Verona: A City of Style & Elegance
Piazza Erbe and one of its beautiful medieval walls**
Without question Verona is my favourite city in Italy, and like many small cities in Europe, its historical centre is nice and compact making exploring this gem an absolute delight! The climate from late spring to mid autumn lends itself to lazy strolls along the river, and early evening aperitivos in your favourite piazza, where elegantly dressed locals enjoy their very social passeggiata and laughing children make the most of the last play of the day. This is a very feminine and elegant city, offering a great blend of style, culture and beautiful architecture.
Aperitivo time in Piazza Erbe
Verona’s historical centre is a UNESCO world heritage site and is beautifully maintained. The city was founded in 1 B.C. and flourished during the 13th and 14th centuries under the rule of the Scaliger family, and then as part of the Republic of Venice from the 15th-18th centuries. There are an amazing number of monuments that have been well preserved and I think the best way to begin your love affair with this city is to find a really good local tour guide and do a half-day walking tour. He or she will put the city, its history and culture into context, and not only take in key sites but will usually include some that you would never find yourself. From its beautiful 2000+ year old Arena to Juliette’s Balcony and beyond there is much to be seen!
For fashionistas and shopaholics, there is an abundance of choice, and all within a small pedestrian area. You will find the ubiquitous brands such as Louis Vuitton, Zara, Max Mara, Max & Co, Emporio Armani and Gucci etc, but there are fabulous stores stocking luxury/local brands, quality Italian clothing, shoes and accessories that will deliver for every style and budget. Favourites include Elisabetta Franchi, Patrizia Pepe, Peserico, Twin-Set and Flavio Castellani to name a few, and all can be found between via Mazzini, the main shopping street, and Corso Porta Borsari. The Italians know how to dress and Veronese women, in particular, are extremely stylish and elegant, so if you want to dress like the best then this is one of the cities to shop.
Foodies will not be disappointed either with a multitude of restaurants/bars to choose from, many offering mouthwatering cuisine and exceptional wines. There are of course the usual tourist traps to be found in the main piazzas, however, overall the city does deliver. I have a few favourites that are consistently good: Ristorante 12 Apostoli, at Corticella San Marco,3 (owned by the same family for 100 years), Ristorante Maffei, set in a divine outdoor setting just off the side of Piazza Erbe, and a more casual option at Osteria Mondodoro, at via Mondo D’Oro, 4.
Dining room and drinks trolley ’12 Apostoli'(you should see the dessert trolley!)
Finally, for opera lovers, there is nothing more beautiful or atmospheric than attending the opera in the Arena during the summer season from June to early September – you can enjoy classics such as Aida, Carmen, Turandot and more. For those after something a little more contemporary, 2015 sees Spandau Ballet performing in July, and the stage show ‘Dirty Dancing’ in August! To buy tickets and check out the Festival schedule head to www.arena.it.
If you are travelling to Italy and heading north, then don’t miss Verona. This stylish and elegant city delivers on every front and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. This is my third visit in 4 years and far from my last. In fact, I am sure I have space in my diary for a weekend visit in October……just let me check!
Have a great week and I look forward to sharing something new with you soon.
Chief Diva Andrea xx
**copyright Inna Felker
Rest of photos Travelling Divas own.