Verona has all of the luxuries of Italy that has stolen my heart. I mean. This country – the colors. the architecture details. the food (oh snap, the food.) the adding of the fun, extra syllables to everything. It agrees with us and I try to convince J about this fact perpetually – ‘deer, look at my skin. it’s softer now that we’re here.’ or ‘love, your eyes are extra blue since we crossed the border.’ I’m not totally unsure that it’s working. If you want to discuss how much you love Italy, come sit next to us….unless you don’t wear deodorant, because c’mon.
The city boasts the third largest Roman amphitheatre in Italy, built around 30 AD. Also, in order to solidify a spot in our list of great cities, Verona went ahead and claimed a fab body of water. Not just claimed, but straddled itself around the Adige river making it quite convenient to enjoy best of both worlds.
UNESCO isn’t the only one who appreciated the beauty of the city, Shakespeare was a big fan as well. He set three of his plays there – Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew. The tomb of Ms. Capulet, called Tomba di Giulietta, finds itself off the beaten path lined with columns leading to the monastery. The balcony, however, lives in a small, but highly sought-out courtyard in the center of Verona, named Casa di Giulietta. R+J’s tragedy attracts romantics from all over to come and leave love notes and locks as forever symbols. We played along – got us a rad little pink lock, wrote our initials on it and brought the keys to Croatia with us.
Ahh! And the best thing ever. Justin got stopped by an Asian tourist who asked for a photo with him. Her friends spoke English and told him that it was because he looked like Leonardo DiCaprio.. He tried to tell her that he was not Leonardo DiCaprio, but the lady insisted, it was ok that he just looked like him. Y’all. Leo D played Romeo which was set in Verona. Mind: blown. You don’t know how bad I want a copy of that photo.
Goodnight, good night, Italia. Parting is such sweet sorrow. For in the morning, our road trip continues.
So, the car ride out of Lucerne was pretty much full-on Annie trying to coerce Justin into stopping in Milan..
“Honey, I’ve never been to Milan.. Love, we’re driving right through.. I love Italy what if we never come back?!”
He’d break about 45 minutes outside of the city and thought he could prove his wife wrong in that there wasn’t anything to see. Ha. While not as lovely as Florence, Milan was still able to add to her love affair with Italia. So we park the car in the first lot that we find in the (what we assumed was) center of town and begin our trek around the city to see the sights in pit-stop number two on our way to Verona. We spot a tower and figure, ‘hey, that must be something important.’ Ends up that we’re walking next to the beautiful Sempione Park on our way up to the 15th century Sforza Castle, one of the largest citadels in Europe. Psh. J and his ‘nothing to see’. A of course made friends with the first musical street performer we come across..
Wandering through the castle’s renaissance courtyard, we find one of the entrances with a long boulevard on the opposite side. The trek continues down the street and leads us to the Piazza del Duomo, where Annie with all of her inner strength fights the urge to say, ‘see, told ya.’ But she doesn’t need to, he knows, he knows. It was a good pit-stop, the square is dominated by the Milan Cathedral, the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the most important example of Gothic architecture in the country. This guy that takes six centuries to build is just as grand on the inside, but unfortunately the cathedral ushers don’t let A in since she’s in shorts.. Women in shorts are forbidden, men in shorts are fine.. What year is this?
After J makes a quick run through the inside our eyes turn to the left of the cathedral where we find a giant glass covered walkway – the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II is the worlds oldest shopping mall – but we were hard pressed to notice the shops while looking up at the ceiling the entire way through.
The little trolley car at the stop on the other side reminded us of our days back on McKinney Avenue in Dallas. We smile, and think, ‘yeah, we’d much rather look at them in Milan’ while we make our way back to our chariot. Next stop, Verona. Annie promises her husband no more pit-stops on the way.
Bonjourno Italia, you’ve got it goin’ on! To celebrate our one year anniversary that we’ve been going on and on about, we booked a trip to Tuscany. And this little corner of the world completely stole our hearts (and stomachs). The beautiful narrow streets that open up to gorgeous pops of color. Europe is filled with grand, historic cathedrals and palaces with ornate details and gold trimmings, so much that we’ve become a little numb to it. But, Florence brought it with the Wow Factor. The green and white marble that you just can’t stop looking at. The details even had details. We split our time meandering through the streets and patio-ing – which, I had to describe to my mom as ‘sitting on a patio drinking’ and we’re very good at it, to which we received a shocked, ‘Anne!’ Don’t worry, there was enough ravioli and gelato to soak it up. Mamma Mia!
^ This adorable group of Italian men. Y’all. The cool cat in all black – yes, that’s a black leather hat to go with his black leather jacket and shades – rides up on his fancy two-wheels and throws down that kickstand. His friends all stand around admiring and you know we were thankful to have the best patio spot in that piazza.
Aside from our much needed dose of sun after the Belgian winter, we couldn’t get enough of the pasta, wine and gelato. Delicious. I can’t tell you how fun it was to break out some of the dresses that had been locked up for months. I was maybe a little overeager with the flip-flops..Ouch. It was painful for J to watch, mostly. So many hills. So much walking. But we wouldn’t have traded it for anything. Best vacation of our lives.
On the last night, we sat on a dinner terrace talking about before we were married and how fun the engagement was like his conversation with the first person he told he bought the ring. Oh, and we tried grappa for the first time.. That last photo up there was after the grappa. I know my writing has been
a little way sappy-centric lately, but I had to get it out. I’ll try to keep the sappy to a yearly thing/minimum and get us back on regularly scheduled programming..try. So with that said, the rest of our trip which included an amazing wine tour through Tuscany and a ginormous garden will be making an appearance in the coming days. Arrivederci!