The highlights, Verona
The Scaliger period of Verona is one of great political influence, economic power and territorial expansion, it was the golden age of Verona.
During medieval times the fight for dominance of Verona between leading families of the area ended with the della Scala (Scaligeri) family taking control in 1277 and maintaining rule for the next 110 years. The Scaligeri transformed the city with erection of countless magnificent buildings, but also culturaly through a strong patronage of the arts. They supported painters and poets, such as Giotto, Altichiero, Dante Alighieri and Petrarca.
Cangrande I della Scala was agreat warrior and he brought under his control the cities of Vicenza, Padova and Treviso. Mastino II continued the policy conquering Brescia, Parma and Lucca. After the King of France he was the richiest prince of his time. In 1337 the powerful league was formed against Mastino II, led by the Visconti, Este and The Gonzaga. After three years war the Scaligeri dominions were reduced to Verona and Vicenza. Cansignorio ruled the longest period of time (1359-1375) beautified Verona with palaces, provided it with aqueducts and bridges and founded the state treasury. Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan made war on Cansignorio. Having exhausted all his resources, Cansignorio fled from Verona during night of October 19th 1387, thus putting an end to the Scaligeri domination of Verona.
Castelvecchio is a monument which could be considered the quintessential Italian castle.
Fondest memory: Castelvecchio or Castello Scaligero is a huge and well preserved castle right in the heart of old city centre.
On this picture is the inside look of the Ponte Scaligero, the three arched bridge - an engineering wonder. To see more about the Castle check my Castelvecchio traveloque.
Palazzo Canossa is early 16th century structure, erected by comission of noble Canossa family to Michele Sanmicheli, a famous architect from Verona. The palace was built in 1527 in Mannerist style. One of the ceilings in the palace had frescoes by Gian Battista Tiepolo but they were lost in a bombings of Verona during World War II.
In its long history the palace housed important figures, such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Francis I of Austria and Alexander I of Russia. The palace is situated in between Porta Borsari and Castello Scaligero.
The Giusti Gardens, with their adjoining 16th century Palace, constitute an urban complex of great interest and beauty.
The picture of the Palace was taken from the inner courtyard, because this part of the building is much more attractive then the front facade. Actually, I have missed it passing by the first time I was searching for the park. Out of the street it looks like an unattractive huge block of the buildings.
The perimeter wall fell into ruin or was deliberately destroyed over the centuries, and all that remains today is the fragment that towers above the arena, composed of three tiers with only four arches remaining on each tier. This is known to the people of Verona as the "Alla". or wing.
Fondest memory: What you see in front of the wing is the fifteenth-century shrine of the Virgin. It stands right at the beginning of Via Mazzini.
The impressive castle was built between 1355 and 1375, just in time for the Visconti of Milan, who obviously knew a good thing when they saw it, to take it over in 1387.
Today it houses a splendid art gallery, arranged to give striking views of the castle as well as the exhibits.
It starts with Roman and early Christian material then moves on to medieval and Renaissance works, notable for their attention to vivid realism rather than some of the more idealistic works south of the Apennines.
There's also a worthy collection of jewellery and military artifacts such as suits of armour and swords.
This shot is taken on the bridge where you can also find the statue of one of the earlier Scaligeri rulers, Cangrande 1, originally on his grave but moved to those site later.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, unless you're with me, when you'll find that it's closed for the whole week for an upgrade.
Fondest memory: The bridge, built in 1355, was once part of the old defense system of Castelvecchio. It crosses the River Adige using three spans and has an overall length of 120m from the castle to the opposite bank. The bridge was mined by the retreating Germans and blown up on the evening of 24th April 1945. However, reconstruction took place in 1951 using the original materials.
Favorite thing: This is the corridor for the spectators, situated right above the main corridor of the Amphitheatre. There are many entrances towards the terraces and this kind of experience was applicable to the most of the football stadiums built in modern times.
The Amphitheatre of Verona served as a theatre for gladiatorial games, races and other spectacular events. Nowadays, from 1913 in fact, the Arena is the regular setting for splendid operatic performances.
Fondest memory: This is the main corridor, situated below the terraces, which served to the gladiators entering in the arena.
Favorite thing: The Arena covers an elliptical site measuring 456 feet by 360 feet, and the dimensions of the pit are 243 feet by 144 feet. The load-bearing structure consists of concrete and rubble with an external facing of brick and stone quarried from the hills around the town. This combination of materials produces an attractive colour contrast.
Castlevecchio, which stands alongside the Adige River, is one of the city's most interesting looking buildings. It houses an art museum with works of Titian and Rubens.
May 2006 update : Parts of the towers are under wraps for restoration and with adverts on rather spoils their current appearance.
Looks historic but I was not all that impressed,looks like it is made out of cardboard from a distance,but on closer inspection I can see it is an old castle,did not bother to find out the date it was build or by whom or who owned it.
Fondest memory: I miss the city of Verona a very touristic city but if you go away from the touristic places you can find more things of interest.
Either to watch or participate is very enjoyable this passtime at Verona..
Fondest memory: It was a hot day in Verona,I walked all the streets , seen all there was to see then i come across this people messing about in the river,watched for some time wished I was among them.
Fondest memory: A favourite memory was going into the arena on the day that we saw the opera Aida in the evening. It was quite fascinating to seee the stage being prepared with all the props and trying to decide the best place for us to sit on the stone steps - the cheap unreserved ones where the acoustics are wonderful.
Favorite thing: The fountain of Madonna Verona (or in Italian La fontana di Madonna Verona) is one of the city symbols. The fountain was erected at the wishes of Casignorio della Scala to celebrate the repair of the city's aqueduct. In 1368 she was repaired and it's one of the oldest in the city. It is constructed in the form of a female figure, dating back to Roman times. In her hands, she holds a scroll bearing the emblem of the city of Verona and she stands on a base on which are sculpted eight masks from which the water flows. On one of these you can see the epigraph "Marmorea Verona" - Verona Marble.
The highlight of our stay in Verona was seeing La Traviata at the Roman Arena. Verona's opera festival runs for most of the summer, with performances almost every night and the Forum, with its excellent acoustics, is a perfect venue. It was quite an experience to be there as darkness fell, as the music began, and as the candles were lit. This tradition of each spectator ligthing a candle dates back to 1913, when opera was first performed here and in order to illuminate the stage and to read the programmes, the audience brought small candles with them.
All was going great - but then the rain came! Halfway through the first act the first drops started to fall, members of the orchestra then walked off the stage and we were left waiting in frustration. We had a half-hour wait until it cleared, then another rain-delay followed the briefest of restarts. Luckily we had brought two bottles of wine and plenty of munchies. Finally, the bad weather passed and the opera continued. Despite the delays, we had a memorable evening and I would recommend this festival to anyone who visits Verona in the summer months.
To get to the enclosed and monitored part of the archeological museum you can either walk or take a lift.
Its setting is actually an old monastery and the featured displays are in the rooms set around a courtyard.
The Jesuit order's premises became a museum in 1923.
Many of the bronzes come from the collection of Earl Jacopo Verita when he started acquiring around 1770.
Fondest memory: This particular piece, from Isola della Scala and dated 11th century AD shows Hercules fighting against the Lybic giant Anteus, son of the goddess Earth. He raises Anteus, thus denying him contact with his mother, who would have given him strength.
These small bronzes of gods were produced from Roman times to be offered to the gods in small sanctuaries.
Other statues were merely decorative, used as ornaments or as objet d'art in the houses of the rich.