Dolly Travels: Verona

Published Date Author: , July 3rd, 2015

VeronaHi Everyone,

If you look at a map of Italy, you will see that Verona is about an hour’s train ride, west of Venice, on the way to Milano. Verona is also the crossroads of the north-south rail line. To get to the Alto Adige area, Sued Tirol, or the Dolomites, the route north goes from Verona. Verona has been an important crossroads since Roman times. The ancient colosseum, Arena, still holds many musical events, due to the great acoustics of the arena. The biggest draw here is the annual opera festival in the summer.

During Roman era, this arena was actually outside the city walls. Although I have been to Verona several times, this time I actually paid attention to how small the original city was. The main part of the city has the river, Adige, as its boundaries around the peninsula-like area. The ancient city was this small, few blocks long area that had the river on three sides, for protection from the enemies. The gate to the city, Porta Busari, is about 3 blocks north of the Arena. I am not a fast walker, but I covered the perimeter of the old city in 15 minutes, even stopping to look at things.

It is still a beautiful city, with the old Castel San Pietro sitting just across the river at the point of the peninsula. High on the hill a bit north, but above the Castel, is the Austrian fortress, built in the 19th century, as was the Austrian city hall that faces the main piazza, Piazza Bra.

This is the building that was the Austrian city hall. The statues in front are actually part of the stage set for the opera, “Aida”, which was to be performed on Saturday night, in the Arena

The little park in the piazza has a fountain that celebrates the link between Austria and Verona.

There’s a plaque that states that the fountain symbolizes the link between Verona and Salzburg, with the two cities separated by the Alps.

However, history lessons aside, my primary purpose for staying in Verona was to see the opera, “Nabucco”, an opera by Verdi that I had never seen. I love the one chorus number from that opera, “Va Pensiero”, or roughly, ” Go, Hebrew slaves.” This is a biblical account of the Hebrew children of God, being held captive by King Nebuchadnezzar.

The opera was scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m. Friday night, with the gates to open at 8:00. About 7:00, it started to rain. But we had to show up at the gates, anyway. After paying as much as I did for a ticket (not to mention the increased hotel rate), I was definitely going to be there.

We hardy souls stood in the rain, with our umbrellas, waiting for the gates to open. Finally, about 8:20, we were ushered into the Arena. Miraculously, the rain stopped within a few minutes of our getting into the Arena.

The opera did go on, without a hitch. The stage setting was quite simple; the costumes were in keeping with the poverty of the Hebrew slaves, while the costumes for the royalty and the royal soldiers were so beautiful without being gaudy. And the voices! The soprano, who played Abigaill, the king’s daughter, was amazingly wonderful. But for me, finally hearing the chorus sing, “Va Pensiero”, was the highlight. The voices of probably 100 Hebrew slaves, was spellbinding. Apparently, the rest of the audience felt the same, for when the number ended, there was absolute silence for about a second, then the crowd went wild with applause, and “Bravi”, so much that the conductor signaled to the orchestra, and the number was repeated. I have never, ever seen that happen before, but we all enjoyed it as much the second time as the first.

Finally, it was time to call it a night.

I was cold, so I went to a cafe across the street, had an Irish coffee, then returned to my room to get a few hours’ sleep, as I had to leave in the morning for the Dolomites.

The entire 2 days’ stay in Verona, was certainly worthwhile. I hope I get to return another time for an opera experience, although it will be hard to top the performance I saw Friday night.

I continued my journey to the Dolomites, where I am staying now. Here there is definitely the Austrian feeling, from the very good Tyrolean-style food, to amazing beer, and German the primary language.

Again, I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to travel, savor the feelings from different cultures, and I am building a lifetime of memories to enjoy when and if I ever get to old-age status.

Ciao for now,


By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Veneto Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

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Dolly Travels: Verona - Gravatar Dolly Travels: Verona said on July 3, 2015, 8:40 am:

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