I have particularly fond memories from my trip to Verona a few years back. Aside from the house of Juliet and the Coloseum, there weren’t many landmarks to tick off the list, so that meant we could fully give ourselves over to a relaxing stroll through the streets and soak up the magical atmosphere of this charming old town.
Once we got the sightseeing out of the way, we immediately knew we wanted to escape the tourist crowds and see the city from a different viewpoint. I am a firm believer in hunting for a bird’s eye view in every new place I visit, to allow me to take the entire landscape in. We studied the map for the best options…
We noted the general direction of a couple of hills, but at this point we switched off our brains and let our legs do the work. They carried us through winding little streets, along the banks of the curling Adige river, and between houses that had once boasted facades in vivid colours, which had now begun to fade and the paint had started to peel off. This just added to the magically quaint atmosphere of the place.
As we turned a corner onto a small terraced square, we finally laid our eyes on the perfect vantage point. A quick reference check with the map told us we were looking at San Leonardo hill. Perched atop it was the Sanctuary of Madonna de Lourdes, which was open to the public, so we took this as fate practically handing us an invitation to explore.
It took us a little time (there’s a bus which can take you up the hill if you’re not up to the trek), but as always, the panorama did not disappoint. There was an incredible harmony exuding from the landscape, the ancient towers of the medieval old town mirroring the towering cypress trees of the park below like a distant reflection across the river.
We shared a generous glass of limoncello from the little cafe in the Sanctuary grounds, and we even put our feet up for a little while in the comfy deck chairs facing the stunning view.
Upon descending the hill we ran into a military parade. It was a lucky encounter, especially against the backdrop of the battlements of the fortress we were passing by. Our spontaneous route-picking was just yielding some spectacular results.
Finally, after a cloudy day, the sun came out to see us off. I will never forget the precious few hours in this beautiful city, which can’t help but inspire a strong desire to return. Have you ever been to Verona? What did you enjoy the most? I’d love to hear about your experiences, so drop me a line in the comment section, or send me a link to your own blog!