Grand Tour of Italy Day 4 Lecco to Verona to Venice

Day 4 Tuesday March 19, 2013
So the fog and rain and snow have stopped just as were are ready to leave the Lake Como region for points south and east. The sky's so blue and the mountains are so majestic with the snow; this would have been breathtaking for our Lake Como boat ride...OH WELL...we'll just have to come back again. 

Luggage is out the door at 7AM and we hit breakfast fueling up for the long ride to Verona. Yes Verona, the city of the fair Juliette. Not sure she ever existed but to all the high-schoolers who had to read Shakespeare she sure was a character for discussion.


This fair city lies along the Adige River. The Romans colonized Verona in 89 BC and then it became a municipium in 49 BC. The city has seen its fair share of wars and dominations through the centuries straight through World War II; an Austrian Fort (now a church, the Santuario della Madonna di Lourdes), was used to incarcerate and torture allied troops, Jews and anti-fascist suspects especially after 1943, when Verona became part of the Repubblica di Salò or "Social Republic". Galeazzo Ciano, Benito Mussolini's son in law was accused of plotting against the republic during a mock trial staged by the Nazi and fascist hierarchy in Castelvecchio. Ciano was executed on the banks of the Adige with many other officers on what is today Via Colombo. This marked another turning point in the escalation of violence that would only end with the final liberation by allied troops and partisans in 1945.

The city is now a World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.
Verona preserved many ancient Roman monuments, no longer in use, in the early Middle Ages, but much of this and much of its early medieval edifices were destroyed or heavily damaged by the earthquake of 3 January 1117, which led to a massive Romanesque rebuilding. 
 And of literary note: three of Shakespeare's plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet; The Two Gentlemen of Verona; and The Taming of the Shrew.
Verona is famous for its Roman amphitheatre, the Arena di Verona found in the city's largest piazza, the Piazza Bra. Completed around 30 AD, it is the third largest in Italy after Rome's Colosseum and the arena at Capua. It measures 139 metres long and 110 metres wide, and could seat some 25,000 spectators in its 44 tiers of marble seats.

In the 12th Century, many of the buildings were built using red brick and limestone with round arches in the Roman Style. You can trace the age of the tower by the bricks used!

Dante Alighieri, Florentine political exile, lived for a time in liberal and Ghibelline, Verona, in the early years of the 300 when the city was ruled by Bartolomeo della Scala. After that first visit, the poet stayed a second time at the court of Verona in Verona in 1312, just as the prince reigned Grande della Scala. Dante probably saw in him the ideal of the gentleman whose incredible military and political skill would allow him to aspire to peace in the whole of Italy.
Dante is considered the father of the Italian language.

1865 was the sixth centennial of the birth of Dante. This statue was erected here to commemorate Dante's time in Verona. Artist were asked to suggest designs. The winner of the tender was a young, entirely unknown artist, Ugo Zannoni.
The statue was uncovered on 14 May 1865, in the early morning.

We had a walking guided tour with a wonderful Local Guide Maria Pia. We broke for lunch and Jay and I found this great little osteria. Osteria Del Bugiardo; we had tortellini , house wine and bottled water for 24 euros. It was amazingly delicious. 

We walked back to Piazza Bra and stopped in for a gelato at La Stagione Del Gelato. Two fabulous gelatos for 2.50 euros!!

More images of Verona

Back on the bus for our ferry over to the "big" island of Venice.
Venice is made up of 118 islands. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.
The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain, and spice) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.
Venice of today is one of the MOST expensive cities in Italy!!

We docked and bus to the Ristorante Gran Viale for our welcome group dinner.
We had lasagna for our primo; chicken with mushroom sauce and chocolate eclair for dessert. We also had a lovely house red wine and our table got lucky because John asked the waiter for a second bottle (thanks John!)

We make out way to our hotel and crash. Our room faces the Adriatic Sea!

Next up Venice!
Pubblicare domani!!! (Post tomorrow) 

Lecco to Verona to Venice March 19 Day 4
Grand Tour of Italy
Go Ahead Tours 
March 16-30, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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