Monday, Sept 19, 2016 Verona Walk & Fancy dinner
We had planned Verona as a center for exploration of the cities surrounding it. However, Monday seems to be a “day of rest” in this part of Italy and we had no place to go. So we decided to see what Rick Steves had as a “Verona Walk.” We headed out from our hotel and turned left directly to the Roman Arena. We had gone that way often in our search for restaurants. Today, we found a park bench and sat in the shade. Anne reviewed the walk and pointed out the attractions in the immediate area. Tom used his long telephoto to capture a costumed Roman soldier posing for euros. While the statuary is always a photo temptation, the people on the street are even more so. People on bicycles, toting musical instruments, or even wearing a wedding dress on a cobblestone street are even more interesting. These are the people of today, living their lives in a vibrant city.
The big draw among the tourists is the William Shakespeare-inspired Juliet Balcony. Of course it is all fictitious, but the crowds flock to get a glimpse. (The purported balcony is actually a sarcophagus tacked onto a wall. After many miles of walking, we came to the Santa Anastasia cathedral - a magnificent edifice with 3-D simulating floors and hunchback gargoyles holding the holy water.
Now we were down by the river and some magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Heading back, we stopped close to our hotel and had lunch in an old (from 1904) bakery/lunch establishment. A good rest that afternoon, prepared us for our final dining experience in Verona at Bottega Vini.
When we arrived at the vino bar/restaurant, the front room was crowded. We were just a bit early for our 7PM reservation. At last one of the waiters picked up his reservation paper and the patrons began to follow him to their tables. It was not a large establishment, but it was packed and there were bottles of wine on shelves all over the walls. After a few minutes we were presented with an encyclopedia-sized wine selection book. It weighed a ton! We made our selection with the assistance of the wine steward and avoided the bottles listed at over $400. We ordered small plates from the menu and shared the fine cuisine. After dessert of a wonderful chocolate cake, we were asked to leave ASAP since a second seating was waiting. Outside, we met a charming female couple from Australia and talked for over half an hour.
That night we slept well since we had the foresight to cut our stay in Verona a bit short by one night and head to a hotel near the Venice Marco Polo Airport on Tuesday afternoon rather than jam the trip into Wednesday morning as on our original itinerary.