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I Love Touring Italy - Northern Veneto

Verona Words (Ref: 26749), self-catering apartment in Verona, Italy 
In the very heart of Verona: a ten-minute walk from Piazza delle Erbe and Juliet's balcony and just one from Giardino Giusti. Verona Words welcomes visitors in a stylish, unique atmosphere. A tastefully furnished apartment dated back to the late seventeenth century. Some pieces are pure, fine antiques.... Sleeps 4.
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I Love Touring Italy - Verona   by Levi Reiss

Verona Featured Hotels

If you are in the mood for a European tour, you should consider the Veneto region of northern Italy on the Gulf of Venice. Venice is its best-known city and one of the most popular tourist destinations on earth. But the Veneto region is much, much more than this great city. There are excellent tourist attractions elsewhere, and you won't have to fight the huge crowds. With a little luck you'll avoid tourist traps, and come back home with the feeling that you have truly visited Italy. 

This article examines tourist attractions in the Shakespearean town of Verona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to read our companion articles on northern Veneto, southern Veneto, and the university city of Padua.

Verona. I don't know about you, but I can't hear this word without thinking of the phrase, Two Gentlemen of Verona, a not particularly well-known Shakespeare play. Verona was the setting of a particularly well-known Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet. This city of more than a quarter million has a long and bloody history. Its residents are proud that on an Easter Monday more than two hundred years ago they drove out the French occupiers. The German writer Goethe and the French writers Stendhal and Valery included Verona in their travel diaries. The Roman emperor Julius Caesar spent a lot of time here, and probably enjoyed many of the sights described next.
Verona has quite a collection of vestiges from its Roman days. Let's start with its Roman amphitheatre, the third largest in Italy. This structure is approximately 400 feet (140 meters) long and 350 feet (110 meters) wide, giving it a seating capacity of about 25,000 spectators in 44 tiers of marble seats. While only fragments of the outer walls remain, its interior is virtually intact. This edifice often hosts fairs, theatre, opera and other public events, especially during the summer.

A First Century B.C. Roman theatre was subsequently transformed into a housing site. In the Eighteenth Century the houses were demolished and the site restored. Nearby you'll find the Ponte di Pietra (Stone Bridge), a Roman arch bridge crossing the Adige River, completed in 100 B.C. Retreating German troops destroyed four of the bridge arches in World War II but the bridge was rebuilt in 1957 using original materials.

You should also see the First Century Arco dei Gavi (Gavi Arch) straddling the Corso Cavour; once the main road into the city. Look for the architect's signature, a rarity for the times. French troops destroyed this arch in 1805, and it was rebuilt only in 1932.

Building Facade on Piazza Bra, Verona, Veneto, Italy
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Porta Borsari, an archway at the end of the Corso Porta Borsari street, is the façade of a Third Century gate within the original Roman city walls. This street is lined with several Renaissance Palaces. Porta Leoni (Leoni Gate) is all that remains of a First Century B.C. Roman city gate. Parts of it have been incorporated into a wall of a medieval building. Even in those days some people believed in recycling. You can see the remains of the original Roman street and the gateway foundations if you look slightly below the present street level.

The Twelfth Century Romanesque Duomo (Cathedral) was constructed on the site of two Palaeo-Christian churches destroyed by an earthquake much earlier in the century. The site includes an unfinished Sixteenth Century bell tower. Be sure to see the chapel adorned with Titian's Assumption.

Verona's largest church is the Fifteenth Century Sant'Anastasia whose interior is considered one of northern Italy's finest examples of Gothic architecture, and believe me this competition includes many entries. The construction of this magnificent edifice took nearly two hundred years. Among its items of honor are frescoes and hunchback statues that serve to dispense holy water. It is said that touching a hunchback's hump brings good luck. Maybe next time.
High View of City and Ponte Pietra, Verona, Veneto, Italy
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San Fermo Maggiore is in reality two churches. The tomblike lower Romanesque church dates from the Eighth Century. The huge Fourteenth Century Gothic upper church is notable for its ceiling festooned with the paintings of four hundred saints. There are more churches to see in Verona but we are now going to look at castles and palaces.

