Verona City of Lovers Is A Great Starting Point In Italy
The first stop on our 10 week Italy trip was ten days in Verona, the city of lovers! When we planned our flights, we found a really good deal on a British Airways (BA) flight from London to Verona. The BA checkin at Gatwick eventually worked quite well. There was an extremely long line to drop our bags (with only 2 open desks). And for passengers needing assistance (7 open desks and almost nobody in line). The plane was fully booked so we could not change our seats to get me on the aisle. Maybe that was why BA did not offer “pick your seats” when we did our online checkin? It was a good thing it was a relatively short flight.
The gate info for our flight was not posted. At one point the time noted for posting our gate info was later than our posted departure time. I guess that should have been a clue that the flight was delayed. The “Delayed” flag never got updated until the original boarding time passed. I guess that was one way to not show the large number of delayed flights due to alleged fog causing a rippling effect all day. I had to assume that fog was a common thing in London?
Arriving In Verona
The plane finally boarded and after a quick flight landed very late in Verona. We were booked to stay in a B&B in Verona. But we knew our flight from London was late and were unsure we would be able to get into the B&B at that time. We cancelled the first night in the B&B and booked for the first night in an airport hotel. We figured this would be easier, especially since our B&B host offered to pick us up from there at checkout time.
Making it out of baggage check just before the last shuttle for our hotel at 11pm, we foolishly tried to find a working pay phone to call the hotel while everyone else on our flight found the shuttle outside. We would be getting a local phone on this trip for sure! This just earned the cabby a 16€ ride for the 5 minute trip to the hotel. By midnight we finally settled into our room after 2 trips to the front desk to get the air conditioning working. Crabby and hot, we fell exhausted to sleep.
It was great to be back in a city we explored before. We knew the general layout of the old town and felt comfortable wandering without a map in hand. Our B&B was on the other side of the river. So if we could found the big hill above the Teatro Romano, we generally got back to the right area and found our place. We visited many of the tourist spots on our last visit (Castlevechio and Juliette’s balcony). But we figured we might try the Hop On Hop Off (HoHo) bus to see some attractions further out. We ran out of time before we did this though!
It was a busy 10 days in Verona City of Lovers. Some days we just wandered locally with no real purpose but to enjoy being on vacation. The Italiano lifestyle of people watching from the cafe suited us just fine.
Day Trips From Verona
We had one rain day where we stayed close and spent some time catching up on tweets, blogs and picture editing. On many days we enjoyed day trips or events that were unique to this area:
- Two spectacular shows in the ancient Verona Arena at night under the stars and full moon. What could be a better thing to do in Verona city of lovers?
- Train to Venice for the day for the Regatta
- Day trip to Mantova (Mantua) to see the Palace Ducale
- Relaxing day at the green oasis of the Giardini Guisti
- Tour to see Sirmione on Lake Garda
- Tour to visit a Lugana winery
Getting Connected In Verona
On our first day we went in search of connectivity and easily found two shops on the same street. On past trips we had survived with just free wifi where we found it. But this time we wanted to be sure to have both a phone and some hotspot bandwidth. We were really surprised at how cheap and easy an option this was . But then we pay way too much for all communications in Canada.
If you are relying on free wifi …..
A not well publicized option for free wifi when travelling in Italy is to get a public wifi card. The card can be obtained in public libraries in many larger towns simply by registering with your passport. You can register multiple devices and will get a unique card with ID and password for each. It was quick and efficient. The only downside is that yet one more place has a copy of our passport!
We picked up our card at the Verona library. While wandering around Verona, we now became aware of the locations where we could get free (if not super fast) wifi. It could help us out in a pinch! We never did hit the library in any other town for our 10 weeks in Italy – but we will keep this tip on file!
Wandering Around Verona
Some days we wandered off for morning coffee and tried spots in our ‘hood. While we understood that it was much cheaper to stand at the bar for coffee, most of the time we paid the table price and sat and took our time.
Breakfast came with our B&B so we usually had one big meal out (often lunch if we had not dawdled past siesta time). And the second meal was either a picnic or something simple like pizza. We had good local shopping for food. There was fresh fruit and vegetables with meat and cheese in a specialty stop. And a larger food store (with not great produce) close to that and another larger grocery store if we went further across the river.
We ate so poorly in London, I was so happy to be in Italy where it was hard to find bad food! I know that some people may be rolling their eyes at the London comment and maybe it was just where we searched. But I wanted no more pub food or deep fried anything for awhile.
The region is known for Amarone wine and almost everywhere we went the menu offered Amarone risotto (some better than others). Verona is not that close to the water so we mostly stayed away from seafood. Although we were surprised a few times with great mussels. We could be in no better region to support my journey to get David to drink red wine. Amarone was smooth and full bodied. We sampled Volpolicello in all grades – from standard to Superiore to a Ripossa mix. I really liked the Ripossa. We tried white wine on our Lugana wine tour and we tried the local Soave as well. Both nudged me a little to more sweet white wines than I previously picked.
Of course there was lots of authentic gelato. We stayed away from the fluffy mounds and looked for closed stainless steel containers that usually meant home made and fresh. Although we were warned that these containers were being used by “fake” gelato stores to fool unsuspecting buyers. We got so that we could look at the gelato and quickly assess its authenticity. David became a connoisseur of cioccolato fondante (dark chocolate) while I moved from flavour to flavour (caramel is not a thing in Italy).
Our Return to Verona City Of Lovers
Verona City of Lovers remained a town that we would visit again. It is large enough to have lots of things to do. But it is not hard to find a local neighbourhood to get away from the crowds. We were excited to be heading off to Bologna for our next adventure!
What was your favourite thing about Verona City of Lovers? Did you take a great day trip we missed?
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