A txiki view of Verona

A txiki view of Verona

So what can you get for 8€ in Italy these days? Well in Verona, you can get this stunning view, two glasses of Prosecco and some complimentary nibbles.

Verona_view

We fell in love with Verona almost immediately. Which was a good job as we only had precisely 48 hours there.

Leave aside all the Romeo and Juliet themed garbage and you will find a fairy-tale city, slightly less busy than the likes of Venice or Florence.

Verona ampitheatre

It’s my view that it was also less expensive. You can easily get by on a budget in Venice if you know where to look (believe me, we’ve done a lot of looking over the years). But I found the experience even more straightforward in Verona. The tourist trap seemed to be the exception rather than the rule. And it’s pretty easy to spot them. Staff trying to lure you in, photos of the food on menus – you know the routine.

So here’s my top five tips on having a cracking break in Verona.

Tip 1 – If it says Romeo & Juliet, just leave it alone

According to historians, this bust is the only bit of Willy the Shake to ever make it to Verona.

Shakespeare

Maybe I’m in the minority. Maybe I’m a killjoy. But I have no desire to join hordes of people on a pilgrimage to a fictional setting. It’s part of the reason why I’ve gone off the idea of Dubrovnik in recent years. But if this is the best a city has to offer, then it’s not for me.

Romeo and Juliet wall

Some balcony

Anyway, on to the positive stuff. And Verona is oozing with it!

Tip 2 – Go find the view

On every trip I try to seek out a viewing point early doors. It’s the best way of getting a complete perspective on a city. And more often than not, you will spot something that looks of interest. Something that you might not have otherwise considered.

So we crossed the famous Ponte Pietra and climbed up towards the Castel San Pietro.

Ponte Pietra

A quick bonus tip – you can climb the steps, but if you struggle with mobility, there is now a funicular that will take you to the summit for 2€ return. We gave it a go once, just because we enjoy funiculars. We’re not at all lazy…honest.

Funicular

Whether you climb or take the choo-choo, the view from the top is breathtaking.

Verona view

Verona view 2

Simply stunning.

Tip 3 – Get out early

The early bird does indeed catch the worm. And the sunrise. And some of the places that are usually overrun by tourists, but in all their peaceful glory.

Ampitheatre

There’s a solitary pigeon in this view of the amphitheatre taken at around 7.30am. Leave it an hour and the Piazza Bra is awash with locals and tourists alike.

I adore the solitude wandering around a city at this time in the morning, merely having to dodge the hosepipes of street cleaners as they prepare the city for another long day. Visiting in January, my early start was just early enough to catch the sunrise – a real bonus of winter travelling.

Verona sunrise

I reached the Piazza Erbe as the sunrise turned the sky a glorious blend of colours. Once again I’d beaten the crowds – I can’t believe how peaceful it was compared to the previous afternoon.

Piazza Erbe

Tip 4 – Take the train to Lake Garda

Even on a short weekend trip, we rarely confine ourselves to a single location. It’s probably why we always return absolutely knackered. I’ve promised Mrs L that we’ll take a proper ‘holiday’ soon rather than another ‘trip.’  Honestly…

The train from Verona to Peschiera Del Garda takes just 15 minutes and a single costs just 3€45, so why wouldn’t you? Particularly when you get views like this.

Lake Garda

The combination of palm trees and snow-capped mountains on the horizon provides a view that will live long in the memory.

Peschiera itself is enchanting with plenty to do and see for a few hours.

Peschiera

By the waterside, the prosecco is again around 4€ a glass with assorted snacks, less so if taken inside at the bar.

Prosecco in Peschiera

If you’re a little early for your return train to Verona, stopping off for a quick refill at Bar Luna will hardly break the bank. A glass of house red on the covered terrace was 1€20. My kind of bargain. In Italy.

Cheap wine

Tip 5 – Eating and Drinking

As you have already discovered, eating in drinking in the Verona area doesn’t have to be expensive. Even eating out. Dining al fresco on Piazzas Bra or Erbe will probably make more of a dent in the wallet but we found a couple of charming and frugal places to eat.

I’ll admit that we are lovers of pizza and pasta and so we usually eat at the lower scale of the menu prices when in Italy.

The first evening we were fortunate to get a window table at Pizzeria da Salvatore, just over Ponte Nuovo. It appears in a lot of the guides and with good reason. Even just after opening this fairly modern place was rammed with locals – families, couple and friends alike across the generational divide. The pizza was pretty damn good at 7€ and a litre of house wine came with change from 10€.

On most trips we do a DIY sandwich for lunch, partly to save some pennies, but partly because we just like to! We were staying at the fabulous and great value Home Marconi 25.  I’d recommend it in a heartbeat. It was spacious, really clean and host Federica met us at 10am to let us check-in early.

Here I am preparing the sandwiches having first taken the important step of pouring a glass of fizz!

Lunch

After a frugal lunch we decided to splash out a little and spent 15.90€ on a beautiful bottle of Valpolicella in Signorvino which we enjoyed while people watching from a lovely perch in the window.

Signorvino

Valpolicella

A delightfully creamy tiramisu completed the extravagance.

Tiramisu

On our second evening, our first choice restaurant, Redentore, was closed. So as is the norm these days, Google came to the rescue…and came up trumps. Unassuming and rustic, Da Mario on Via Santa Maria is an absolute gem.

Two mains courses, half a litre of house red, a bottle of mineral water and two great honks of tiramisu came to around 35€.

Da Mario

And that included a cover charge with bread and a cheeky limoncello to finish. Naturally, being two sweet for Mrs L, I polished off hers, so as not to offend our hosts.

Limoncello

Final thoughts

We ended up in Verona where we began our little adventure. After our meal we made our way back up to the Castel area. This was partly to take in the view one last time and partly to try and work off some of the calories we had consumed and hopefully aid our sleep.

Verona at night

But of course, we couldn’t avoid having that one last beverage to make it a lasting memory.

Night cap

Good night Verona. You are really rather special. We’ll be back – that’s a promise.

Txiki Stu

 

 

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