Verona, the city of love and the home to the star crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. Although it is not as popular as the other big cities in Italy such as Rome and Venice, there are plenty of things to do and see in Verona. A romantic city without equal, Verona has a rich history that dates back to the Roman times and one of the world’s largest Roman Amphitheaters. So really, there’s no question as to what is there to do in Verona, but what are the top 10 things to do:
Volunteer with Club di Giulietta
Even if you just have an hour, visit Club di Giulietta and witness the legacy that is of Juliet’s Club. Here, thousands of letters addressed to Juliet from all over the world arestored, and of course, replied to by volunteers. Although not as romantic as the movie Letters to Juliet portrayed, it is still a wonderful experience to help someone in need. If you are interested: here’s a sneak peek at the secret life of a secretary of Juliet.
Stand on Juliet’s Balcony
“Oh Romeo, Romeo, why art thou Romeo?” we all know the famous scene that take place on Juliet’s Balcony, and how Romeo climb up and seal her lips with a kiss. And you can recreate the scene, well, kind of, at Juliet’s House. Even though I feel obliged to tell you that the balcony is a recent installment made from a sarcophagus…
It’s still pretty romantic though!
Watch the sunset at Castiel San Pietro
One of the most romantic sunset I have ever seen, the skyline of Verona from Castile San Pietra is a view that I don’t think I can ever get tired of. Verona’s buildings are all in a romantic, dusty red and pink colour. Even though the castle itself is not open for public, you can perch on the brick fence along the terrace and enjoy the view.
Watch an opera in Arena di Verona
Every late August to September is the Verona Opera Festival, which goes back almost half a century ago. With many spectacular productions such as the iconic Aida, the sets are simply stunning and amplified by the backdrop of the arena stone steps. Ticket prices starts as low as 25 euros on the stone steps, you can enjoy a world class opera plus visit the interior of a thousands of years old monument. If this isn’t a score, I don’t know what is. Here’s some tips and expectation for visiting the Verona Opera.
Walk on Ponte Pietro
A bridge that rivals the Verona Arena in terms of history, Ponte Pietro literally translates to “stone bridge” and has been around since the Roman times. It is a scenic bridge in itself, and despite being blown up during WWII, it was reconstructed back in all its glory. This is the best place to admire the River Adige, and connects the best focaccia place to Castiel San Pietro.
Eat the cheapest focaccia
It is not exactly a secret that dining in Europe isn’t the cheapest affair, but apparently it can be. During my month long stay in Verona, I stumbled across this cutest foaccaia that sell slices for 1 euro and pizza for 1.5 euros. And they are beyond words. It might be a lot of carbs, but you can’t beat the price and the excellent taste. For more budget eats in Verona, my budget foodie guide to Verona post is for you.
Visit Saint Zeno’s Church
I never thought churches can look romantic, but Saint Zeno’s Romanesque architecture has definitely opened my eyes up to that possibility. A church consisted of pink stones and a rose window at the front, which represents the Wheels of Fortune. Inside, the church is split into two levels with a set of stairs leading down to the crypt, where Romeo and Juliet allegedly got married. So even though the church might be a little distance out of town, it is worth a visit.
Pay your respect at Juliet’s Tomb
The tomb of Juliet has a longer history than Juliet House. The original site where letters to Juliet was sent, it was also a pilgrimage place where many historical figures have visited. In fact, early visitors used to chip off pieces of the pink rock for Juliet’s tomb, so much so that now it is forbidden from being touched to preserve it.
Despite my recommendation, the visit can be fairly anti climatic and you do have to pay to go inside the fresco museum, situated outside the city wall, in order to visit.
Have the best gelato in your life
Italy is famous for its food, and gelato is among the cream of the crops. There are two gelateria in Verona that has captured my heart, one more so than the other with its white chocolate and pistachio flavor. Without further ado, the name of the Gelateria is Ballini, and this is the address: Via Santa Maria Rocca Maggiore, 4.
Ponte Vecchio / Scaliger
Another bridge on the list, Ponte Vecchio looks like it comes straight out of a medieval fantasy book. It was built by the Scaliger family, the ruling elite back in the days, in the 14th century. It is on the other side of the meander bend from Ponte Pietro, and links to the Castiel Vecchio. While the castle costs money to visit, the bridge is free and it makes for some good photo. The latest Romeo and Juliet movie starring Douglas Booth had a scene that was shot here.
About the Author:
Nam Cheah is a third culture millennial who spent half her life in Hong Kong and the other half in UK. Planning to make the most out of life, she documents her passion to laugh, travel and eat on her suitably named blog: Laugh, Travel, Eat. When she’s not doing any of that, she’s either catching up on TV while online shopping or writing her novels.
