Wednesday 11th April 2018
We woke up in Brescia this morning with no specific plans once more but the inclement weather suggests we should wait and go to Garda maybe in two days time. Verona is close, let’s go there! We look up the city centre Sosta in Verona, price guide is €10 per 24 hours, that seems cheap, maybe the information is out of date. It’s only 60 kms from here, so a short drive & we arrive and pitch up, ( it’s an unmanned, barrier & ticket entry and pay on exit system). Secured Pogo and we go out for the rest of the day and if it is €10, it’s excellent for Verona.
The bus stop is directly outside the Sosta so off we go €2 each to the stop Castelvecchio, well we can guess what’s at that stop. The friendly bus driver points us in the direction of Piazza Bra, rounding the corner and all I could say was wow! directly in front of us is Arena Di Verona, a well preserved Roman amphitheatre, seats 20,000 in ancient times it was 30,000 and it was built in the 1st century AD between the end of Augustus reign and beginning of Claudius, it’s the 3rd largest after the Coliseum in Rome and the Amphitheatre Capua.
A 12th century earthquake damaged almost all of it and it’s not as splendid as it was once so I would have liked to have seen it before but oh my it was a sight to behold. Excavations under the structure have discovered a complex hydraulic system to bring water inside the arena for spectacular water games but also to clean up after cruel fights held inside!!
Quite a contrast to the wonderful operas held between June and August each year, I would like to attend one of those!
Whilst visiting we could not get up to the top of the arena as staging was being created ready for the performances later in the coming months, the work involved to turn an arena like this into a modern performance venue looks to be very intensive.
We bought a Verona Card for €18 each, this turned out to be good value as it covered the Arena which alone was €11 each and many other attractions plus 24 hour city transport. As ever it started to rain and so we headed to the nearest coffee shop and of course we may as well have a view! We’d missed breakfast so went straight into Bruschetta, they were superb and I loved the little blue coffee cups.
What got to me the most was the Juxtaposition of the Arena and the coffee shops opposite, 2 worlds!
We looked at the information for other tourist sites that were open until the evening and we decide to go to the Museo Castelvecchio, free entrance with the Verona Card saved us a further €6 each.
We saw venetian paintings, frescoes, well preserved Flemish art circa 1350’s,many other pieces of extremely well-preserved wall coverings, the castle suffered damage during Napolean times and WW11 but an interesting place all the same with it’s fishtail battlements.
We decide to head back to the Sosta and come back early in the morning as our tickets were for 24 hours and the weather looks like it might be better.