Wet wet wet

Sunday 24th

early startThe intrepid fishermen get an early start to the second day.  Unfortunately we could not wait to see who won.

Started off with no mishaps this morning from Peschiera del Garda backtracking slightly to a narrow peninsula fortress town called Sirmione. Again decided against the funicular as the cloud was lower and heavier than the day before. After discovering Sirmione by looking at a postcard and thinking oooo that looks nice, we came to a fortress surrounded by water, even more stunning than the pictures (minus the sunshine). Had a wander around with Alex braving the height and stairs to go up to the top of the watch tower.


entryView of entrance

at the start 1At the entrance to the fortress

snowSnow about to go in

balance beamInside found that the drawbridges are not raised and lowered by the use of chains and windlass but by a system of balance beams attached to the bridge externally and then pulled down inside to raise the bridge.  The slots into which the beams fit in the outside wall can be seen in the first photo above

   inner coiurtyard Inside the courtyard with the staircase to the wall in the corner

alexandra top of the tower Alexandra at the top of the tower above the wall

down belowLooking down Into the courtyard.  Bernice at top and Roy in middle of courtyard.

alexandra at topAlexandra waving from the top

entry portView of artificial harbour within fortress


narrow colourful  Looking back down to the fortress from the narrow streets of the old town   

gargoyle  An unusual gargoyle in the streets of Sirmione

how to grow A tenacious grip on life.  A fig tree growing through a wall in Sirmione

griffenA griffen on the inside of the city gate

Left around lunch time heading for a campsite in Verona that we had found in our books, only to discover that it was closed. On driving into town to find an information centre, stumbled across a caravan parking and dumping site, as good as any for a night in Verona. By this stage, it had started raining persistently, lucky we each had an umbrella, and Snow was protected on the backpack by a homemade backpack cover aka a plastic bag. On closer inspection of maps and consulting Heidi, we discovered that we were within walking distance to the town centre, so off we strolled.

First stop was the train station to find Wifi and information. A very slow Wifi was found and previous blog uploaded, however problems with Bernice’s iPad has come to light, as it cannot connect to Hotspots anywhere in Italy, causing a lot of frustration. We think due to java script problems but will consult an Apple store to find out.  After Roy finding out which bus takes us into the city centre, we hopped on the bus and found the Arena, a first century Roman ampitheatre (the third largest in existence).  Went inside and had a look around, was excellent, the only drawback was that the arena stage area was under construction for a concert so we could only walk through a very small section of it.

arenaThe Arena in the centre of Verona

snow 3Snow sheltering outside

snow 2Alexandra and Snow admiring the seating

looking down  View from the interior toward the top of the Arena looking down into the lower parts

  snow 1  Snow and Alexandra standing in the terrace for the important dignitaries looking out over the Arena

snow at ease This photo of Snow at ease on the terraces shows the character of the marble used.  It varies in colour from white through to shades of pink and red.  It also appears cracked and full of imperfections, but this obviously makes no difference to its strength as it has been here for near 2000 years

On closer look at some of the marble used in its construction, there is fossilised evidence of ammonites in many of them.

ammonite evidence of Ammonite in the marble used in the floor of one of the passageways

At this stage of the day it was getting late, so we headed back to the camper (suggestions for naming the said camper/motorhome are welcome), on the way home we ventured past a rugby promotion with all sorts of activities for kids, promoting upcoming internationals for the Italian team. Next we stumbled along a delightful pasticceria where we indulged on some small pastries and a Sacher Torte for desert later on. We didn’t really need any indulgences as dinner was so rich in itself. We made a pasta of Triangoli al porcini e tartufo (or triangle pasta shapes with mushroom and truffle), with a creamy blue cheese  sauce, accompanied by a beautiful bottle of Chianti, at a very rich price of 1.99!!

dinner timeSettling down for dinner

triangleTriangoli al porcini e tartufo in a blue cheese, broccoli sauce

sacher tort 1The Sacher Torte

sacher tortand inside

The rest of the evening spent playing cards once again.