You want to travel, but your friends are busy, don’t have enough money to travel or don’t want to go to the same places you do. Have you ever thought about solo travel? It is an amazing and empowering experience. Here you can read about, what kind of experiences 10 female travel bloggers have made during their first solo travel trip:
My first time travelling solo was about proving to myself who I was, what I could do, what I could achieve and who I could become as a result. I was a stubborn, independent traveller and needed to tackle my adventures alone to become the woman I am today. Looking back on it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I left the safety of teaching English in South Korea to really go it alone and ended up riding solo on a motorbike through Vietnam for three months. There was literal blood, sweat and tears. I had to learn how to drive treacherous Vietnamese roads. I had to learn how to make difficult decisions by myself. I had to learn what the hell to do when my bike broke down on a steep mountain in the pouring rain with no-one around. I had to learn how to keep myself together when I didn’t see another English-speaking person for a week in the far north. It was brilliant! If you want to learn about life, go to solo travel school. Onwards and upwards ladies!
Fateful, organized chaos, is how I’d describe my first time completely traveling solo. I had just traveled to South Africa to volunteer, then Thailand where I met up with some friends I knew, then the next stop was Sydney, via a Malaysian Airlines flight, which was completely empty since I took it about two weeks after the second….incident.
The first thing I did when I arrived in Sydney, was go find a Western Union in the airport, because since I had gotten my debit and credit cards lost/stolen in Thailand, I had no money and my mom had to wire me some. It was raining, and cold, which is rare for Sydney, but of course just my luck, especially since I was staying near the infamous Bondi Beach, but I decided to make the best of it, and find an indoor activity instead.
The Sydney Aquarium seemed like a good idea, so I bought a ticket on the bus and went, not finding it odd at all that there was no one up front to take my ticket. Long story short, I got locked in the Sydney Aquarium on my first day there, alone, for about an hour before I busted open the emergency exit and escaped.
The next day it was still cold and dreary out, so I sat alone on Bondi Beach in my giant jacket trying to take GoPro pictures of the surfers. Apparently one of them noticed, and came running up to me like a taller, tanner, David Hasslehoff, and after hearing my miserable story about the money and aquarium, ended up inviting me to hang out with him and his friends.
Since it was my first time traveling solo, I was extremely reluctant (even though he was really cute), but I ended up going, and meeting a ton of awesome Aussies, and getting to experience Bondi from a local’s perspective rather than a touristic one!
It’s been over 7 years since I graduated college. I had no job lined up and no obligations after graduation. So what could I do while waiting for someone to hire me? I had never thought about traveling solo, but a few of my friends were backpacking through Europe and gave me the idea to travel! My family is very traditional and thought I was insane because I’m a girl and shouldn’t be traveling alone. I went for it anyway! I decided to take my very first solo trip to Amsterdam! I chose Amsterdam because it’s a big city, very safe, and most people speak the same language. At times it can be awkward when there is no one to take my photos or eating alone at a restaurant, it takes time to get use, but I began to ask strangers to take my photos and sat at the bar to talk to bartenders at restaurants. Something I don’t have a problem with now! Amsterdam has a lot of museums, which is a great way to spend alone time. I wanted to feel safe and be surrounded by other travelers, so I decided to book a well known tour company halfway through my trip! This was a great idea because I met so many other travelers just like me! As a first timer it allowed me to feel safe. I did not feel alone and got to experience Amsterdam with other solo travelers. My first solo trip was one of the best experiences ever and it was when I officially got hit with the travel bug!
My first solo travel experience changed me but for the better.
So like many travels plans mine started out as scribbles in my notebook gathering inspiration, I had the ideas but it was putting them all into action that was the hardest part for me. You see I had put off going travelling for a few years, of the fear of not having anyone to go with. But this year I finally found the right person; myself. As soon as I booked my ticket to go explore SEAsia the nerves kicked in, knowing I was going to be completely out of my comfort bubble did scare me, but a few weeks later there I was standing at the departures saying goodbye to my Mum, the last question she ask was ‘are you sure you want to do this?’ That was when I knew this was going to be the best decision I had ever made.
Stepping off my plane into an unknown country I admit it was daunting and I was a little apprehensive about everything. However after a while my body got used to the time zone, my skin got used to the weather, my mind got used to the culture and most importantly I got used to being in my own company. I accomplished so much each day, even if it was the littlest things because you learn that you are responsible for everything. My journey wouldn’t of been the same without meeting like-minded souls on the way, most who were travelling theirselves, not forgetting the locals of each place I travelled to, the warm smiles and happy gestures that made you feel just at home.
