In Varenna, we took our first bus on the tour. Today’s destination is The Dolomites in the Italian Alps, but not before a stop in historic Verona. Verona has a tumultuous history of wars and conquests by foreign invaders and has many architectural treasures that earned it the designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in AD 30, the Roman amphitheater, Verona Arena, partially damaged by a devastating 12th century earthquake, still is used today to stage operas.
But, arguably Verona’s biggest claim to fame is its setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Verona was quick to seize upon this tourist opportunity by building Juliet’s balcony. It also had her statue built that stands in the small courtyard outside. Somehow, the legend began that rubbing her right breast would bring the perpetrator much luck in love, be it man or woman.
I had the misfortune of my camera battery’s losing its charge without my having on hand a spare, which was left on the tour bus parked miles away. So, much time was wasted looking for a camera shop. When I did find a store (with our guide’s help), none of the batteries was charged, not surprisingly. It was pointless to buy one. With time running out, in our search for Basilica di San Zeno, we stumbled instead across the Verona Cathedral (Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta), a Romanesque church which replaced the existing one that was destroyed by the earthquake.
We grabbed a quick lunch at a cafeteria-style restaurant before boarding the bus for The Dolomites.