Thru my “LENS” blog

Churches of Verona

Duomo Di Verona is the city’s cathedral and can easily be reached from the Ponte Pietra. It was constructed on the remains of two earlier churches that were destroyed in the earthquake of 1117. An absolutely beautiful church in the historic medieval center. The Basilica has striped brick and stone walls not unlike other churches I have seen throughout Italy.

Verona’s Cathedral

Basilica di Santa Anastasia is the most important religious monument in the Gothic style in Verona. Funded by the Scaligeri family it was built around 1290.

Basilica di Santa Anastasia
Verona’s majestic Basilica Di San Zeno dates from the 12th century in Piazza San Zeno. The Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore is a striking landmark especially when viewed from the across the river. This Romanesque church’s bronze doors have 48 carved panel Bible Scenes and beautiful frescoes inside from the 12th – 15th centuries.
Basilica di San Zeno from Ponte Scaligero
Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli, is an ancient Roman Catholic church built in the early 12th century on a pre-exiting Roman cemetery. Located right near the Porta dei Borsari mentioned in the previous blog on the Corso Cavour. A striking Veronese Romanesque bell tower stands apart from the church.
Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli


Did you miss the last 2 blogs on Verona? Romeo, Romeo and Verona’s Bridges? Link to them to read more about this lovely city.

Also travel to Asiago near the Swiss Alps.  Looking for more Italy?  There are blogs on many different areas.  Here are links: Amalfi Coast; Puglia, including Lecce, Matera, Alberobello, Borgo Egnazia; Florence; Venice (stay tuned for some new Venice ones also); Tuscany including: Siena, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Lucca, Pienza, Pisa, Arezzo. Montalcino, Montefioralle, Greve and Montechiello.  Whew!  That’s a lot of trips to Italy in the last few years!

Can’t wait to return!!!!

Romeo, Romeo, where fore art thou – in Verona?

You know how the story goes…. those unforgettable words spoken by Juliet from that famous balcony supposedly in Verona- not really! Very touristy spot! I skipped Casa di Giulietta. There were however two real feuding families in Verona called the Capuleti’s and the Montecchi’s.  Juliet never lived in the 1300’s Gothic style house so popular with tourists in Verona.  Instead to show their love the tradition of putting a padlock on the wall was to show that couples were locked together. Well we know how that ancient story by  Shakespeare ended.  Okay enough about them!

Juliet's balcony
Juliet’s Balcony by my friend Kris Beal


In Northern Italy’s Veneto region, at the base of the alps, Verona was actually the setting for 3 of Shakespeare’s plays. It is one of the 7 Provincial Capitals of the Veneto region and the 2nd largest city in the region as well as the third largest in Northeast Italy where it winds around the Adige River. It was an ideal stop before heading over the Alps. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its urban structures and architecture.

Basilica di San Zeno from Ponte Scaligero


First thing upon arriving we made our way to the river and Castelvecchio. This 14th century fortified castle houses artifacts from the Middle Ages.  There are seven towers and even a draw bridge. It was an important military stronghold of the Scaligeri family. Today it houses a museum.

Verona’s Centro Storico, its medieval center was centered around the Piazza dell Erbe the oldest piazza in the city originally the town’s forum during Roman times. Today there are vendors selling a variety of goods, souvenirs, fruits and vegetables surrounded by restaurants, palazzos, and shops.

Piazza delle Erbe and Torre dei Lamberti
Saturday markets


Standing tall in the Piazza is the Torre dei Lamberti with its octagonal bell tower and bronze doors depicting Biblical stories and old bells from the 15th century.  Originally constructed in 1172 it is the tallest medieval tower in Verona and offers panoramic views of the city. Today the Piazza is the home to markets but back in the 15th century it was home to the vegetable market and the fountain that still stands at its center – Fontana Madonna.

