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.