Verona Favorite Tips by iandsmith
Verona Favorites: 223 reviews and 367 photos
Not even dulled by a rainy day
Favorite thing: One of Verona's attractions, somewhat overshadowed by the Piazza Erbe adjacent, is the Piazza dei Signori.
The 19th century statue of Dante is the centrepiece and he seems to be viewing the dominant Palazzo del Capitano, once the home of the military in Verona, specifically the heirarchy. This dates from the Scaligeri times (13th and 14th centuries).
Behind Dante is the Renaissance Loggia del Consiglio (1493) which coincides with the Venetian rule and is today used as a council chamber. It is topped by statues of notable Romans who were born here, Pliny the Elder being the one familiar to most.
Fondest memory: The Statue of Dante Alighieri (1265 - 1321) was erected in 1865 and was designed by Ugo Zannoni. The Palazzo del Comune is where Dante wrote the Purgatorio (Inferno), Loggia del Consiglio and the Torre dei Lamberti.
Dante Alighieri was arguably the greatest Italian poet, a statesman and a language theorist. His greatest and best known work is "Divine Comedy" written between 1310 and 1314. It is a masterpiece of world literature. He is also called the Father of Italian Language and is regarded as one of the most important writers in European literature.
Despite his fame today, he lived part of his life in exile. He stayed in Verona briefly as a guest of Bartolomeo I della Scala, the then ruler of Verona.
Who said herbs and lions don't go together?
Favorite thing: Following the Scaligeris, the Venetians held sway over Verona (it was the second largest town in their region) and their influence can be seen today by the white column just to the right of centre. The pedestal holds a lion, the symbol of the Venetian city state.
Column of Lion of St. Mark is also known as San Marco Column (Colonna di San Marco). It was designed by Michele Leoni and was erected in 1523. It is located at the northern end of Piazza delle Erbe just opposite Palazzo Maffei. The column was scupltured in Veronese white marble and is a bit of a standout when viewed from the opposite end of Piazza delle Erbe.
The lion on top of the column is not an original one which was brought down in the late 18th century. The current lion was replaced on the top of the column in the mid 19th century
Fondest memory: Directly behind it is the Palazzo Maffei (1668), a delightful baroque palace connected to the much earlier (1370) Torre del Gardello that was built by Cansignorio della Scala.
The facade of the palace has Baroque style of architecture. It was constructed for Marcantonio Maffei (1626 - 1630) and was completed in 1668. It's real eye candy for those who enjoy such things.
Atop the roof of Palazzo Maffei you will note six magnificent statues; they are of Hercules, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Apollo and Minerva. Understandly, this building, along with the surrounding buildings are among the most expensive properties in Verona. Several shops are located at the ground floor of the palace.
The Piazza Erbe (from the Latin for herb) is undoubtedly one of Italy's finest, even viewed in the drizzling rain that accompanied me everywhere.
Misty morning bridgeside
Favorite thing: 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.
On a not-so-clear day
Favorite thing: View from the bridge looking down the river with Castelvecchio apparent on the right hand side of the picture.
Awkward, but practical
Favorite thing: 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.
Seen one, seen them all
Fondest memory: I never cease to be amazed at how much is spent on funary accessories in Italy. My all time favourite was the one at Enna (see my Sicily pages) but, even after all that I had seen, this one still surprised me.
I'd taken a turn, thinking to cut across and save some kilometres on my way to Vicenza, when I stumbled across Castelrotto. I immediately had visions of a Greek temple but, no, it was just your average everyday burial place in modern Italy.
Still amazed me though!
Noteworthy cloisters - but no toilet in sight
Favorite thing: Definitely not my favourite thing but, for continuity's sake, I digress.
By the time I'd finished eyeing off my wall in the previous chapter and reached the church I was, as one is wont to say, dying to go to the toilet.
Alas, as the cold air penetrated my layers of clothing driving me to the ablution blocks, I was informed they didn't have any. The nearest were about two blocks away. I don't think the word "distressed" is too strong on this occasion to describe my predicament. It was with the utmost restraint that I spent my time in the church.
Fondest memory: In order to house the shrine of the patron saint of Verona, this mainly Romanesque-style church was constructed and is the most ornate of its ilk in northern Italy.
For 12 years from 1124 it was laboured on, though parts from previous buildings were used (earthquake 1117).
The alternating colours come from the use of tufa and bricks.
When the apse was rebuilt in 1386 an upturned ship's keel style ceiling was incorporated, adjacent to the bell tower that was commenced in 1045 though its current height (72m) wasn't attained until 1178.
The crypt contains the tomb of San Zeno who passed away in 380 AD after being appointed eighth bishop of Verona in 362 AD. The extraordinary thing is that he was African.
The rose window symbolizes the wheel of fortune, depicted on the rim are figures highlighting the rise and fall of human fortune.
Above the Western Doors is a multi-coloured bas relief showing San Zeno vanquishing the devil.
The cloisters, with rounded Romanesque arches on one side and pointed Gothic on the other, are also noteworthy.
Fondest memory: A close up of Casa Mazzanti showing some of the recently restored 16th century frescoes by Cavalli which only serves to add to the colour of the already varietal Piazza Erbe.
One of four
Favorite thing: Together with Palazzo Bevilacqua, Honorij and Pompei, Palazzo Canossa is one of the four buildings in Verona that were built by the sixteenth century architect, Michele Sanmicheli.
He designed the building in the early 16th century but it was not finished until around the second half of the 1600's by Lelio and Vincenzo Pellesina who stuck to the original plans and built the two wings that overlook the Adige.
It is a stone-built palace with framed arch windows on the upper floor. In 1761, following the superelevation of the lounge to the upper floor, the loggia was added to the pediment with statues of mythological figures by Giuseppe Antonio Schiavi. Giambattista Tiepolo, that frenetic fresco man, painted the lounge vault with scenes from the 'Glory of Hercules' however, somewhat sadly, most of it was lost in the second world war bombings.
It's located on Via Cavour, number 48 to be precise.
A wall to nowhere
Favorite thing: Fascinating. There it was. The wall. Going nowhere, the river Adige seemingly stopping its progress. Did it ever go further? It looks like it may have but the information was not forthcoming.
Certainly part of the Scaligeri fortifications from the 14th century I assume they hang over the river to deter attackers. Rather obvious when you think about it!
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