The History and the City
In the north of the Italian peninsula, halfway between Venice and Milan, we find the beautiful Verona. Indeed, it is a real pearl among Italian cities. The Bellissima Verona in the north of Italy attracts many people. All over the world they have heard about it, above all because of Shakespeare, who made it famous for the tragic story of two lovers, Juliet and Romeo, and with another of his comedies, less known than the previous one: The two Gentlemen from Verona.
The city lies between the Adige River and the Lessini Mountains and has an ancient history, dating back thousands of years.
It has his roots invery old history! First, it developed between the fourth and third centuries BC. Second, it became a Roman municipium in the first century BC. And then, it grew rapidly in importance. There is a beautiful Roman amphitheater built in the first century AD by the Emperor Nero, where all lovers of opera music meet.
Its acoustics are perfect and the 30,000 people who listen don’t need a loudspeaker system!
In the 5th century Verona was occupied by the Ostrogoth king, Theodoric I, who made it his capital.
And then, by the Lombards; in 774 Charlemagne, king of the Franks, arrived.
At the beginning of the twelfth century it became an independent municipality. It prospered under the dominion of the Scaligeri and in particular under that of Cangrande I (Great Khan). He wanted to build an empire that included all of northern Italy but died before his time. He failed to realize his dream which he had cultivated with his friend, Dante Alighieri. Dante is one of the greatest Italian poet and author of the Divine Comedy.
When in 1921 they reopened Cangrande’s tomb, with his body they found inside a cloak embroidered with silk, gold and silver threads of Chinese origin, with dragons and lotus flowers, perhaps arrived on the silk road to Venice and then to Verona. Today it can be admired at the Castelvecchio’s Museum. In the center of the city we find the old Roman settlement protected by a bend in the river that contains one of the richest collections of Roman ruins in northern Italy.
Among the surviving remains of this period are the city gate, Porta Borsari. But also the remains of Porta Leoni; the Arco dei Gavi, dismantled during the Napoleonic period and rebuilt next to Castelvecchio in the 1930s; the Ponte Pietra; the Roman theatre and the Arena Amphitheatre.
Today the city is a World Heritage Site, as established by UNESCO.
The gentle hills surrounding Verona produce some of the best wines in Italy, such as Valpolicella superiore, Amarone and its passito, Recioto, as well as a wide variety of white wines. Boccaccio already talked about these magnificent wines in the 14th century and today they are still maintaining their integrity.
Then, the food to accompany the wines is truly extraordinary, in Verona we find many culinary specialties recognized for centuries, made of meat and fish from the nearby Lake Garda and the river Adige. Many of the tourists who arrive in Verona on the way to Venice then regret having planned only two or three days for this beautiful city and promise that they will return to better explore it.
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