Verona is a very beautiful city and a treasure trove of Roman ruins, medieval vestiges, historical monuments, antique palaces, and churches that we viewed by simply walking along the streets.
We stayed at the Bella Italia campsite in Lake Garda and got a bus from outside the campsite into Verona for the day.
Bus into Verona
We took a trip to Verona by bus on Easter Saturday. We purchased the bus tickets from the tobacconist shop on site as the bus drivers don’t take cash. You must, however, remember to validate your ticket in the machine on the bus as inspectors do come round regularly.
It was a bit of a mistake to go into Verona on Easter Saturday as it was crowded. There were only a few people waiting at the bus stop when we first joined what we thought was the end of the queue but by the time the bus turned up 20 minutes later quite a crowd had gathered (I say gathered because it seems the Europeans don’t queue like us Brits. When the bus pulled up you just had to hope the doors of the bus were going to stop in front of you. Everyone shoved and pushed to get on. It was so crowded that people were standing in the footwell of the middle doors.
We had to stand for the whole 45-minute journey which wasn’t much fun with the way we were being thrown around from side to side. We were hanging on for dear life.
A few stops down the road the driver drove straight past people waiting at the bus stop shaking his head indicating that the bus was full. A few yards further down the road he had to stop at traffic lights and the people from the queue ran up to the bus and started banging on the door and shouting at the driver to let them on. The driver kept repeating “not possible, not possible” and wouldn’t open the doors so then a couple of them hung from the doors so that he could not pull away. There were people looking over their balconies of the houses beside us trying to see what was going on. People everywhere were just stopping and looking. Cars behind were hooting because they could not get past the bus at the traffic lights and the bus driver was hooting his horn (which sounded like a very loud siren) trying to get the people off the side of the bus. This went on for about 20 minutes until eventually, they gave up and we were on our way again.
We felt sorry for the people left behind because they were locals trying to get their shopping done before the Easter Sunday and Monday, and there was only a bus every hour. It was mostly tourists that had taken up space on the bus. Who’s to say that this wasn’t the second bus that they could not get on and maybe that’s why they were so desperate.
Verona is a very beautiful city and a treasure trove of Roman ruins, medieval vestiges, historical monuments, antique palaces, and churches that we viewed by simply walking along the streets. It’s packed with so many interesting buildings and squares and claims to have more Roman ruins than any Italian city other than Rome.
We really enjoyed walking around the attractive medieval lanes that are steeped in history and every now and then we stopped for a coffee or a glass of wine to rest our feet.
A short walk from the bus stop is the Arena di Verona (the restored Roman amphitheatre) which is famous for holding operas in the Summer. In this area were lots of market stalls selling food and many had wonderful displays of hams and cheeses. Also the largest loaves of bread we have ever seen. You didn’t have to buy the whole loaf they were cutting off the amount you wanted.
We then walked onto the Via Mazzini, an elegant pedestrian street paved with shiny Verona marble. This is the main shopping street in Verona, lined with lots of smart interesting shops including glamorous Italian shoe shops (way out of my price range, but nice to look at) old bookshops, perfumeries and glitzy boutiques.
We passed through the attractive fourteenth-century arches of the Portoni della Bra and entered the historic part of town.
Next, we came across the Piazza delle Erbe which has an extravagant 14th-century fountain. This area is the home to the fruit and flower market. A few market stalls were selling containers of fresh fruit salad which was going down very well with the tourists.
Shakespeare made Verona famous as a romantic setting when he set two plays in Verona, Romeo and Juliet and the comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The so-called Juliet’s house is said to draw half a million tourists a year. We came across quite a crowd when walking down one of the narrow streets all looking upwards. They were looking at the so-called ‘Juliet’s balcony’ and were writing on the walls in the passageway.
Beneath the level of the street, you can see the fascinating remains of Roman villas and mosaics. It was an amazing place and somewhere we would like to go back to and spend a bit more time. We would have liked to have taken the lift of the Torre dei Lamberti, the 84m high medieval bell tower which is used to call council meetings or to warn residents of the fire. I bet the view from there would have been great.
By about 4 pm we were feeling quite tired with all the walking so thought we would get an early start back and try to avoid the crowds on the bus. We had a 30-minute wait and we were first there but again more and more people started to collect around the bus stop as time went on. I warned Ray that although he didn’t like pushing he was going to have to prepare himself for it. When the bus pulled up it stopped just past where we were standing so the last people to arrive were first on the bus. Eventually, we got on, after doing our own pushing and shoving and I managed to get the last seat although Ray had to stand for a little while. I am so glad that we queue in the UK and that people are a bit more respectful of each other.