175 – Monday 12th October: Milan’d Out and head for another city … Verona
Packed up and left our 5 night Milan stop .. fully serviced: grey waste and toilet emptied and fresh water on board … we get veryexcited to be be in this ‘we can stay anywhere’ state.
A variation on a rolling stone gathers no moss … a touring motorhome gathers no leaves … time to move!
J had developed a head cold, so was under medication so K drove to Verona. Long lunchtime stop at a village on Lake Guarda we had passed last on our bikes! We had cycled through it on our way to Sirmione and this visit was pure chance .. we had deviated from the main road in search of a supermarket! Sally the Sat Nav then showed us the blue line to show where we had driven as we left Lago di Garda … a bit surreal to be retracing our steps (or tyres) on our European trip.
We parked up in a proper sosta – all services and a barrier. Many thanks to the Germans who helped us enter through the barrier. At EUR10 / 24 hours and only 10 mins walk into the city … we’re happy.
We parked up and wandered through the gap in the old town wall to the centre. TIC shut, but time to have a quick glass (medicinal for J!) before returning for supper.
176 -Tuesday 13th October: Verona Proper
We purchased the Verona card from the TIC: EUR18 and it was worth it. K’s costs for all would have been EUR35.50. It gained us entry to all the main sites … even Juliette’s Balcony, which we would not have otherwise paid to see.
The Roman Arena
Built in the first century, it predates the Colleseum in Rome. It has been in near constant use and they were dismantling the seating and stage from the Operatic Summer season. This is where K ran to in the morning … and it had stopped raining when I started …. and was most definitely raining on the return. One idiot umbrella seller offered me a brolly – as if I could run with it! Officially I am no longer a fair weather runner!
The Church of St Fermo
Fermo and Rustico were commemorated by this church, and their remains moved here. The Franciscans built TWO churches; one on top of the other. The lower to keep the remains and the upper for religious services. The walls of both churches were covered with 13 and 14 century frescos. The Upper Church had the most amazing wooden ship’s keel ceiling with small images of over 400 saints.
It was here K received the phone call… not used to receiving calls, I had omitted putting my phone on silent and there was comedic fumbling to the bottom of the rucksack to silence the call. The reason for the call from K’s daughter … she had just passed her driving test, which means that Beryl the mint green Fiat 500 can emerge from the garage. North Camp Taxis may now go out of business!
Church of St Anatasia
Italian Gothic, 14 and 15th century largest in Verona. A huge painted height with more frescos; the most important of which is Pisanello’s St George and the Princess, or what is left of it. We also liked the hunchback supporting the holy water stoop. Lunch stop outside.
Named after the herbs that used to be sold here. Still markets stalls and restaurants. Attractive architecture around.
Actually an old coaching inn, but a whole industry. The original story was written not by Marlowe (aka Shakespeare), but by Luigi da Porto of Vicenza. People stick messages to loved ones on the wall with used chewing gum (YUK) … something the authorities are trying to stop, but not completely successfully … graffiti also rules! We would not have paid to go in, but since it was included with our Verona Card and we then had to have a pic on the balcony.
I have watched a Vanessa Redgrave film called ‘Letters to Juliet’ …. and was surprised to find this …
The Cathedral Complex
Cathedral, Bishop’s Residence, cloisters, baptistry and old mosaics and excavations. Less interesting than the two previous churches which both had something different. Most memorable is the font carved in 1200 from one piece of stone.
Wine stop to raise a glass to Maddy.
Very impressive from the outside but really disappointing on the inside. It was the home to the powerful Scalgeri family, but nothing about them or the castle inside …. all art … more ancient statues and Madonnas! And then modern art next to some pieces with airy fairy leaps of connection to the old. Rubbish. Could climb some of the walls, which is the only reason it is worth going in.
San Zeno Maggiore Church
We only had 15 mins here as it was closing time … it houses the shrine of Verona;s patron saint. Another wooden ship’s keep nave ceiling. More frescos and cloisters …. we missed the crypt and the doors.
177 – Wednesday 14th October 2015 – Suave in Soave and Vet (German accent) in Vincenza
Kept awake a LOT last night by heavy rain. It is loud enough anyway when it hits the plastic roof and then when under trees, the droplets seem to coagulate into conker size!
No run … perhaps I am a fair weather runner after all? Brekkie and services and we set off for Vicenza, apparently much over looked as tourists head for Milan and Venice, and a stop at Soave on the way.
Saove is visible from the main road and motorway as the castle is perched in a small hill. It is good to be out of the flat plains of Lombardy and into rolling hills of Vento. We found a motorhome parking which would have been good value at EUR5 for 24 hours, but since we only wanted a few hours and the town was pretty much shut, there was plenty of free parking. Shops – shut. Castle – shut. Could have had lunch as few restaurants open but sarnies for J and homemade tomato and lentil soup waiting for us back at Chez Chardonnay.
Less than an hour onto Vincenza. Parked in a sosta with only Italian motorhomes; last night was 90% German. Not sure how many are inhabited compared to long stay parked. Raining on and off, and a good 15 mins walk into town.
High drama – almost! J could (J here) have been arrested as a dangerous vagrant… Unsure of the correct way to the old town – I emerged from behind some rubbish bins (unfortunately, as it happened) to ask a nice señora for directions – she promptly dived into her Fiat 500 and fled the scene !!! I sniffed my armpits, checked that I had cleaned my teeth – all in order… Our deduction was that as I appeared to be hiding behind the bins – she assumed I was a tramp asking for money or about to snatch her bag!!! Fortunately, the Polizia Locale were not called and I may have a new reputation….a dodgy bloke. Mi Scusi, Signora – mea maxima culpa – molto flagrante! I then asked another Signora – in my almost fluent Italiano – ” Dove il centro di Vicenza ?” She assumed I was an Italian Signore – ” al primo a senestra, Signore ” – wow! Azure Lingua, Sarah! Molto bene, tutti!!!
(K back again) Wandered around and it is attractive; worth a day out from one of the other major cities. All the architecture is pretty much done by Palladino and his disciple; lots of columns.
The TIC lady told us we could get the bus back using are motorhome parking ticket as it entitles us to two bus trips … GRR, we left it hidden in Chardonnay, so a wet walk back. Will look for this another time.