VERONA

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Everything flows from via Mazzini – but not before paying homage to the so called House of Juliet, referring to the female character in Romeo and Juliet – Piazza delle Erbe, the other important square in Verona: built on the old site of the Roman Forum and characterized by the towered medieval houses, which still carry traces of the original frescoes and the daily market: the Colonna del Mercato (market tower), the Berlina and the Fontana di Madonna Verona (Fountain of the Virgin Mary) are sculptured elements that embellish the square. On all its sides, there are also examples of houses sitting side by side, which bring back memories of the splendid medieval period of the city with their mullioned windows, towers and battlements.

Go through the Arco della Costa (arch) – from the overhanging ribbed arch move on to Piazza dei Signori, the seat of public institutions for the city: a normal shaped square, Palazzo Comunale dating back to the 12th century, and the Torre dei Lamberti (towers). La Loggia del Consiglio and the Palazzo del Governo are instead a testimony of the Rennaisance. To the right of the Palazzo del Governo (government), you come to the Arche Scaligere: (arches) which are the monumental tombs, aedicule in shape, of the upper classes of Verona, considered as some of the most decorated examples from the last phase of the Gothic era, also known as the blooming Gothic age.

Beyond la piazza dei Signori, you can find the Chiesa di S.Anastasia: a grandiose Gothic building, purposely built by the Dominicans, and erected between 1290 and 1481. From the banks of the river Adige, behind the church, you can admire the Roman Theatre and the hilly climb towards Castel San Pietro, one of the ramparts of the Austrian fort. Still from the banks of the Adige, you come to the Duomo (Cathedral), which carries signs of Roman construction, Gothic remnants and Renaissance additions.

From the centre of the city, Piazza Bra, it’s easy to get to Castelvecchio, purposely built by Cangrande della Scala in 1354/57 and competed in 1375: the construction is in crenellated brickwork, and has dungeons, courtyards and raised bridges. Internally, there’s a section of wall left over from the communal era; the Ponte Scaligero (bridge) behind was destroyed by the bombardments of 1945 and reconstructed with material recuperated from the river bed. Castelvecchio, after an exemplary restoration taking place in 1956 by Carlo Scarpa – architect, who here in Verona also left his mark in the prestigious building of the local bank in Piazza Nogara – is the seat of the Civico Museo d’Arte (Civic Art Museum) with masterpieces of Pisanello, Stefano da Verona, Mantegna, Bellini, Vivarini, and the renown equestrian statue of Cangrande, not forgetting the extraordinary collecting of medieval sculpture on the lower ground.

Just outside the centre, in a large and isolated square, you come across the Chiesa di S. Zeno Maggiore (Church), one of the most important buildings of Roman Italy. Next to it lie the towers of an old Abbey and Tower, the church, a place of the first Bishop of Verona was constructed between the 12th and 13th centuries, and the conclusive Arch is from 1398. The important façade is decorated with raised bronzed figures, depicting the history of the Old and New Testaments. Its interior is sober and majestic, characterized by the spectacular wooden ceiling, bent by steam, also likened to a ships keel and dating back to 1386. The Pala di S.Zeno, is positioned on the altar; a complex painting, rich in allegory, dating back to 1459, being the work of Andrea Mantegna, who produced one of his best masterpieces here.

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VERONA
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