CULTURE AND TOURISM ON-LINE MAGAZINE

- JANUARY 2018 -
HOME - Bridge Italy - Best of Italy - Verona Shakespeare celebrated its beauty without ever having seen it
Best of Italy
Verona
Shakespeare celebrated its beauty without ever having seen it
In the age of Augustus the city was already considered second only to Rome in the whole empire.
Always a trading center, it is still the European hub of major trade networks. It has an irresistible appeal for tourists and visitors thanks to events like Vinitaly, FieraCavalli (the International Horse Festival) and the outstanding season of opera and shows held in the ageless Arena
by Dario C. Nicoli
SHARE Facebook Twitter

Verona. Panorama. Photo by Thilo Weimar courtesy of Archivio Fotografico Provincia di Verona Turismo. www.tourism.verona.it

Think of Verona and Juliet appears. As beautiful as Olivia Hussey in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1967 film, as intense as Rebecca Saire in the BBC production directed by Alvin Rakoff in 1978. And beside her, Romeo with the features of Leonard Whiting or Patrick Ryecart, respectively.

It is 14th century Verona, with its family feuds and its duels, that is the background to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, one of the most heart-rending love stories of all time, which celebrates both the explosive power of life and the triumph of death. It is in the squares and lanes overshadowed by imposing palaces that the tormented story of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet unfolds, a relationship opposed by the respective families, which ends with the death of the two lovers in the crypt of the ancient monastery of San Francesco al Corso.

Every year at least eight thousand new visitors come to the city that Shakespeare celebrated for its beauty without ever having seen it. It is such an entrancing microcosm that the young Montague, banished by Bartholomew della Scala and exiled to Mantua, says There is no world without Verona walls, But purgatory, torture, hell itself…”. The visitors search for Juliet’s balcony, following a route punctuated by evocative plaques, that guide them in the discovery of the city along the milestones of the Shakespearean drama. From via Cappello to Piazza delle Erbe to Piazza dei Signori, the city’s traditional commercial center, to the Old Market square. One of the seats of power in the city, hemmed in between buildings decorated with earthenware tiles and tuff, lined almost right around with porticos and featuring the majestic staircase dubbed “Scala della Ragione”, this courtyard still retains the austere fascination of that period.

The starting point for the walk is always, for everyone, Piazza Bra, the Lombard clearing dominated by the great Arena, which with the Theater on the shores of the Adige, bears witness to how important the city already was in the age of Augustus. It was in fact considered the empire’s second city in size and splendor after Rome.

Since time immemorial, a crossroads of trade and of the movement of people (legend has it that it was founded by Brenno during the invasion by the Huns in Italy in 300 B.C.), today Verona is still the hub of one of the most modern European commercial networks. Well-known for its International Fair, specializing in horses and for Vinitaly, not to mention its tourist activity which offers unforgettable holidays along the shores of Lake Garda and picturesque walks through hills covered in olive trees and vineyards producing high-quality wines, such as Recioto and Amarone, admired the world-over. Of course there are also the typical dishes of Venetian cooking, especially the tortellini of Valeggio sul Mincio, best washed down with Bianco di Custoza, and the potato gnocchi, whose “father” has been represented in the main San Zeno Carnival mask since the 1500s.

An irresistible attraction is the Opera festival in the Arena which since 1913 has provided spectacular annual open-air shows from June to September. The program in the great amphi-theater, which can seat audiences of over ten thousand, always features Aida, which inaugurated the celebrations of the centenary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth, and Bizet’s Carmen, works which more than any others gain emotional depth on a large stage. Concerts of classical and rock music, dance and ballet complete the program which, over the years, has brought the greatest stars of the world artistic scene to the Arena, from Maria Callas, who made her debut there in 1947 in the role of Amilcare Ponchielli’s Gioconda directed by Tullio Serafin, to Kiss, the American rock band who have chosen Verona for their only Italian performance on June 11, to celebrate their 40th birthday with a bang.

