HISTORY, ART, LYRICAL MUSIC AND THE ITALIAN TASTE
At the foot of gentle hills that enfold it – the foothills of the Alps – lies Verona, a splendid city of art and leisure. Surrounded by the traces of two millennia of history, visitors will enjoy the magic dimension bestowed upon it by Shakespearean tragedies and plays. Verona is a compact city, where the ancient and modern meet: it will fascinate visitors with its elegance and its welcoming atmosphere. The city’s glorious past can be seen in its architectural and artistic masterpieces; its culture and art are famous and renowned worldwide. Roman ruins, Medieval remnants, Venetian and Austrian buildings are scattered all around the city, amid antique palazzos, squares dating back from Roman times, bridges and awe-inspiring churches.
Verona is a city straddling the Adige River in Veneto, Northern Italy, with approximately 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven administrative centers of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of Northeast Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona covers an area of 1,426 km2 (550.58 sq mi) and has a population of 714,274 inhabitants.
It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, owing to its artistic heritage, several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheater built by the Romans.
In the year 2000 Verona was awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.
The precise details of Verona’s early history remain a mystery: Verona became a Roman colonia in 89 BC, and then a municipium in 49 BC; Verona had the franchise in 59 AD. The city became important because it was at the intersection of several roads. From 1508 to 1517, the city was ruled by Emperor Maximilian I. In 1776 a method of bell-ringing was developed called Veronese bell-ringing art. Verona was occupied by Napoleon in 1797, but on Easter Monday the populace rose up and drove out the French. It was then that Napoleon ended the Venetian Republic. Verona became Austrian territory when Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio in October, 1797. The Austrians took control of the city on January 18, 1798. It was taken from Austria by the Treaty of Pressburg in 1805 and became part of Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy, but was returned to Austria following Napoleon’s defeat in 1814, when it became part of the Austrian-held Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. In 1866, following the Six Weeks War, Verona, along with the rest of Venetia, became part of Italy.
Now Verona is an important and dynamic city, with a very active economy and also a very important tourist industry because of its history, where the Roman past lives side by side with the Verona of the Middle Ages, which brings about its architectural and artistic motifs.
Verona is famous for its Roman amphitheater, the Arena found in the city’s largest piazza, the Piazza Bra. Completed around 30 AD, it is the third largest in Italy after Rome’s Colosseum and the arena at Capua. It measures 139 meters long and 110 meters wide, and could seat some 25,000 spectators in its 44 tiers of marble seats. The “ludi” (shows and gladiator games) performed within its walls were so famous that they attracted spectators from far beyond the city. The interior is very impressive and is virtually intact, and has remained in use even today for public events, fairs, theatre and open-air opera during warm summer nights. Every year over 500,000 people see productions of the popular operas. Once capable of housing 20,000 patrons per performance (now limited to 15,000 because of safety reasons), the Arena has featured many of world’s most notable opera singers.
The Roman and Middle Aged buildings in Corso Porta Borsari, the gothic Arche Scaligere, the Roman Theatre and the Roman bridge Ponte Pietra, the Middle Aged brick fortress Castelvecchio with its crenellated walls and bridge, the Romanesque churches of San Fermo, San Zeno and Sant’Anastasia are sure to wake emotions and cause great amazement and wonder in everyone.
Three of Shakespeare’s plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet; The Two Gentlemen of Verona; and The Taming of the Shrew.
Downtown Verona is an amazing melting-pot of history and tradition, interspersed with art and culture: the majestic Piazza Bra and its Arena, Piazza Erbe with its statues and frescos, Piazza dei Signori and the adjoining squares and courts dating back to the rich Middle Ages of power and military strength are just a few examples of the wonders of Verona.
Elegant cafés and ancient “osterie” (typical inns of the Veneto territory), craft shops and high couture boutiques enliven city life all year long, combining a cheerful flavor of tradition with a trendy and uptown lifestyle.
VERONA… WHERE TO ENJOY THE ITALIAN WAY OF LIFE!
Verona has an endless list of cafes and bars where tourists and locals alike hang out. The city center contains the most popular haunts, perhaps because of its historic importance. Some of the more well-known cafés are Caffé delle Erbe and Campidoglio.
Dishes of Verona are quite different from the world famous Italian cuisine. Rather than pasta, Northern Italian traditional dishes are based on the widely cultivated rice. Risotto, a very tasty rice soup, is one of Verona’s famous dishes. Verona produces one of the best rice varieties: Vialone Nano.
Polenta, a thick cream made with corn flour, is one of the classic dishes of northern Italy; it is eaten very hot, with salami, cured meat and cheese. Finally, Pandoro, the Christmas cake that you will find on every Italian table, is a traditional Veronese dessert.
