Verona - "It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, owing to its artistic heritage, several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheatre built by the Romans."
Continuation of camping summer holiday in Italy 2001
After 3 or 4 days in Lake Lugano, we headed to Verona. The main intention was to visit the amphitheatre and get tickets to watch an opera being performed. Imagine my delight when we discovered Romeo and Juliet's house - which was packed with people.
Like most of ancient Europe, the outer walls look old, dilapidated and unattended, but when you get a glimpse inside - it is always well looked after and beautiful. I believe that no-one fixes up the outside so that it looks like there is nothing of value inside, thus keeping thieves at bay!
Roman architecture and sculptures really talk to me. I don't always retain the dry historical information or names. Rather I find that I get so immersed in the antiquities and atmosphere that mostly I can only recall the feelings and images. Throughout our travels in Italy, I had a deep sense of returning home.
We bought tickets to watch the opera AIDA in the amphitheatre. I am not an opera lover but "when in Rome..." Outside the amphitheatre were all the very LARGE props and stage settings for each opera.
Wow was it spectacular and so unlike anything I'd ever experienced before!
Everyone takes a picnic basket, some wine, cushions and blankets. It was then that we discovered the Italians' love of children, how those children were involved in every aspect of life, one of them being introduced to opera at a young age, so developing a love of their culture. Those under 25 years of age were still considered 'children' and therefore paid children prices.
Everywhere were extended families setting up their picnic on the hard stone terraces of the amphitheatre, whilst the children intermingled and played. There was a great deal of laughter and happiness.
As the sun set, the candles were lit, the whole amphitheatre was filled with light. It was an amazing magical uplifting and inspiring sight.
The atmosphere set the scene for the opera and we were swept away by the magnificence of it...until the end when I must admit that the ending kinda took sooo long we were getting restless - this was the part when she was dying and she seemed to take about two hours to do so, lol!! Every time she disappeared into the coffin and I thought she'd finally died, she'd suddenly appear again singing...I felt myself groaning inside.
Most children by this time were fast asleep on the cushions and pillows.
Tired but happy we made our way back to the campsite.
A few days after we arrived a large Winebago pulled up into the site next to ours. It was a lovely Italian couple with a young son approximately 12 years of age. Good grief! This woman seemed determined to match-make our daughter with her son. Ashlee was only 11 years at the time and the last thing on her mind was 'boys'!
Initially I thought she was simply being friendly, cos she constantly came over to chat and have a laugh, but then she started talking about our two children spending time together because she thought it would make for a lovely holiday 'boyfriend/girlfriend' romance experience. Jeepers! Poor Ashlee kept hiding away every time she saw this woman and her son.
We actually cut our stay short...we laugh about it now...but then it was quite traumatic for Ash.
Lake Lugano was where I first experienced the Italian men's love of women - they stare intently and chat up constantly. Initially I thought it was because we were foreign, but my stepdad said that it was normal - handed down from father to son. A friend who lived in Italy for many years said to me once that if a woman wanted a weekend fling of flattery and romance - Italy is the place to experience it.
But the downside is, don't expect any commitment - most will probably be in a relationship and only want a one-night stand. She says that these days the women are doing the same! (Just for the record, what I have written is merely the opinions of others.)
I got used to it and found it quite flattering and charming - but a bit weird seeing little boys pulling the same moves as their elders!
Hehe...talk about a steep learning curve out of naivete! Amazing how we attract experiences to ourselves so that we can get to know ourselves a little better!
Anyways, in between the activities...there was plenty of time to relax, swim, read and for the children to make friends with others.
Romeo and Juliet's house -
Ashlee and Traevis -