More articles
Culture   Eugenio Barba On Life and Theatrical Thought and Practice Culture   Mark Bradford and Wade Guyton Million dollar American art that’s taking Italy by storm Culture   “Poverty is sexist” The young ambassadors of ONE in Paris against extreme poverty Culture   The middle-eastern origin of blown glass, the pride of Venice Culture   “You don’t know the South” 
The culture of the South relaunched in Otranto Culture   Those Southern women who express the world Culture   Dante’s Purgatory in an enchanting Matera Culture   Andy Warhol The immortal guru of Pop Art Culture   “Angels and saints in Chicago and Baltimora” Cultural exchanges between the University of Bari and the US Culture   Those farm women, thrilled at their first sight of the sea… Culture   My Puglia as seen from the UN Culture   The Fulbright Project? An extraordinary opportunity for a cultural exchange
Books   Not even love transforms the Stock Exchange of destinies Books   And the dream of conquest turned into a mirage of the desert Books   Joseph’s Gargano Books   The tragedy of Mattmark A book so as not to forget Books   Journey through the gardens of Italy Books   When poetry investigates “time” Books   Amidst the storms of life it’s the strength of a loving heart that wins Books   That valley in the Gargano so rich in history that must not be forgotten Books   Grottaglie and its pottery through the life of the benefactor Vincenzo Calò Books   Eighty years of joyful culture Books   Sergeant Romano’s siege like in a movie Books   The magnificent eighty Books   San Marco in Lamis seen from its bell-tower Books   A great love for splendid Castro Books   Better not come home... Letters between Italy and America during the first World War Books   Story of a poet between Puglia and America Books   Worked to death under the sun of Puglia Books   When forgotten objects tell a life story Books   Masserie of Puglia Journey amidst Beauty Books   An excursion into the Salentine dialect … Mai pe iabbu Books   The moral revival of the South can start from its “best” Books   Life, anyway! Books   Rainbow of women Books   Amidst the mountains of Val d’Aosta …in pursuit of the culprit Books   …Once upon a time there was the past Writing about it to preserve the memory Books   Disorder and experimentation in the museum-houses of Ignazio Apolloni Books   Salento stories …in search of lost time Books   Pietro Marti, the great standard-bearer of Salento culture Books   Even tycoons cry Books   If a “whale” island appears one night out of nowhere… Books   From his ancestral Calabria to Roma Precious memories of a lifetime Books   The importance of rediscovering “fraternity” Books   In the wax museum to seek the dream of a better world Books   Naples “Kissed by God and raped by Man” Books   Once upon a time there was the padre-padrone Books   Second World War The drama of the fallen Books   On the Savannah lagoons …to heal Books   The meaning of the 20th century in the saga of the Stille family Books   In Fellini’s La dolce vita the germs of today’s Italy Basilicata   Craco The “second life” of a ghost town Po Delta   The Po Delta park Natural beauty and history Bari   “Cieli americani” in Bari Courmayeur   Courmayeur All the charm of the low season Ferrara   You can still dream in Ferrara Ferrara   “Action!” Amongst Ferrara’s myriad sets Music   Porretta Soul Festival The Italian Woodstock of black American music Matera   Pasolini-Matera Fifty years ago the first Gospel in the Sassi Naples   “Wood Stone and Friends” Jimmie Durham’s magic vitalism at the MADRE Naples   Art miracles at Vigna San Martino Naples   The Hermann Nitsch Museum From horror to awareness Bologna   Do you want to be FICO? In Bologna you can Bologna   Bologna “The Learned”, “The Fat”, “The Red” Bologna   At the MAMbo Arte Povera on display Polignano   From Brooklyn to Polignano Twelve artists out to conquer Europe Movies   With The Revenant DiCaprio rises again and aims for the Oscar Movies   Quo Vado? When the southern redneck turns politically correct Movies   When the cinema returns to the future Best of Italy   Andria Pietro Zito’s vegetable garden This is where his prize-winning dishes originate Best of Italy   The best Milanese panettone is… Salentine San Marino   “From Hopper to Warhol” on the gentle hills of San Marino San Marino   San Marino Historic appeal amidst breathtaking panoramas Turin   Reggia di Venaria Reale A treasure rediscovered Turin   The Egyptian Museum of Turin The immortal appeal of the Pharaohs Turin   “For President” Photogenic qualities will win the elections Padua   So much… In the city of the three “withouts” Milan   EXPO 2015 Not just food Milan   The oneiric inspirations of Joan Jonas Milan   “Autunno americano” Milan celebrates the States Milan   MILAN The metropolis is still “to drink” (…and “to eat”) Florence   “American Dreamers” The new dream of eleven American artists on show in Florence Rome   Forty young Italians with ONE for the fight against world hunger Rome   “Empire State” New York is still the epicenter of art Travel   “A thousand and one Puglias” Travel   New Year’s Eve in Salento Naonis Viaggi and Bridge offer the first “tour of wonders” Travel   A taste of Italy from Puglia to Basilicata Venice   The immortal charm of the 
“Queen of the Sea” Venice   So many “Illumi/nations” with the Biennale d’Arte Rovigo   History and Art In the capital of the Polesine Rovigo   “Divisionism, the light of what is modern” 200 works on show in Rovigo