The Fourteenth Century Castelvecchio (Old Castle) was built on the banks of the Adige River near the Ponte Scaligero (Scaligero Bridge), probably on the site of a Roman fortress. Built to protect against foreign invaders and popular rebellions, it included a fortified bridge in case the owners had to flee north to join their allies in the Tyrol. Over the centuries the castle has undergone many renovations and restorations. Make sure to visit its art museum, specializing in Venetian painters and sculptors.

Those Scaligeris spent a lot of their time in the Palazzo degli Scaligeri, their medieval palace, which today, as then, is closed to the general public. But you can go next door to the Arche Scaligere with its Gothic tombs of selected members of the family.

The Italian Piazza is a meeting place. Verona has some special examples. The Piazza delle Erbe (Herb Square) has been around since the days of the Romans. For ages it was a fruit and vegetable market but now is geared to tourists. It still maintains its medieval look and some of the produce stalls. The Piazza dei Signori (Gentlemen's Square) is Verona's center of activities as it has been for centuries. This square is right next door to the Scaglieri Palace. Those gentlemen didn't believe in commuting.

We can't leave Verona without visiting those star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. The Twelfth Century Casi di Giulietta (Juliet's House) long belonged to the Dal Cappello family and since it's not a long way from Cappello to Capulet perhaps... This lovely house even possesses a courtyard balcony. Yes, the house at Via Cappello, 23 probably isn't the real thing, but crowds come to gawk and dream. This could be the place to propose marriage.

What about food? Verona's cuisine features typical dishes of the Po Valley plains: mixed boiled meats, nervetti (calf's foot and veal shank salad), and risotto, often prepared with a healthy douse of Amarone wine. The Piazza delle Erbe still hosts some fruit and vegetable stalls that sell local produce such as radicchio and asparagus. Not only the wine is classified. Verona boasts a classified cheese, Monte Veronese. But who would think that rice is also classified? The Riso Nano Vialone Veronese is a laboratory-developed rice first introduced into the area in 1945. It now represents 90% of the local production. Is it better than other rice? Locals obviously think so. I promise that I will taste it on my next trip to Verona.

Let's suggest a sample menu, one of many. Start with Gnocchi (Small Potato Dumplings). Then try Pastissada de Caval (Horsemeat Stew, often simmered in wine).
For dessert indulge yourself with Pandoro di Verona (Verona Butter Cream Cake). Be sure to increase your dining pleasure by including local wines with your meal.

We'll conclude with a quick look at Veneto wine. Veneto ranks 3rd among the 20 Italian regions for the area planted in grape vines and for its total annual wine production. About 45% of Veneto wine is red or rose, leaving 55% for white. The region produces 24 DOC wines and 3 DOCG wines, Recioto di Soave, Soave Superiore, and Bardolino Superiore. DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, which may be translated as Denomination of Controlled Origin, presumably a high-quality wine The G in DOCG stands for Garantita, but there is in fact no guarantee that such wines are truly superior. Almost 30% of Venetian wine carries the DOC or DOCG designation.

Traveller Relaxing at Outdoor Cafe on Piazza Bra, Verona, Italy
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Valpolicella DOC is a world famous wine produced north of Verona from several local red grapes. This wine is usually nothing to write home about and often tastes of cooked cherries. But that is hardly the end of the Valpolicella story. Valpolicella Ripasso is made from young Valpolicella wine put into tanks or barrels containing the lees (one could say dregs, but that might give the wrong impression) of a recioto wine (see below). The mixture undergoes a secondary fermentation and becomes a more interesting wine. Valpolicella Recioto is made from passito grapes, those dried on mats for several months. It may be a still wine, a fizzy wine, or a sparkling wine. Valpolicella Recioto is sweet or bittersweet. Amarone DOC is a type of Valpolicella Recioto whose sugar has been completely transformed into alcohol becoming a powerful tasting wine that packs a punch and ages well. What a difference between Amarone and its source wine, Valipolcella.

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About the Author - Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but he prefers drinking fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods and people. He knows about dieting but now eats and drinks what he wants, in moderation. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His new wine, diet, health, and nutrition website links to his other sites.