The best gift that this trip gave me was realizing what freedom meant to me, being able to wake up and plan my day just for me and not having someone else dictate my plans. Feeling that pure bliss of happiness and love because everyday was lived right in that moment, realising every single day should be like that no matter where you are. So just book that ticket and go, you honestly won’t regret it.
I never really expected so many twists and turns on my journey, but I guess that should have been assumed when I decided to travel alone for the first time. To be honest, I never really counted my first solo trip until I booked something for myself by myself. I have flown to visit family in the past, but the adventure lies when your surroundings are unfamiliar. I traveled for more than 24 hours to Adelaide, South Australia. Flights were delayed and overbooked which had me sleeping on the floors in the airport. But once I got myself in the country, I realized how powerful that moment was when I discovered, “I can do this on my own… I did this on my own.”
I spent over half a year in Australia where I was tested culturally and personally. While visiting, I made an effort to meet as many people as I could and attend events weekly. I joined sports team, photographed for a local online magazine, contributed to the University paper, and did waitressing on the side. The truth was, I couldn’t afford the trip over to begin with so I only bought myself a one-way ticket. I had to work most of my time there in order to save up for a flight back to the United States. This highlights that there are always alternatives to getting where you want. You don’t need all the money in the beginning. Yes, it will cost you something to travel, but it will cost your heart more when you turned yourself away from an opportunity that could impact your life.
I traveled solo for the first time at age 18. I boarded a plane to the UK and excitedly started my gap year abroad – I would be working as a teaching assistant in a boarding school, and have 17 weeks to travel Europe as I pleased.
There was no culture shock during my first few weeks in England – I was in a country which spoke the same language, and even though I had traveled alone, I was surrounded by other Australian teenagers at the school doing the same. My first experience of culture shock, and perhaps my first “real” solo journey, came during the first school break.
Excited to discover Europe, I jumped on a plane to Helsinki. It didn’t hit me that I was ill prepared until I arrived in Finland and had to attempt to find the baggage claim. This was the first time I had experienced a language barrier, and it hadn’t dawned on me that simple tasks like collecting my bag, or communicating with a taxi driver would be difficult things to do.
I found my bag after stalking a few other passengers from the same plane (which included an awkward toilet stop!), and managed to find a cab with a game of charades. Luckily, most people throughout Scandinavia speak fairly fluent English, so the trip overall was a blast. Though it taught me not to take for granted that everyone will understand you overseas. You’re traveling to their country, so it’s you who should make the effort, not them.
A little bit of language prep before a trip can go a long way, and just knowing how to communicate the basics will help to feel less intimidated on arrival, and you’ll often find you feel more safe.
My name is Melodie, and I am a travel addict. I have just returned to Canada after over four years of continuous travel, much of it on my own where I met some of the most amazing friends a girl could ask for. The first time I truly travelled alone, not just to a distant relative or to meet a friend in another country, I was 25. I had an Australian Working Holiday Visa and had spent the previous three months making my way to Australia by visiting friends and family across Canada and the United States. A month after I arrived in Australia I was staying with a cousin in Canberra when I decided that I had to take the leap and book a flight somewhere where I didn’t know a soul. Within 20 minutes of that decision I had purchased a flight to Tasmania for a week later.
I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was nervous to stay in a hostel wondering if I would make friends, but I must have picked the perfect place to stay. The first day I explored Hobart alone and it was a freeing feeling. Normally a social person I didn’t mind that I was doing hikes and eating at restaurants without anyone else. I did make friends later, on my second evening I befriended a free spirited French woman and fun girl from Korea. We ended up touring around for days and later exchanged contact details. This experience set the precedence for the rest of my journey. It just took one leap of faith, and suddenly I had the courage to book a trip knowing that at the other end there would be nothing waiting for me except for new experiences and some amazing new friends!
It was August, 2014. I was standing on a bridge across from the Berliner Dom, looking for a good spot to take a photo. It was the first time I had ever felt alone in the world even though I was surrounded by a crowd. Now you might think that it’s a negative feeling, but in truth it was refreshing and empowering. While we often end up alone in our city running errands or even just roaming around, it feels different when you are in a foreign place. I had no one to share funny moments or things that I noticed to or anyone to help me take photos or needed me to.
I was, frankly, out of my comfort zone. But without someone to talk to, I was able to focus more on my surrounding and absorb more of what’s going on around me. I had all the time to line up for a shot of the Cathedral without being hurried, but I also had to pluck up some courage to ask strangers to take a photo for me. I got to decide, alone, whether it was worth the entrance fee to visit and had no one else to blame when it turned out to be less than what I expected. I was completely by myself – and that’s something that doesn’t happen often in your life, and it helps me to be more independent.
For me, part of being an experienced traveler was taking the plunge to travel solo. I knew I wanted to go to Ireland and Iceland, so I did a stopover in Iceland for a couple days and then went on to explore Ireland. Both countries were magnificent in their own ways.
