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Via Verona to Florence

Home -> Europe -> Italy -> Travelogue Italy -> 22 May 2004

Saturday 22 May, via Verona to Florence

Despite the clouds and a grey sky it is pleasantly warm when we get up and pack up our tent. Nice wetaher for a long cardrive or a citytrip and we are planning to do both. It takes some time before we are on a highway, but eventually we drive to the west, to Verona. When we were looking at the map yesterday, we thought we would have enough time to make this detour.
Cathedral of VeronaSince we have no map it takes us a short time to get where we want, but following the towers we park just outside the city center, we hope. And indeed, when we cross a bridge we soon see the Duomo, the cathedral of Verona. Coming from the north we we walk southward to the real center.
Arche Scaligere Arche ScaligereOn the way we come across the Arche Scaligere, monumental Gothic tombs of the Scaligeri family, who ruled Verona from 1277 to 1387. The tomb on the picture to the right stands apart a bit and is of Cangrande I, the patron of Dante.
Walking through this town, where once Shakespeare let his Romeo and Juliet live and die, we see historical buildings everywhere, like in almost every town in Italy. To our surprise it is here also crowded with tourists. Our idea that it will be quiet because it is still early season is obviously totally wrong. But how busy will it be in high season? We don't want to know!
Roman excavationsNear the Borsari Gate (erected at the end of the first century and called at the time Jove's Gate, one of the original entrances to the Roman city) is a square where we see part of an excavation. In Roman times there were houses here and we can even see some mosaics.
We sit down to have a drink and friendly Germans give us a townmap. We are quite appy with it, since in fatc we have no idea where we exactly are.
The arena of VeronaThanks to the map we have no problem now finding the old and new center where the Roman arena dominates on Piazza Bra. It has places for 22,000 visitors. Built in the first century AD, this is one of the most important and best conserved Roman amphitheatres.
It is called arena from the Latin name for the sand that covers the stage where the shows took place. In the summer months there are open-air operas carried out.
Egyptian opera at the Arena of Verona Egyptian opera at the Arena of VeronaThis summer it will probably be the Aida, considering the amount of Egyptian statues and other props which surround the immense Arena. Workers are busy assembling large scaffolds, even rising above the arena.
There is more to see at Verona, but we are heading for Florence. On the laptop the itinerary to the campsite had seemed pretty easy, but after 45 minutes driving around through the busy traffic, we finally get a chance to stop and ask someone. In Italian we get elaborate suggestions but when we indicate we don't speak Italian and it is a bit too much for us to remember what he says, he just starts to speak much louder, as if our Italian would improve by that. It is a phenomenon that can be seen all over the world: speak louder and maybe they understand you better then... When we thank him and drive away he gestures to us that we should follow him. But after 20 minutes we loose him in the fuss of the traffic. Driving through Florence is not something one wants to do for fun, but we are getting better and better, behaving as real 'Italians' in the traffic.
First view of FlorenceFinally, less than one kilometer away from the campsite, we see a sign pointing to it. Apparently the indications from the other direction is much better; we seem to have driven around in some suburb while we thought we were somewhere near the center! But our search is rewarded with this beautiful view on the city from Piazza Michelangelo, the cathedral being the eye-catcher of the center.
Tomorrow we will explore the city, on which we have a nice view from the terrace of the campsite since it is situated on one of the hills south of the center. Now we first try to recover a bit from this hectic drive.


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