Another city to add to your tour in Veneto region is certainly Verona, the home to the most romantic love story, to lyrical music, theatre and delicious wine.
This city is very well known thanks to the English poet and playwright William Shakespeare, who was inspired by the history and architecture of Verona for his masterpiece Romeo and Juliet. Montecchi, the family of Romeo, was a rich merchant family and Capuleti was the family of Juliet. Italian poet and writer, Dante Alighieri mentioned the two families in his Divine Comedy, although there is no proof of their opposition, which culminated to the development of one of the most inspiring love story of all time. Around the narrative of this unfortunate couple, there is still a vail of legend mixed with reality, probably just another factor which makes this story even more mysterious.
From the central Piazza delle Erbe it is possible to walk to via Cappello where the house of Juliet is an important tourist attraction. Every year couples in love or visitors looking for the love of their life, walk in here to see the world's most famous balcony and to write their vows, hoping to live their dream love story forever.
The house of Romeo is also nearby, but unfortunately it is not possible to visit it as it is privately owned. For those who are the most passionate about Shakespeare' masterpiece, the tour can end at the ex monks' convent where it is possible to see the tomb of Juliet.
Leaving Shakespeare and his novel aside, I recommend you to continue your tour from the main square, Piazza Bra. Here, you will find the Verona Arena, a monumental Roman amphitheatre, built in the first century. This Arena is one of the best conserved in Europe and it is still used for large-scale concerts and opera performances. The acoustics are absolutely impressive as it could be inside a normal Opera House with the advantage that you can enjoy a summer evening outside under, perhaps, a sky full of stars. Here, Aida of Giuseppe Verdi was played for the first time, making all the citizens of Verona very attached to this artist. Including an evening at the arena watching an opera performance, would add an even more exclusive touch to your Italian wedding and holiday.
After Piazza Bra, Piazza delle Erbe is what you should see next. This is definitely the most vibrant point of the city, with its fruit and vegetable market every weekend. The square is surrounded by the municipality palace, Maffei Palace, with statues of Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Saturn. In the middle of the square you will find the statue and fountain of St Mary. In the evening you can taste the Aperol Spritz aperitif here with your friends and enjoy the atmosphere at sunset in the heart of Verona.
Another recommended square to see is Piazza dei Signori, which is also in the center of the city. Here in the middle of the square there is a statue to the famous poet and writer Dante Alighieri. Originally from Florence, Dante is author of numerous masterpieces, (among which the 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy, divided in the three parts Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso is one of the most famous), lived here for seven years in exile.
In the background of the statue there is the massive Scaligeri Palace. This was the home of the noble family governing Verona in the Middle Age, from 1260 to 1387. In the center of the city, it is also possible to see the monumental sarcophagi in Gothic style that this dynasty built for the family.
From the Lamberti Tower located on the left corner of the square, you can enjoy a fabulous view of Verona and her rooftops. The white building at the bottom of the square is the ancient Supreme Court of Verona.
Another impressive monument that you cannot miss in Verona is Castelvecchio Castle. Build by count Cangrande II as a fortess to protect himself from external attacks to the city or from his family, the Scaligeri monarchs.
The castle is an example of Gothic architecture of the age with imposing M-shaped merlons running along the castle and bridge walls. It has seven towers and a long bridge over the river Adige. Inside there is court for the army and the apartments of the noble family. Today, it is a museum with pieces of Rinascimento, Middle Ages and Modern art.
Last but not least, Verona offers a variety of local food that will not leave you disappointed. From beef stew with polenta, gnocchi with cinnamon sauce to bigoli with tomato sauce, there is something for every taste. Verona is also famous for Pandoro, a typical desert for Christmas. It is a sweet cake with lot of vanilla sugar on top that can be cut horizontally in beautiful star shapes.
In Verona, it is also possible to visit the producers of wine and have a delicious wine tasting experience. The areas to visit are surely, Valpolicella hills, Soave and Bardolino, all located in the proximity of Lake Garda. Here the famous Amarone red wine is produced and exported all over the world. So are Ripasso of Valpolicella, Bardolino and, the most loved by the Italians white wine, Soave. If you would prefer to taste all the wines in the same place, then you should be looking at the next Vinitaly. Held in the fair pavilions every year in April, Vinitaly is a wine exhibition and competition of wines from all over the world, but mostly from Italy.
Finally, I would like to say that from the centre of Verona there are trains and buses that will take you to Lake Garda, for who would be interested in a daily trip outside the city. Here, you can not only visit the majestic Italian villas by the lake, but there is also Gardaland, a very famous and enormous theme park with attractions for all ages.
