Massimo and I spent most of our Saturday in Verona, a medium sized city in Northern Italy. We visited a big amphitheater where they were preparing for the launch of Aida. it’s the largest coliseum in Italy that’s fully intact (Rome’s are more in shambles, I hear).
Then we shopped. Verona is known for its fine Italian fashion. Massimo picked up some things, while I reflected on the extent of my shopping experience: once a year I go to Vacaville, CA which is a couple hours north of SF to the outlet malls where there are cheap shoes and pants and shirts. Outside of this trip, I avoid the deadly experience of buying new clothes. But window shopping in Verona was actually quite pleasant, as was helping Massimo decide which shirt most extenuated his charming Italian personality.
Verona is most known, though, for being the place where Romeo and Juliet is set. We saw the scene, including the balcony and a statue of Juliet. There was a line next to Juliet and I soon learned that grabbing her boob is supposed to bring good luck. So I waited my turn and went right after this American dad lifted his kids on shoulder and said "ok now touch her boobie." Good values to indoctrinate, indeed.
For lunch we had a casual meal and then lay on the grass in a park for a half hour. I searched, fruitlessly, for a hotspot, while Massimo bought a few more things. We left Verona in the mid-afternoon, headed in the direction of our village, and stopped at one of the small lake towns to watch Portugal vs. England soccer.
Next we headed over to one of Massimo’s childhood friends’ house in Rovereto. He and his girlfriend are web designers and have free wi-fi. I connected for a couple minutes, downloaded more than 400 emails, refreshed my RSS reader to more than 700 new items, and then closed out and we walked downstairs and across town to a Chinese restaurant. What a lovely evening! Warm breeze, cobble stones, people on the streets. The Chinese food was good – big portions, low prices. It’s funny hearing Chinese people speaking Italian. Thanks to Massi’s friend Mauro’s insider knowledge, I ordered a special kind of desert. In addition to the ice cream in the bowl, you get to keep the bowl! (I gave the bowl to Massi as a thank you gift).
After dinner I had a leisurely tour with Mauro and his girlfriend. We struggled to overcome the language barrier, which was fun. I learned that Rovereto is home to the largest museum of modern art and is a nice tourist attraction for people swinging through northern Italy.
My final full day in North Italy was more than 12 hours long – exhausting – but well worth it. I’ll miss this small village. This is true Italy.