Verona, Italy

There are several cities with ancient arenas that seem to be overlooked because of the popularity of the colosseum in Rome. Verona is a prime example of one of these cities. 

The amphitheater was built in 30AD in what is known today as the Piazza Bra. It is easy to pay an entrance fee and explore, however, the highlight is to catch a play or an opera. Verona is the setting for William Shakespeares' Romeo and Juliet, which is why it is nicknamed "The City of Love". 

You can visit Juliette's balcony at the Cappelletti house in the old city. Touching Juliette's right breast is supposed to bring luck. Bogi was an absolute gentleman and refrained!

Thousands of notes to Juliette line the portico which leads to the courtyard. If you prefer you can write a love letter to the Juliet Club where a team of volunteers, known as secretaries, select a few of the most beautiful letters written that year. The winners are chosen on Valentines Day, very apropos. 

The old town is full of charm with it's narrow streets, beautiful clothing boutiques, artisanal shops, and outdoor cafes. This petite and charming city is great to wander then stop along the way for a cappuccino or aperitivo, then wander some more. 

We were given restaurant recommendations from a knowledgeable local. We thought we had the inside track for the restaurant scene, unfortunately the restaurants in the old town did not impress us. However, we found this pasta shop to be some of the best in Italy. 

La Bottega della Gina offers several types of tortellini, which you can try by ordering the mix. The gnocchi is absolutely delectable. All are homemade! You can choose your sauce and then the pasta is cooked to order. It has become well known and can become quite crowded. There are only two tables, so opt for take away and walk a few steps to the river bank where there are plenty of benches overlooking the Aldige. 

Verona is located in the region of Veneto which happens to be one of my favorite styles of wine, Valpolicella. We headed to the Negrar valley to visit the most respected winemaker in Veneto, Giuseppe Quintarelli. The winery is located on a hill overlooking the valley. Our tasting was fabulous, however what made it special was to see the tradition and care they pour into their wine year after year. 

I highly recommend a visit to Verona. Whether you are a romantic, cultural buff, or wine aficioniado there is something for everyone! 


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