Iceland was magical in that it was covered in snow, the sun rose late, the people were welcoming, and I felt safe the entire time. I froze to death because I didn’t pack properly, but it didn’t stop me from exploring the country. I went to the Blue Lagoon on my first day and relaxed in the waters to decompress from my flight. It is every bit as amazing as you would expect. The second day I did a full day Golden Circle Tour. Around every corner was an amazing site to behold in Iceland.
When I left for Ireland, the wind was blowing at nearly 60 miles per hour. How I made it to Ireland alive is beyond me. Upon arrival the winds were so strong that they could not give us our luggage. I waited 2 days for my stuff to come back. I didn’t let it ruin my trip – I purchased some items locally and went about touring. I stayed in a hostel that I loved, went on a rail tour to the Cliffs of Moher, tasted whisky, drank beer, saw the long library, ate amazing food, and walked almost the entire city.
I had already traveled extensively prior to this trip, so I felt like I would be ok. I never once felt unsafe and have nothing but good memories.
Some years back, I heared from a friend an amazing story about a Reiki- and Yoga teacher from Nepal. As I practiced Reiki already for some time, I got curious. I wrote an e-mail to the teacher, asked him to be his student. Soon, I got a reply; telling me that I can come to Kathmandu 3 weeks later for 3 weeks. I booked the flight without knowing exactly what is expecting me and already 3 weeks later he welcomed me in Kathmandu. It got an amazing time with new insights into Reiki, Yoga and meditation, with visiting the awesome sights in and around Kathmandu in the afternoons, spending time with my teacher and his lovely family and traveling one extra week with the teachers daughter around Nepal. This story maybe is not about solo travel in a classical way. But like most solo travel trips, you start alone and you don’t know what will expect you. At the end you weren’t lonely one day, because you meet other people on your way, with whom you spend time together, which get travel buddies and sometimes friends for your whole life.
Maria Coni, 22, and Marina Menegazzo, 21, had run out of money while travelling through South America. A friend put them in touch with two men, who they thought would offer them a place to stay. Instead the men sexually assaulted the pair, before murdering them and dumping their bodies.
Sadly, in the wake of the tragedy there were many people who were inclined to blame the victims of this terrible attack, rather than the perpetrators. One controversial opinion offered by Argentine psychiatrist Hugo Marietan was that the women “took a risk” by travelling in “parts of the world that are not ready for the full freedom of the woman”.
He went on to say: “Women, you are also responsible for your preservation. Do [you] serve your feminist theories in that final moment?”
In response to those blaming the victims for what happened, one woman wrote an impassioned Facebook post from the perspective of the two women. Guadalupe Acosta from Paraguay sparked a social media outcry with her words:
“From the moment I had my lifeless body, nobody asked where he was, the son of a gun…
No, they started asking me useless questions…
What clothes you had on?
Why are you alone?
How a woman is going to travel without company?
You got yourself in a dangerous neighbourhood, what did you expect?
But to be a woman, the crime is minimized. Becomes less serious, because of course, I asked for it. Doing what I wanted, I got what I deserved for not being submissive, for not wanting to stay in my house, for investing my own money in my dreams.”
The Facebook post has been shared over 730,000 times, and the hashtag #viajosola – Spanish for “I travel alone” – trended on Twitter worldwide.
Acosta’s words touched a nerve with female travellers across the globe. Independent women who travel to broaden their minds, to learn and to grow, and for the sheer joy of it began posting inspiring viewpoints and photos of themselves travelling solo.
#Viajosola because my gender has nothing to do with my desire to see the world @SammyLT
#viajosola because you will never know who you truly are until you do so @jomanaElwenni
#viajosola because my love for seeing the world & its cultures shouldn’t be jeopardized by the fact I’m a woman @twiitterlessDad
Travelling alone is my joy in life, not an invitation for man to rob, rape and murder me #viajosola @coreen085
Gender shouldn’t be a barrier from the world #Viajosola @TwinsWade
#viajosola because the world is so big and amazing – and I do not and should not need an escort… #liveloveexplore @tara_bt
Travelling is one of life’s great pleasures. Travelling alone is a truly liberating journey which nobody – man or woman – should feel afraid to embark upon. Travelling alone teaches us so much about ourselves and the world around us. We learn to be at peace in solitude, we learn to trust ourselves, and we meet likeminded people who we form deep and lasting connections with.
The random and tragic murders of backpackers like those of Maria and Marina should never be seen as the victim’s fault for daring to go out in the world unchaperoned. Dangerous viewpoints like that of Hugo Marietan should not hold women back from exploring whichever corner of the globe they choose.
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