Monday 25th

The rain had continued through the night, and when we woke, seemed as though it may ease, easily fooled we are apparently. Not to let our spirits be dampened, it was off to the town centre again, to catch another trusty Ho-ho bus. Took a slightly detoured way of getting into the centre after confusion of direction, but arrived at the starting point for the bus without even looking for it. Not keen to get off at too many spots to stand in the rain, we stayed on the bus for almost all of the first route, getting off one stop early to switch lines. After realising the next bus wouldn’t be along for some time, decided to walk to Giulietta’s Tomb (of Romeo and Juliet), but of course, this being a Monday morning in Italy, sights aren’t open yet. Oh well.

juliet tombOutside Giulietta’s  tomb

chinese romeo and julietUnusual Chinese sculpture outside Giulietta’s Tomb, dedicated to the Chinese equivalent of Romeo and Juliet

At this point Roy decided to go off to visit the Palazzo degli Scaligeri, a magnificent structure originally home to the Della Scala family, while Bernice and Alex went on the other route of the Ho-ho bus tour.  This took the girls up to a superb panoramic view from the Castel St Pietro overlooking all of Verona.on topBernice and Alexandra on top of the hill with the city behind

view 2Cityscape

view 4Cityscape

view 3Bridges on the river

Then hopped off to visit Giulietta’s balcony where all the walls of the tunnel leading to ‘Giulietta’s house’ and courtyard were covered with visitors declarations of love. Inside was the balcony and the statue of Giulietta, all very romantic.   The entry was through a gate covered in Graffiti.

graffiti 1

DSCF2387The graffiti is not discouraged as it is supposedly good luck in love for couples to leave messages here.


juliet balconyGiulietta’s balcony from which the famous speech is purported to have been made.

juliet 1Bernice and Giulietta

juliet 2Alexandra and Giulietta

From there the girls headed back finding some sights on the way

muralsBuilding decorated on the outside with Frescos

highlanderEven the Highlanders have a place in Verona

roman ruinsand Roman ruins in the middle of a street without interpretive boards or any real notification.

Meanwhile Roy had gone of to see a castle which he had photographed the night before.

palace at night

Unfortunately, being a Monday, the museum within was closed and so was access to the battlements etc.

riversideView of castle from river side

The castle did provide access to the Romeo and Juliet bridge

romeo and juliet

However a couple of unusual sculptures were found in wandering around the city.

to shakeaspeareThis one opposite the Arena, dedicated to Verona’s Art, Love and Music.  Showing scenes from Romeo and Juliet

motorbikeThis one dedicated to a famous Italian motorbike rider. Each of the feet is dated with a World Championship won.


We met back up after this outside the Arena, to have a quick sit down lunch before walking back to the camper to head off to be closer to Venice.

At this point here was a change in Navigator.

navigatorNote the patented iPod holder attached to the driver’s seat, an updated version from before.

On the way passed this town wall in a small town called Montagnana.  It was at least 300 metres long running alongside the main highway.

aragnan 1



By this stage, the rain had been steady all morning, but whilst popping into a Bennets shop (Le Clerc on steroids, or a cross between Foodtown and Farmer’s with a deli and bakery thrown in for good measure), the heavens opened. Tried to wait it out inside for 15 minutes, but it persisted. So we made a move and got back on the road. None of us can remember when we last saw rain anything quite like it, absolutely teaming down, flooding half the roads. After Heidi taking us on a very backroad route to a small village called Montegrotto Terme, and us going this way and that way to find our camping site, we finally made it. Not quite as close to Padova, and the train to Venice, as we would have liked, however with the rain not looking like it was going to ease, and not really sure of the next campsite, we have bunkered down for another night of cards, blog writing, and finding out on Alex’s Nintendo DS if we really are smarter than a 10 year old. PS Bernice and Roy are!!

3 Responses to “Wet wet wet”

  1. Antony Says:

    You should name your camper Pedro!!

  2. bernice Says:

    Vote for Pedro!

  3. From Shakespear to Shakespeare | The Vanninis' Manoeuvres Says:

    […] in search of Guillietta’s statue, tomb & balcony in Verona, which you can read about here.  And of course there was our visit to the Globe theatre in London which you can read […]

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