After 2 days in Venice, we rented a cute little Fiat Cinquecento (500) and headed to Verona. Matt was in love with this car and relished maneuvering the tiny thing on the crazy streets of Italy.
With the help of the GPS program that Matt had loaded onto his Iphone, we made it to Verona. I would highly recommend a GPS to anyone planning on doing any driving in Italy. Streets are confusing and not all that well marked.
We spent just a few hours in the city center of Verona, hometown of Romeo and Juliet. The "downtown" is centered around the Roman era Arena di Verona. Large scale productions like Aida are still held in this smaller scaled version of the Colosseum in Rome.
After a hot night without air conditioning or even a fan, we made our way to Florence. What a fancy place it is. Capri Moon, our bed and breakfast shared a street with Gucci, Burberry, and the Versace store. I couldn't get over the fact that one minute you could be luxury shopping and the next you're standing in front of a renaissance era church.
Florence is the birthplace of the early Italian Renaissance, so there was lots of art historical goodness for me to soak up there. The one thing that you can't really ever grasp via pictures is scale. Florence's Duomo is just enormous! I wish there was a way for me to bring all of my art history students to all of the places we study for this reason.
I could go on and on about the art work we saw here - Donatello's Mary Magdalene, Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise, The Orsanmichele, the most extensive collection of the work of Botticelli in the world. It was an art lover's paradise!
The Caprimoon was one of our favorite accommodations on this trip. We were livin' it up with a TV, fan and an attached bath, all of which are not standard in Italian hotels. Every morning, we were treated to a great little breakfast in the dining room. I fell in love with "spready cheese" and salami on bread. Let me tell you, the cured meats in Italy were like nothing I had ever had before. You would be amazed at the vast array available.
After 2 days in the packed, tourist encrusted, and bustling city, it was time to head out to the country. Tuscany was our next stop....
More next time.