Thursday, July 20, 2017

VERONA 2017: The Castelvecchio Museum and Bridge

One of the beauties of Verona, Italy, is its bridges crossing the Fume Adige, the second largest river in Italy.

There are 6 main bridges, starting from left to right:
Castelvecchio, Vittoria, Garibaldi, Pietra, Nuovo and Navi.
We stood on or crossed all of them in our 4 days there.
[scan of our Verona map/guide]

Sometimes we saw them from tower vantage points.

Most of the time we viewed them from one bridge to the other.
Our favorite was the Castelvecchio (bottom-left), which this post is about...
mainly because it's part of a castle and a museum.

We first saw the castle on our way to visit the San Zeno Basilica on our first day.
This was a pass-by because it was already late afternoon.

Still passing by, while walking to the basilica, we knew we'd definitely come back...

...which we did the next day for a proper look.
The Castelvecchio (castle) is "the most important military construction
of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages."  (Wiki)

The Arco dei Gavi was commissioned to be built in the 1st century by the Romans.
It stands next to the castle and was used as an entrance gate to the city during the Middle Ages.

From the arch side of the castle (the right side), we had views of the bridge we'd see later.

We decided to see the museum first before ending with the bridge.
The courtyard in front of the museum was its,

and photo op!

We did a quick run-through of what the museum itself exhibits.
Think Romanesque and you've got it covered.

Out the back side of the museum was another courtyard.

Back to the front of the castle, street side, we found the entrance to the pedestrian bridge.
THIS is what we had really come to see, saving the best for last.

Talk about red brick with its upright M-shaped merlons!

And see that church (bottom-right)...that's the San Zeno Basilica we visited the day before.

Later that day, while up the Lamberti tower at the other end of the city,
 I captured the castle from afar.

And the next day, while visiting several churches, I captured the bridge again,
this time from the Ponte della Vittoria bridge to the east of it.

It was our full-circle highlight of one of Verona's most memorable landmarks.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

VERONA 2017: The Arena

So, let's go back to our March/April vacation in Venice-Verona!  Sometimes I feel like I've barely scratched the surface, but truly I have, I know.

You can safely say that after doing all the research before Verona, what we most wanted to see was the Arena.

As you can see, it stands out like a sore thumb...looking like Rome's Colosseum.
[Google image]

In fact, it really is oval in shape, as you see here, like the Roman Colosseum...not round.
Interestingly, the Verona Arena was built in AD 30, before the Colosseum was built in AD 70.
However, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world, while the Arena is the 3rd largest.
[Google image]

The Saturday we visited Verona's Arena was during their Garden Floridea flower show.
OMG!  What a showcase for such an historic landmark!

Before we went inside, we walked all around its outer perimeter.
The outer ring of white and pink limestone was almost completely destroyed from an earthquake 
in 1117.  But the inner ring you see now is well preserved, considering.

Like Rome's Colosseum, if you've ever been there, you enter via the passageways below.
Look at how tall they are.

Some passageways seemed stunted by comparison, but once you climb the stairs, 
you quickly find the doorways into the actual arena, like baseball stadiums in America!

In earlier years, the Arena was used for gladiator fights, jousts and game tournaments.
Since the 18th century it's been used primarily for opera performances.
In fact, they were setting up for one while we were there.

You can picture it, can't you...attending an opera there.
We have good imaginations and left it at that...picturing it.

The next day, Sunday, as we walked back through town, we had our own free performance.
Apparently Italy is known for its flag-throwing competitions, as part of their Medieval festivals,
so we felt lucky to happen upon this one, against the backdrop of the Arena.

These are the memories you don't soon forget!