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B4 Verona Leon d'Oro by Boscolo Verona
Leon d'Oro Hotel is your touchstone for discovering centuries of history and art, world-class theatrical productions and an exquisite gastronomic experience.  The Leon d'Oro Boscolo Hotel Verona is a beautiful hotel situated in the heart of Verona.  The Leon d'Oro Hotel offers its guests a selection of 206 generous rooms, all in the same rich and elegant style that characterises the entire hotel.  Be sure to dine at the Salgari Restaurant that offers the traditional local cuisine or visit the Le Opere American Bar for a cocktail or a sampling of fine pastries.  Guests on business can utilise the meeting facilities that offer the highest standards of comfort, design and technology. The region has a lot to offer for your free time.
Cristallo Hotel Verona
Offering comfortable accommodation and convenient facilities, the Cristallo Hotel Verona provides you with all of the quality amenities to make your stay a memorable one.  The Cristallo Hotel is located in the southern part of Verona, just 8 kilometres from the historical centre. In addition, the hotel is placed close to the exhibition centre and the motorway.  The hotel boasts 91 rooms, which offer a high-standard of hospitality and different room types to satisfy all your requests, either for business, leisure or groups.  The onsite restaurant offers an intense pleasure starting from the breakfast, and at dinner there is always a vegetable buffet together with the a la carte menu with typical and local cuisine.
Maxim Hotel Verona
Characterised by exceptional quality, modern style and maximum of care for its guests, this property with its strategic position is a good solution for both business or pleasure travellers.  Boasting a privileged location in Verona, the Maxim Hotel is just a kilometre from the Porta Vescovo, while the Verona and Vicenza Exhibition centres and many other famous attractions are just few kilometres away from the hotel.  Being a charming oasis of tranquillity the fabulous on-site restaurant will tantalize your taste buds with wonderful cuisine. The beautifully decorated bar is the ideal meeting place for those who wish to try the impressive and ever changing cocktail.
Monaco Hotel Verona
If you are planning for an ideal holiday destination in Verona, the Monaco Hotel is a perfect place for you to reside and explore the surrounding areas.  Monaco Hotel is located 300 metres from the exit of Verona South, at 1.5 kilometres from the exhibition centre and 4 kilometres from the historical city centre.  The hotel has 58 comfortable rooms that are well furnished and equipped with standard amenities.  The hotel features an informal snack-bar cafe and an excellent typical restaurant for your dining pleasure.
Saccardi Quadrante Europa Hotel Verona
If you want to avoid the traffic and the chaos of the city centre, without being too far from it or want to spend your holidays near the Lake Garda, then this hotel is the right place to be.  Saccardi Quadrante Europa Hotel is located at the intersection of the highways and is less than 10 Kilometers far from the fair centre and the golf course.  There are 120 rooms and 6 suites, all sound proof, elegantly furnished and equipped with every comfort.  The onsite restaurant provides Italian and local specialities along with the most famous international cuisine, carefully cooked and prepared by the Chef.  For relaxation, you can visit the Well-being Center, the hotel's Health Spa where an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, hydromassage and a gym are available.
Tryp Verona Hotel and Convention Center, Verona
The Tryp Verona Hotel and Convention Center is located in the suburbs of Verona, in the industrial area of San Giovanni Lupatoto. The hotel is well communicated with the most important cities in northern Italy as well as with the International Airport Valerio Catullo. Placed just 3 kilometres from the Exhibition Centre, this hotel is 5 kilometres from the city centre of Verona.  This hotel has 196 double rooms and 7 junior suites that offer stunning views of the Dolomiti Mountains or the Verona. Start of your day with a extensive buffet breakfast served at the hotel. For lunch and dinner, you can dine at the onsite a la carte restaurant that specialises in regional and Mediterranean cuisine. You can also enjoy some snacks and cocktails served at the cafeteria.
Villa Malaspina Hotel Verona
Villa Malaspina Hotel welcomes its guests in a charming and historical surrounding. This Villa, dating from the XVI century, has been lovingly restored to its past glory and is today a luxurious hotel combining style and history together with the best of modern facilities.  Villa Malaspina Hotel is conveniently located in the quiet countryside just outside Verona, yet well connected to the town by public transport. Verona Exhibition Centre is just 6.5 km away and the town centre is 9 km away.  The hotel offers accommodation in 70 individually designed rooms and junior suites, all different in size and colours. They are all equipped with the latest modern facilities.  The leading concept of the restaurant is simplicity. Simple traditional flavours are preserved by simple, natural, light cooking techniques.
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