On the ski hills, on the bike trails, and thru life in general

Verona – Oct 13

After a few beautiful days, we woke to rain. We were supposed to do a bike tour of Verona today but, because of the rain, it was re-arranged to be a walking tour instead. We met Francesca, an accredited tour guide, at 10 a.m. and she took us on a 3-hour tour in downtown Verona. She gave us a lot of background on many of the sights that Al and I saw yesterday morning, which really helped our understanding of the city and its origins.

Venice was founded in pre-Roman times but came to prominence when the Romans implemented an organized city plan and expanded the town. The Adage River is the second largest river in Italy, after the Po, so it was already a commercial water route. It was also at the intersection of 2 main trading roads, running north-south and east-west, and it’s location at a bend in the river was easily fortified.

It became the home of some powerful families in the middle-ages, notably the della Scalas, who expanded the city walls a number of times, in the 1200s and 1400s. Remnants of the Roman and medieval walls are preserved in many areas of the city. The entire central area of the city is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Francesca not only took us to the touristy places but also to a couple of wine shops where we got to sample their wares (and buy a few items). She also recommended a favourite restaurant of hers that we ended up going to for our final group dinner. Only 7 of us were going on to Slovenia tomorrow, the others were either heading home or to other cities in Europe.

The Gavi Arch, built in the 1st century at the entrance to the city. Relocated close to the Arena in the last century.

The Gavi Arch, built in the 1st century at the entrance to the city. Relocated close to the Arena in the last century.

The original basalt paving stones under the Gavi Arch, worn down by centuries of wagon wheels.

The original basalt paving stones under the Gavi Arch, showing ruts worn by centuries of wagon wheels.

The Porta Borsari, another Roman gate from the 1st Century, with the city built up alongside it.

The Porta Borsari, another Roman gate from the 1st Century, with the city built up alongside it.

Typical downtown Verona street on a wet Tuesday. Lots of marble (almost all sidewalks are marble), few cars, easy strolling.

Typical downtown Verona street on a wet Tuesday. Lots of marble (almost all sidewalks are marble), few cars, easy strolling. Surprisingly, the marble sidewalks aren’t slippery but, with few cars, much more convenient to walk in the street.

The Piazza Urbe. Frescoed walls and the Roman/medieval tower. The bottom, alternating red and white bricks, is the original Roman tower. The rest was added in middle-ages.

The Piazza Urbe. Frescoes on building walls and the Roman/medieval tower. The bottom, alternating red and white bricks, is the original Roman tower. The rest was added in the 1400s.

The whalebone that has been hanging under the Arco della Costa for the last 1000 years. Legend says that the whale-rib will not fall down untill the moment that a person walks under it who never told a lie.

The whalebone (under the second arch) has been hanging under the Arco della Costa for the last 1000 years. Legend says that the whale-rib will not fall down until the moment that a person walks under it who never told a lie.

Juliet's balcony, in the courtyard where where Giulietta Capelletti met Romeo Montecchi.

Juliet’s balcony, in the courtyard where where Giulietta Capelletti met Romeo Montecchi.

I never made it through the throngs to fondle Juliet's breast, which legend says will bring you luck in love. Al, however, thrice married and divorced, barged through and laid on a 2-hander. I didn't get that picture unfortunately.

I never made it through the throngs to fondle Juliet’s breast, which legend says will bring you luck in love. Al, however, thrice divorced, barged through and laid on a 2-hander. I didn’t get that picture unfortunately.

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