A traditional Veronese restaurant is called an Osteria. It was a poor, popular restaurant in the past, but now they are often very fancy places where you can try traditional menus and drink local wines.
The Verona region is one of the most important wine producing areas in Italy. There are five main production areas: Valpolicella, Soave, Bardolino, Custoza and Lugana. In just fifteen minutes from Verona city center you will find yourself surrounded by beautiful hillside landscapes and endless vineyards. And there, among the vines, you’ll find the “cantine”: the wineries. You can choose between a wide variety of winery types and styles: old villas full of atmosphere of tradition, small family run cellars and modern wineries using cutting-edge technology, techniques and materials to produce wines.
The main shopping area is concentrated in no more than 700 meters, most of which is a pedestrian precinct.
Here you will find department stores, brand shops, jewelry, antique shops and much more.
In Via Mazzini, Via Cappello and Corso Portoni Borsari you will find the designer shops. The antique shops area is around Corso Santa Anastasia. You will find jewelry in Corso Portoni Borsari and Corso Santa Anastasia.
ARENA DI VERONA
Verona is at the crossroads of important routes connecting it to major Italian cities, and to Northern and Eastern foreign countries. This is only one reason why its events, exhibitions, trade shows and art shows are always successful.
The events that the city has hosted in recent years are too numerous to list here, but it is worthwhile to mention the most famous of them all: the opera season at the Arena, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013. Every summer the 2000 year-old amphitheatre welcomes visitors (approximately 500,000 in 2012), who enjoy the actual opera show as much as the surrounding monumental, imposing white stone structure.
A jump back into the distant past, listening to the operatic melodies by Verdi, Puccini or Bizet provides an unforgettable experience, which is bound to last a lifetime.
VERONA AND ITS SURROUNDINGS
Lake Garda, a real natural gem, is one of the most populartourist destinations in Italy and in the world. The countryside bears witness to the glorious past of the area which is commemorated in the villages and immersed in hilly green landscapes. Peace and quiet, sports and fun, nature and art, traditional and modern comforts satisfy the holiday wishes of the numerous tourists as well as of thevisitors of this area all year long.
Vineyards, villas, churches, castles, yards, wine cellars and lively local festivals: all this can be found in the Veronese hills, from the Valpolicella area to the east of the region, an atmospheric territory characterised by fine wines. Among grapevines, olive trees and cherry trees, artistic and cultural masterworks add a touch of enchanting simplicity to the region: perfumed white and red wines reveal the close link of the region with oenological culture.
Cultural and gastronomic itineraries, together with the world-renown wine production, will satisfy any art-lover and gourmet’s needs.
An ancient food tradition is maintained by the cuisine of local restaurants and trattorie (country inns), where you can enjoy traditional and unforgettable flavours.
Food and wine
A favourable climate, rich soil, abundant natural resources and a centuries-old love for the land, all combine to make the Province of Verona a “Garden of Eden”.
Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the Vialone Nano variety of rice used to cook delicious risotto, or the typical radicchio (red chicory), the salamis (the typical Soppressa), the cheeses and dairy products of Lessinia, Lake Garda’s fish, the extra-virgin olive-oil, and well-renowned vegetables such as the white asparagus. And, of course, the wine. Verona is top of the list of D.O.C. wine producing districts in Veneto Region: out of the 22 D.O.C. wines produced in the Veneto, 10 are produced in the hills of Verona.
The vineyards have been sitting for centuries on the hills which roll gently from Lake Garda all the way to Val d’Alpone: through the millennia, wine producers acquired the elegance of taste and skilful expertise that give the wines of Verona their special graceful appeal. Wines such as Valpolicella, Recioto, Amarone, Soave, Custoza, Lugana and Bardolino have made Verona world famous.
Valpolicella and Veneto region
Valpolicella is the hilly region north-west of Verona between the town and Lake Garda. The name Valpolicella has probably Roman origins in the words Valle poli cellae, in Latin “valley of the many cellars”, proving the ancient wine making tradition of this area. Here a sweet and very concentrated red wine was produced (probably close to the Recioto that is still produced today) called Acinatico or Retico, that the Romans drunk with water and spices. Even if Valpolicella is known all over the world for its famous wines, especially the Amarone, its territory is made of beautiful landscapes, sweet hills that become mountains as you move north, valleys with old villages, gorgeous villas, medieval churches, making it a tourist destination in its own. Many Valpolicella wineries are open to visitors and offer guided winery tours to the vineyards and cellars followed by a tasting of their products: Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Superiore, Recioto, the sweet desert wine, and of course the Amarone, the “King of Valpolicella”, one of the finest wines in Italy.