The apartment we slept in Granazzena, booked on the Internet and reasonable priced, was wonderful. It had two rooms, each with a large bathroom connected by a large living room and many terraces. Verona was not in the plan. We came here just as a stop over on the way to Umbria, a break in a very long journey in two. The city welcomed us with an ocean of tourists that you encounter now in all Italian cities. The number of groups is mind boggling, with a large part of them being made out of Asians. The streets were packed and the only reprieve you could find was around the Duomo. We took advantage of the quiet morning time and had breakfast right in front of the Duomo and continued latter on the streets whose sides were adorned by palazzos, all with large doors and covered windows. Many of them are public buildings but other looked to be private. The famous churches of the city, stripped in white and red bricks were full of tourist groups. We did not have enough time to get in any of them because we had a long drive in front of us to get to Umbria, so we paced the streets and alleys, getting in the two main squares of the city, Erbe and Bra and walking around the Roman Theater used in the past maybe for gladiator fights but now an active art scene of Verona, the summer host of a Shakespeare Festival.
Obviously the major attraction is around the Romeo and Juliet story, the crowds taking the Capulet house by storm. Even if the story is fictitious, people were taking pictures with a statue of Juliet and zillion of pictures of the famous balcony alive in their imaginations with other Romeos or Juliettes. The walls of the house are completely covered in graffiti to the point that new sheets of paper are covering them for new writings. As a result on the top courtyard, some guys with great sense of business declared the place the courtyard of love selling inscriptions on tiny mosaic plaques with personalized lover names to be implanted latter for eternity in the pavement. The courtyard was so large and the plaques so tiny that at E100 a pop would make a little fortune to fill it up. I spoke with them to franchise it in New York where for sure it will work like a charm and also offered a subscription if the lover preference may change in time…. .
It took us a while to leave Verona. It was nice and rich that we always delayed the departure till we figured out that with 5 hours drive in front of us we had to do it. We drove down on A1 toward Florence and Arezzo and further on local roads. At one point we started driving on a dirt road for 4 km arriving in the middle of nowhere in Forte Sorgnano, an out of the world place surrounded by olive trees and quietude on top of a hill where stands a ruined fort. We quickly brought our luggage to the room and left to have dinner in a small medieval town, Montefalco, at 30 minutes drive.
In spite of being late, the Alchemist restaurant-enoteca in the main square was open and regaled us with Umbrian dishes, regular stuff here in the village but remarkable fancy otherwise in New York. The cook was a real food alchemist and we enjoyed his miracles with a glass of Sangrantino, the famous Umbrian rosso wine till midnight.