Piazza delle Erbe and the Statue of Fontana Madonna
Piazza dei Signoria, another city square has a statue of Dante Alighieri, Renaissance Palazzos as well as magnificent churches. It is lovely to just hang out in the these Piazza’s, visit with friends and of course drink an aperitivo! Of course, this is Grappa country! The longer it ages the smoother it gets.  Who knew!
The Verona Arena is a 1st century Roman amphitheater and very well preserved and Verona’s most famous monument.  It is the third largest Roman amphitheater after the Colosseum and the Arena of Capua. It is always amazing to me to walk the ancient streets in these cities where the Romans once walked and gladiators fought.  Today the Arena is used for opera concerts. If you are lucky enough to find yourself there in summer plan to attend the Opera festival.  The Arena is located in the largest square in the historic center in Piazza Bra. Another lovely spot to sit and enjoy the cafes, the company and the atmosphere.  Just take it all in and don’t be in a hurry! Savor this opportunity.
Verona Arena
Enter the city through the Porta Borsari- the ancient Roman gate that once marked the southern entrance into the city and was the main gate.  Verona successfully marries the old and the new.  You are at once transported back to Roman times while shopping at new high end boutiques.
The Roman Arena constructed in the 1st century of pink marble was the 8th largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire and actually predates the Coliseum in Rome.
Castel San Pietro, begun way back in 1851, sits high above the city. This was an Austrian military installation and was used to control the city during the Austrian occupation.
Teatro Romano is Verona’s most ancient structure built at the end of the 1st century B.C. It sits right below Castel San Pietro across the Ponte Pietra. Today it is used for events like the Shakespeare Festival.
Castel San Pietro and Teatro Romano
Chiesa Di San Giorgio sits along the river and can be seen from the Castel San Pietro. The views from up there were amazing in every direction! There was quite a gathering waiting for sunset!
Verona’s Cathedral (Duomo) and Chiesa di San Giorgio in Braida
If you have time, try to visit the Palazzo Giardino Giusti (Palace and Garden) widely considered one of the finest examples of an Italian garden.  This garden, a masterpiece of Renaissance landscaping planted in 1580 combines manicured and natural cypresses and a parterre. Sadly, I did not have time to get over there.  As a garden designer I would have loved to see this but there’re only so many hours in a day, right!
This is not a small city but I found it very walkable.  I wish I had more time to explore, but more next time.  Always a reason to return! Did you miss the other blogs on Verona?
Thank you again to my friend Kris Beal who happened to be in Verona about the same time as I was and she did manage to capture Juliet’s balcony when I couldn’t get there.  Find her on Facebook at
Did you miss the last few blogs on Venice?  Here is a link! Carnevale; The Magic of Venice and Venice –  an Elegant Old City



Venice – an elegant old city

Venice lies in a shallow lagoon in the Adriatic Sea surrounded by a string of islands and is an old, elegant city. It is the capital of the Veneto Region of Northeastern Italy. Venice was an important and wealthy city in the Roman Empire.  As the Empire began to collapse however, people began to flee to these islands for shelter around 400 A.D. Venice began to be settled permanently around 450 A.D.

Saint Mark's
Saint Mark’s Basilica
St. Marks
Saint Mark’s Basilica

Venice came to be seen as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is a great history here of art and architecture. From the Grand Canal’s many Palazzo’s to the Doge’s Palace (Duke) and Saint Mark’s Basilica there is always something to remind you of the deep history here. This city has a deep history in political and social institutions as well.

Venice Italy
The Grand Canal
Doge’s Palace

The traditions here run deep and are still celebrated throughout the year like Carnevale!

Riva degli Schiavoni

Venice was a major maritime power and financial power during the Renaissance and was involved in the Crusades from the beginning. The city was a very important center for commerce and art from the 13th thru the 17th century. By the end of the 15th century Venice was the second largest city after Paris in Europe and most likely the richest!

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Let’s explore some of this city’s landmark buildings and sites. First the Rialto Fish and Farmer’s Market.  In the morning your senses are assailed by every variety of fish, seafood, vegetables and fruits.  The colors are incredible and you probably don’t have a basket big enough since I guarantee your eyes are bigger than your stomach or basket 🙂

Of course, around every corner is another magnificent church!

Santa Maria della Salute
Santa Maria della Salute

Want more Italy?  I have blogs on many areas in Italy so have fun exploring! Did you miss Carnevale di Venezia  or The Magic of Venice? I was also in Venice last June.  Here is a link to those blogs also: Venice

Enjoy and feel free to share.  If you love travel and gardens sign up for the blog so you don’t miss any.

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