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Verona to Venice drive

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Verona is a city and provincial capital in Veneto, Northern Italy. It is known through the world thanks to Shakespeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.

Casa di Giulietta, (Juliet's house) is just off Verona's main shopping street. Whether or not the tragedy is fictional, thousands visit every year to stand below the famous little balcony. Those in search of new love rub the right breast of a bronze statue of Juliet.

The historical centre of Verona has magnificent Roman ruins. So beautiful and important, it is known as piccola Roma (little Rome). Its pink marble arena dates to the first century and was used wrestling matches. These days, it is the venue for operas and concerts during summer. Its interior and acoustics are perfectly preserved, but all that is left of the exterior wall after a 12th century earthquake is a portion known as The Ala.

Other remains of a very prosperous age are the stone bridge, the Gavi arch and the monumental Borsari and Leona gates.

Piazza delle Erbe, once a Roman forum, remains the lively heart of the city. It is lined with some of the most wonderful buildings, including the baroque Palazzo Maffei and the 14th century Torre del Gardello. On the eastern side is Casa Mazzanti, a former residence. Its fresco-decorated facade really stands out. Permanent market stalls in the centre of the palazzo detract from the surrounding beauty.

Just east of Verona is the little-known region of Brenta Riviers on the River Brenta. The river stretches for 30 kilometres and a road winds alongside it for most of the way, so it is there to be enjoyed from a car, or a cruise in summer months.

The area is known for its centuries old villas. One you can visit is the spectacular Villa Foscarini Rossi, a family-owned villa with marvellous gardens. It was build between 1586 and 1605 and is home to numerous frescoes, collections of etchings, glass works and stone cameos.

It is also home to one fixed exhibition — a shoe museum. Calzature d'autore brings together the most representative models of Rossimoda's production over 50 years. The company has for years been responsible for supplying footwear to the world's most famous fashion houses. — Fendi, Anne Klein, Vera Wang, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Christian Lacroix, Pucci, YSL, Givenchy.

There are 1500 models on display, telling the story of how the shoe's function has evolved over time: indispensable for walking surely, but no less important in establishing a ''look''. Next Stop Venice — the city stretching across 117 small islands in the marshy, saltwater Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea. For around 1000 years, the city was one of the most enduring mercantile sea powers in the world. Its brilliance and influence have dimmed, but it is still wonderfully beautiful.

There is much to see — St Mark's Square with it magnificent Byzantine Basillica and Doge's Palace. The Church of San Giovanni and Paolo, Rialto Bridge and there are many canal tours to choose from.

The latest addition to the city is the Hilton Molino Stucky, a former flour mill dating back to 1895. Each room has its own heritage and charm and stretch across several wings of the former mill. Picture-book windows, beautifully renovated ceilings with timber beams, precious Venetian fabrics and marble bathrooms are unforgettable.

Speciality Restaurant is cosy and intimate. It has a cocktail bar and outdoor terrace with views of Venice.

All-Day Dining Restaurant is in two original buildings at the heart of the hotel.

Skyline Bar has views along the Giudecca Canal as far as Piazza San Marco, and Lobby Bar is a focal point, reflecting the hotel's architectural legacy.

Many sights in Verona are close on Monday, or open in the afternoon only. The Verona Card, available at sights and tobacconists, gives you entry to main monuments and churches, as well as on buses.


The north of Italy


Intrepid Travel has 15-day La Dolce Vita tours of Italy. They cost around $2195 per-person twin-share from Rome to Venice. It covers all accommodation, transport and many excursions. The best times to visit Italy are between April and May and October and November.

Hotel Molino Stucky rooms are start at around $285 a night.

The Verona Card is around $13 for one day and $20 for three days.

Emirates has flights to Rome. Fares from;

  • Perth, $2253
  • Melbourne, $2275
  • Brisbane, $2284
  • Sydney, $2293
  • Adelaide, $2859
  • Darwin, $3545

Valid for travel until March 31, 2009.

Prices quoted correct at February 2, 2008

For more information

Intrepid Travel
Spring Street
Fitzroy 3065
Ph: 1300 364 512
Fax: (03) 9419 4426

Villa Foscarini Rossi
Via Doge Pisani
30039 Venice
Ph: +39 049 980 1091

Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
Giudecca, 810 Venice
30133 Italy
Ph: +39 041 2723311
Fax: +39 041 2723308

Ph: 1300 303 777

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