when the Opera Festival takes place in the Verona Arena – it is usually very hot in the region. If you don’t want to come to the opera festival and don’t like too much heat, it is best to travel to Verona in autumn. In September and October it is also pleasantly warm, September is the driest month of the year in Verona, walks along the Adige are particularly romantic in autumn, and there are not quite as many tourists in the city as in the main season. Tourists, those who have their holiday accommodation on Lake Garda like to take a day trip to Verona; and if you are on a study trip to Tuscany, you should take a detour to the city of Romeo and Juliet – it’s worth it!

The greatest historical monument in Verona is undoubtedly the Arena, the ancient amphitheater that is now used as a venue for operas and concerts. Verona is an ancient city. It was made around 90 BC. Incorporated into the Roman Empire as a colony. The Romans built the grandiose arena around 30 AD, which is not much smaller than the Colosseum in Rome! The arena is located in Piazza Bra in the city center. From the piazza, the visitor first sees the well-preserved arcades that surround the building; whoever enters the arena is amazed at the size of the stage and the many spectator stands. There is space for around 22,000 people in the arena. Operas have been performed here since 1913 – the first performance was a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida”; “Aida” is still often on the program today.

No tourist will fail to visit the city’s second major attraction: Juliet’s house! As is well known, the tragic love story of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet takes place in Verona. Shakespeare did not use real people as models for his drama, but there used to be a family “Capello” or “Capuletti” who owned a palace near the Piazza delle Erbe in Verona. The romantic balcony on the wall facing the courtyard was not built until 1930. But the whole ambience of the city palace, which was built in the 14th century, seems so romantic that every visitor can vividly imagine that Julia would come onto the balcony in the next moment…

The old town of Verona is rich in romantic photo opportunities. The Palazzo Barbieri, which today serves as the town hall, the medieval cathedral “Santa Maria Matricolare” and the “Ponte Scaligero”, the old arched bridge over the Adige, should also be mentioned; this bridge was built in 1356.

Cinque Terre

The five “Cinque Terre” are a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The five Italian coastal villages “Cinque Terre” have largely retained their originality despite the many guests. No concrete silos disturb the idyllic picture of the colorful houses that seem to grow out of the cliffs. The locals grow olives and wine on the terraces, some of which are steeply sloping. The five fishing villages that are world famous and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. The best way to explore the beauties of the five places is to stroll through them on foot through the narrow streets.

Hiking holidaymakers get their money’s worth around “Cinque Terre”

The region around the five picturesque fishing villages is very popular with hikers who spend their active holidays here. The hiking network is well developed and often leads along old dry stone walls. The views that are offered along the paths sometimes take the hikers’ breath away. Those in the know include the “Sentiero Azzuro”, which runs from Monterosso over a length of twelve kilometers to Riomaggiore, among the most beautiful hiking routes. The walking time for an experienced hiker is between five and six hours. The 40-kilometer hiking trail from Levanto to Portovenere is very demanding. You should calculate about ten hours for this route. If you want, you can also stay overnight on the way.

Religion has always played a major role in Cinque Terra

A relaxing beach holiday, on the other hand, can be spent in Monterosso al Mare, as there is a large sandy beach in front of the place. Sights in the village include the Loggia del Podestà from the 14th century and the Capuchin Monastery of S. Francesco, where you can see paintings by A. van Dyck, among others. The loveliest place on the Cinque Terra is probably Vernazza, at whose harbor a small square with picturesque houses opens up. The Romanesque church of S. Maria di Antioch, which was built in 1318, is worth seeing. There are also churches worth seeing in the towns of Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia. For example S. Pietro in Corniglia, an outstanding Gothic building in Liguria.

Cinque Terre, Italy