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 planning our flights, we were able to find a really good deal on a British Airways (BA) flight from London to Verona. The BA checkin at Gatwick worked quite well when we finally got out of the extremely long line to drop our bags (with only 2 open desks) and moved to the line 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?). Good thing it was a relatively short flight.
The gate info for our flight was not posted and at one point the time noted for posting our gate 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 – one way to not show the large number of delayed flights due to alleged fog causing a rippling effect all day (gotta assume that is a common thing in London?).
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 arriving late and were unsure we would be able to get into the B&B at that time. Cancelling the first night in the B&B, we booked for the first night in an airport hotel. We figured this would be easier, especially with our B&B host offering 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 had 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 had 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 and if we could see the big hill above the Teatro Romano we could generally get back to the right area and find our place. We had 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!
We had 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.
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.
- 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
Wandering Around Verona
On our first day we went in search of connectivity, easily finding two shops on the same street. While in past trips we had survived with just free wifi where we found it, 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!
Some days we would wander off for morning coffee, trying spots in our ‘hood and a few we had sampled on our wanderings. While we understood that it was much cheaper to stand at the bar for coffee, most of the time we paid the table price to sit and take 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 – 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 had eaten 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 had tried white wine on our Lugana wine tour and we tried the local Soave as well – both nudging me a little to more sweet white wines than I have previously chosen.
Of course there was lots of authentic gelato. We stayed away from the fluffy mounds, looking for closed stainless steel containers that usually meant home made and fresh (although we had been 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).
We made it 12 days into our trip before we needed to do laundry. While there was a washing machine at the B&B, there was no dryer and only limited hanging space. A few blocks from the B&B, we found a proper laundromat and about 60 minutes later 3 loads were finished. Of course, I still had half a suitcase of clean clothes when we did laundry which should be a clear signal that maybe I packed too much clothes. David had nothing but his dress pants left.
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. But 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?