The hills around the town, Verona
Just couldn't resist not to take the picture of this abandoned Villa which is lined on the Castle S. Pietro. As it is all "dressed" in green it looks very charming and beautiful. Too bad it is in such a bad conditions. It has just perfect position and spectacular view on the old core of the town. Who knows why the owner is treating the porperty in such a bad way.
The Fortress of Sofia is a part of the defending system of the town built during the period of Autrian rule of Verona. It is situated on the hill above the river of Adige, right next to the Sanctuary of Madonna of Lourdes. The fortress is of heptagonal shape with the huge round building in its centre.
Take a taxi up to this church which hovers over Verona. The church itself is pretty but very modern. However the views down to Verona are perfect.
Once you have your fill of the view, walk down through the gardens and little pathways all the way back to the river. Cross the Ponte Pietra, through the archway and wander through an old part of the town not really discovered by the tourists yet. Stop for a coffee along the river, and eventually you will find your way back to Piazza Erbe.
Eversince to Roman times the San Pietro Hill had strategic importance in the area of Verona. The first fortress was built in the Roman times but was destroyed in the coming centuries. In 1398 Giangaleazzo Visconti built the cstale on the site of the previous fortress, named it after the ancient Romanesque church of San Pietro in Castello. The castle was destroyed, first by French army in 1801 and then it was completely pulled down by the Austrians in 1840.
The present look of the castle dates from 1851 when the Austrians built army barracs and the castle in that area.
The Abbey of St. Peter, which is situated in San Bonifacio, about 15km east of Verona in direction of Vicenza (statale nr. 11), is a must see. This Romanesque church, dedicated to St. Peter, was built in the 8th century and reconstructed in 1138 by order of pater Uberto di San Bonifacio. The magnificent interior of the church is rich of medieval frescoes painted by the followers of Giotto School.
The massive bell tower from 1131 used to serve as an defending tower. Later, in the 14th century, ghotic styled trifora was added along with cupola.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna of Lourdes rises to dominate Verona from the San Leonardo hill which encircles the Valdonega valley.
According to popular tradition, the whole zone of the Valdonega was dedicated by the Crusaders, on their return from the Holy Land, to the construction of a series of oratories, because of the resemblance of some of its landscapes with places in Palestine.
On the San Leonardo hill, instead, from at least 1265 there rose a church dedicated to the Saint that had an adjoining monastery, the complex of which was to grow enormously before the dreadful earthquake that srtuck Verona in 1511. Today, only a Romanesque bell-tower, a part of the cloister and the apse of the church remain.
In 1785 the monastery was de.consecrated until, thanks to its strategic position, the hill was designated by the Grand Duke, Maximilian of Hapsburg, as the seat of a military fortress. Finally, after 1945, the complex was assigned to the Fathers of the Stigmatas for them to make it their new sanctuary.
Building of the present Sanctuary was begun in 1958.
If you wander far enough up St. Peter's hill, you will come across the small, grassy Parco delle Colombare. Climb onto one of the crumbling medieval stone walls to get a wonderful view of the city. The park is an ideal place to relax or have a picnic. Walk up Via Castel San Pietro to Via Castello San Felice.
Another option to reach San Pietro Hill is walking up with this narrow street which is situated in between Ponte Pietra and the church of San Stefano. The street is very pitoresque with its beautiful houses and stone made pavement.