Rain drums down on the old bridge, its brickwork shiny with reflected lights. A steady ribbon of colourful umbrellas pass along one side, as tourists make their way across the river.
I stand still, umbrella-less, staring across at the old town, water dripping from my hair and beading on my leather jacket, taking in my first view of touristic Italy.
After being based in a quiet mountain town in Trentino, a bustling little city like Verona is a bit of a shock. Even in the rain, the historical centre of Verona is crowded. Umbrellas are on sale everywhere, and restaurants display their menus in English as well as Italian. It’s all a bit overwhelming after quiet Mezzocorona.
We cross the old bridge, wander through the narrow streets, and take refuge in a restaurant. Our waiter speaks perfect English, but we pretend we don’t and order pasta and wine in our basic Italian. The carbonara is delicious with a peppery bite, but we look around skittishly, still uncertain of our surroundings.
Braving the rain again, we find the old arena with the ‘gladiators’ outside. The costumed actors shock me a little, and I feel self-righteous disapproval set in, especially when I notice a few wearing thermal underwear under their armour. The historian in me also begins questioning the style of their weapons and I quickly walk away towards the opera house, where we find nothing but more rain and tourists.
Already, I find myself tiring of all the Romeo and Juliet references – Shakespeare was English (obviously) and there’s no records of him ever visiting Verona. It turns out Verona doesn’t agree with my studious side. Perhaps I’m not a true romantic after all.
Despite that, it’s a pleasant day. We both get completely soaked (we should probably have bought an umbrella from that nice street hawker after all) but manage to navigate the crowds and catch a glimpse of the beauty of the city. Next time, I’ll stay in the city for a few days, and discover the Verona behind the tourist centre.
Last Updated 22 April 2022