the city of love (or just the city where the story of Romeo and Juliet takes place)
Verona is absolutely beautiful. But I have to say, it felt a bit like a movie set. If you’ve been to Universal Studios or Disneyland, you probably know what I mean. The buildings and streets were all so nice and clean!
It’s funny walking around this city where everything is almost perfect then BAM! The amphitheater. This large old stone structure.
This photo was taken from the top of the Arena. It was quite a workout getting up, but worth it. You get a lovely view of the city, park, and even the Swiss Alps!
We went to Verona on Valentine’s Day which I would recommend to anyone. It’s a city where a romantic love story takes place which makes going on that day a little more special. I was expecting it to be very busy for the holiday but it wasn’t bad. It was crowded around the Juliet statue and balcony but the rest of the city was relatively quiet and empty.
While looking for a place to have lunch we came across a charming market located in Piazza delle Erbe. It was a wonderful place to walk around and pick up a few gifts.
Our time in Verona was limited since we only stopped on our way to Venice. A full day is the perfect amount of time to check-off all the things to visit in Verona.
the sinking city
I’ve been blessed enough to go to Venice twice so these pictures are a combination from my two trips. My first time in Venice was when I was studying abroad. It was the weekend of Valentine’s Day so the city was decorated with hearts and the streets were filled with couples holding hands. To add to the magical weekend, it was also the start of Carnival. If there was a perfect time to go to Venice it would be this weekend.
Everyone was buying masks and wearing them all day and night. I purchased a beautiful blue and gold one with three long feathers standing up at the top. I went a little crazy with the souvenirs in Venice but everything was so beautiful and for a good price.
I didn’t know what to expect and what to go see when first arriving to Venice. Luckily, my school provided us with a walking tour that helped me gain a little more knowledge about this incredible city build on water. I still ended up lost for 3 hours on my own, but I guess it was worth it because I was able to go to spots only the brave & lost tourists have ventured to.
By the second time, I was a lot more comfortable venturing out and looking at everything Venice had to offer. I went with my best friend Grace when we were going on a Mediterranean cruise that left from Venice. We started our trip by spending 3 nights in Venice. It would have been 4 if we didn’t miss our flight because I left my wallet at her sisters apartment. Long story very short, a man at the front desk was kind enough to rebook us for the next day on the same flight. This time I stayed in a hostel near the Rialto Bridge. It was a little difficult to find but the hostel was quiet and the rooms were private. I felt safe leaving my stuff in the room all day. We didn’t get a refund for our first night that we missed because I emailed the hostel too late but they still held the room for us. Thank GOD.
There was a long wait to get inside the Basilica, but I would still recommend going inside despite the wait. If you remember from my Rome post, I said there are two Basilicas I think everyone should go inside. They were St. Peter’s and St. Mark’s.
I was told there’s no photography allowed but I was able to get this picture before being told about the rule.
When I went with Grace, we purchased a day pass for Doge’s Palace located behind the Basilica. I really enjoyed going inside the prison and all those rooms in the Palace.
Venice is a sinking city and I definitely saw it with my own eyes, although, it wasn’t as severe as it has been recently. There were some large puddles and some parts a little too low to the water. However, nothing so severe that I needed rain boots and to carry my suitcase over my head.
My roommate had a tradition of eating at the Hard Rock Cafe in every country she goes to and asked me to join her. This was my sad meal of french fries and steamed vegetables. I didn’t want to spend a fortune eating American food in Italy when I am an American who can eat a real burger for half the price when I get come. The waitress probably thought I was vegan but I’m fine with that assumption. I’m glad I went though because it was entertaining watching Italians eat giant burgers with a fork and knife. I might need to try it on a date or someplace where I want to seem proper.
Some tips for those going to Venice:
Hotels can be expensive in Venice so I’d recommend staying in a hostel if you’re traveling on a budget or would rather save money like I do.
A must bring items when traveling to Venice is an extra memory card. It’s so easy to get carried away taking pictures of every corner, street, bridge, and gondola you see. Or maybe some of you will have better control than I do.
Pack light since this is the city of bridges as well as a city with no cars. The waterbus can only take you so far so you’ll most likely have to walk over some bridges and narrow streets. Even wheeled suitcases are a struggle in Venice. I always feel bad for the people that bring a baby in a stroller because they just end up lifting it all day.
If you can’t afford the €60+ gondola ride, buy a waterbus pass and sit in the outside seats in the front or back. Yeah, it’s not as romantic & private, but you’ll see basically all the same things for a whole lot less. You’ll probably need a waterbus pass anyways so why?
Track your hotel/hostel using a bridge or waterbus stop. Maps are confusing in Venice and some streets don’t have the name on them. My first time in Venice I knew how to get back to the hotel by spotting the Accademia Bridge. My second time, I used the Rialto Bridge. Knowing which bridge or stop you need will save you a lot of stress. You WILL get lost in Venice. Everyone I know has been lost there.
Thank you for taking the time to read my travel diary and look through my pictures. Have you been to these cities? Did you also get lost in Venice? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.