Author: Claudia Ambrosi
Wedding planner and founder
Having a destination wedding in such a beautiful and sunny country like Italy, is the perfect occasion to mix a holiday/honeymoon together with a memorable ceremony and reception. Your guests could enjoy some sightseeing after or before the day of the celebration and the same goes for the newlyweds. I therefore decided to bring you around all the different Italian regions and what they have to offer through my blog. I will start with three posts about Veneto, and in this first part, I will shed light on the city of Venice. Doesn't this sound interesting? Let the journey begin!
The Veneto region is located on the North-East side of Italy. The main city, "capoluogo" in Italian, is Venice. So much history has gone through those lands and imagine how many different emperors the citizens has seen. It was just in the middle of the 19th century, that the Austrian empire would leave this region to King Vittorio Emanuele II, and, in 1866, that Italy would become a unified country.
In Venice you can experience different architectural styles linked to many to all the historical moments this city has witnessed. Starting from the Byzantine style of St Mark's Basilica in the middle of the square. For its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (the Church of Gold). The queue to get in is usually very long, but the mosaics inside are definitely making the waiting worthwhile.
If you do not want to wait and are not too scared of hight, you might then be interested in going up the Bells' Tower. The view from the top over the lagun is absolutely stunning.
If you are more fascinated by the history of Venice, once an independent republic called "La Serenissima" governed by the Doge (the prime minister), perhaps Ducale's Palace is what you would enjoy the most. Inside this palace you can find the Doge suite and his apartment, where the parliament would assemble to discuss important matters, the Tribunals and the ancient prisons.
If you continue walking by the riverside of the beautiful laguna, you will notice a very symbolic bridge on your left side, the Sospiri's Bridge (Bridge of Sighs). Its name is due to the fact that it linked the Tribunals with the prisons in the basements and therefore, it would be the last time prisoners would see the sunlight, causing them to sigh.
From this point, I recommend visiting Santa Maria della Salute's Church, commonly called "Salute". The church is a tribute to St. Mary after the salvation from a terrible epidemic of bubonic plague, that had spread in the entire city in the 17th century, causing the deaths of several citizens. Inside the chapel you can find some beautiful paintings of Tintoretto and Tiziano. The church itself feels very spacious and airy with lots of big windows and stunning "rosoni" (the painting in the glass) to bring inside as much as possible natural light.
Venice has many other small, yet very cozy, churches available for religious wedding ceremonies. It can be arranged, if you would wish, to have your very own wedding in one of them.
One sight you should not miss during your stroll around the city, is Rialto Bridge, one of the first and largest bridges over the Canal Grande at the time of its construction.
For all art lovers - like me - you absolutely cannot miss the Guggenheim Museum in Punta Dogana, near Salute's Church. The museum is located in the last residence of the famous American art collector Peggy Guggenheim, who decided that Venice would be the best city for her retirement. The museum has pieces of modern art from Picasso, Magritte, Pollokh and Duchamp, just to mention few of them.
Venice has not only historical monuments or museums to offer, it contains some of the finest and most luxurious hotels, cafés and restaurants in the world. It is home to some unique events like the Biennal of Art and Architecture and the Cinema Festival. It also hosts one of the most celebrated Carnivals in Europe, and many other folkloric festivals and exhibitions that make this city alive and entertaining at all times.
Author: Claudia Ambrosi
Founder and wedding planner
We have seen many celebrities organizing their big weddings at luxurious hotels, by some stunning beaches, in majestic villas, etc. But what are they actually doing? They have opted for a destination wedding!
George and Amal Clooney in magic Venice, CEO of Spotify Daniel EK in Lake Como, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in Lake Bracciano, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in Puglia; are just examples of a big trend that is going on in the industry I love the most... wedding planning!
Is it something affordable for everyone or is it just a dream? It is absolutely something for everyone.
Italy has many places that can give the same charm and magical atmosphere as something very exclusive in your homeland. Italian weddings are not as expensive as people might think. Swedish couples have in fact the opportunity to enjoy a wedding in a stunning location in Italy, for half price or less compared to a local one. This is possible, by the fact that many restaurants or catering company provide only Italian food and local wines, therefore cutting incredible expensive transport costs. Labor work in general in Italy is still not as well paid as in other countries, therefore all the people working for you at the day of your wedding will not increase your final bill. However, service is still a profession we value as important as many others, so you will be treated really good by any staff at your wedding. The value for what you get compared to other countries, it cannot be compared.
Not only the lower costs, it is the reason that attracts every year many happy couples to Italy. The stunning scenarios, unique locations, the history, the long summers and mild spring/autumns (usually 24-25 degrees in March, September and October) allowing to get married in lower seasons, they are incredible landmarks of this fascinating and enchanting country. So why not combining an incredible occasion like your wedding day with a breathtaking location and perhaps a holiday for you and your guest?
Add to the most important day of your life en extra charm and an incredible `wow factor` for all your family and friends in beautiful Italy!
Author: Claudia Ambrosi
Founder and wedding planner