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A week in Verona. Please critique my daytrip list.

A week in Verona. Please critique my daytrip list.

May 26th, 2015, 04:23 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 469
A week in Verona. Please critique my daytrip list.

I will be spending 7 nights in an apartment in Verona the last week of August leaving September 2. I was there only once before, 5 years ago, as a daytrip from Venice and fell in love with it's charm. So, this year after 4 nights in Venice, I'll train to Verona and enjoy it as a base to explore the region. As train transportation is so good in the area, I will not be renting a car.

Here's my tentative list:
Trento (I think Bolzano is likely too far. Or, am I wrong?)

I would appreciate other suggestions, additions, deletions, personal experiences and/or comments on the places I'm considering as daytrips.

Also, given that my stay will include a weekend and a Monday, are there any you would suggest or avoid on those days of the week?

Thanking all in advance!
Dee_Dee is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 05:07 PM
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Speaking just for Vicenza, a lot of its attractions, museums, etc, are closed Mondays.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 05:09 PM
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You are going to Bolzano how? By rail? If so, you'll get to Trent before you get to Bolzano. Time to consult a map I think.
Dukey1 is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Dukey, time to re-read the OP's post, I think.


In general, most people don't like spending more than an hour on a train to get to their day trip destination, but if there is something in Bolzano you very much want to see instead of the sights in Trento, it might be worth it to you to put in the extra time.

I am not sure about the logistics of Bergamo, but every other place you have identified is doable as a day trip from Verona. In August, one of the most limiting factors you might face is heat and humidity. Trento would appeal to me on a hot, humid day, but Mantova wouldn't. Bergamo means some hill climbing which also might be wilting rather than enjoyable on a hot day.

Be aware too that Sirmione is going to be very, very crowded. It doesn't take all that long to get there from Verona, so you might think about going in the later part of the day, when many of the day trippers will have left.

If you don't have a lot you want to see in Padova, you might think of seeing it on your way to Verona. As for Vicenza, if you are attracted to seeing all the Palladian architecture there, only a minority of it is walkable from the train station, and you need to do research in advance about when buildings are open to visitors before setting out.
sandralist is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 08:07 PM
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We thought the Ice Man museum in Bolzano was fascinating. If you catch the right trains, it's less than 2 hours each way.


We have also spent time in Rovereto. If you have any interest in WWI, there is a museum about Italy's involvement in the war along the Trentino front. (Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra) On a hill above the town is a bell forged from cannons of the 19 countries who fought in WWI. It's supposedly one of the largest ringing bells in the world, and it tolls every evening for the war dead. There is also a well-regarded museum of modern art in the town. All but the bell are within walking distance of the train station.
Jean is online now  
May 27th, 2015, 04:39 AM
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Thank you all for your input.

Vincenzo - thank you for the heads up about Vincenza on a Monday.

Dukey - I actually did consult a map while researching possibilities.

Jean - I had not read anything about Roverto, it's museum or that bell. Another possibility!

Sandralist - I don't mind spending time on a train at all. I was hoping someone might weigh in on whether going all the way to Bolzano is worth it vs Trento. From what I've read, Trento has enough to keep me amused. And, I'll definitely head north on one of the hotter days.

Yes, the heat and humidity will definitely be a factor on this trip. I am an early riser, get up and go kind of person. So, planning on taking early trains, sightsee then back to Verona for an afternoon spritz! I had planned on going to Bergamo some years back when I was in Milan and on Lake Como but couldn't fit it in. Something about that hill town looks so appealing to me.

Sirimone and the hoards of tourists does concern me. I had planned on getting there early. You think latter is better? Can you suggest another town to visit first? I was also thinking of going there on September 1st hoping it might be a bit less crowded.

Vicenza is a must for me as architectural history was my minor in college. I will do more research in order to maximize my visit.

I had considered stopping in Padova on my way from Venice. But, knowing me, I'll want one more full morning photographing glorious Venice and take a latter train to Verona. But, do you think Padova is only worth a half day?

Again, thanks to all. I look forward to more insight and suggestions!
Dee_Dee is offline  
May 27th, 2015, 05:10 AM
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I do think "later is better" in many cases in Italy during the summer. Not only do you sidestep a lot of tourists, but many Italians really do escape indoors for a rest during the worst of the midday heat, shuttering their stores. If you arrive at 4pm, everything is coming back to life, and you can enjoy your aperitivo with the locals and feel the local life of the town, more than just a museum piece. The sun will be setting very late. That would probably be my approach to Sirmione

You might enjoy having this article


Regarding Trento vs. Bolzano, you can only read up on the attractions of both places and decide for yourself. For Trento, going up early would be an advantage, I think, if you are interested in the Castello (which is wonderful -- be sure to see the Eagle's Tower). You can walk from the train station (although it is a longish walk, mostly flat) or take a taxi. But then there are lots of places to enjoy a lunch outdoors, and you can enjoy the truly lovely central piazza of the Duomo. You can probably see most of Rovereto the same day, on your way back to Verona. They have nice wine there for a spritz. Many people -- just so you know -- go to Rovereto for its first rate museum of the art of Italian futurism. So if you are interested in that aspect of Italian culture, there is no finer collection anywhere in the world.

Or something else you can consider if you are able to watch the weather is to combine Rovereto in such a way that if it is raining part of the day -- morning or afternoon -- you could plan to be inside a museum at Rovereto during the rainy part of the day if you are interested. The other part of the day you could be visiting Trento.

Regarding Padova, it is worth as much time as you can give it, especially if you are interested in its historic food market as well as its sights of high culture. I'm sure you could spend several days there, so if it works for you better to take a day trip to Padova, you should. Remember that you will need to make a reservation to visit the Scrovegni chapel. For August, I can't tell you how far in advance that should be, but I believe you can do it online.
sandralist is offline  
May 27th, 2015, 07:14 AM
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what's the point of staying in verona for 7 days if you''re going away every day.
photoman_6 is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 01:32 PM
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sandralist - thank you again for your insight. I've been doing more research. But, I didn't know about the historic food market in Padova. LOVE food markets! Sounds like I'll be in Padova for a full day. I've decided on Trento and will definitely do that on a hot day. Thank you for the Guardian article. I will be sure to check out what is current at that art gallery. The "latter is better" approach is difficult for me. I seem to automatically rise with the sun and (at 60+) run out of steam by 21:00. I wouldn't be a good Italian! Again, thank you!
Dee_Dee is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 10:56 PM
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By the time we got to Castelvecchio in Verona, I'd seen a fair few museums and galleries. Art Overload is a real risk.

So the attraction at Castelvecchio for me was not so much on WHAT is displayed, but rather on HOW it is displayed. Castelvecchio dates from Roman times, with the current fortifications built over the Roman base by Cangrande II from 1335 to 1375. The bridge, the Ponte Scaligero, was built so that Cangrande would have a northwards escape route in the event of a civil uprising by the citizens of Verona - Cangrande was absolutely hated by the Veronese, and figured that he would find refuge in Germany if push came to shove. The name, Scaligero, comes from the crest of the Cangrande family, a stair, ladder or scala in Italian. Frescoes from the 1370s in the castle show a ladder.

Napoleon's people built a barracks inside the castle perimeter, and the area was reworked as a gallery in the 1920's in a not very sympathetic fashion. Carlo Scarpa was tasked in 1956 to do a renovation, which took some eight years. As a side project, he did the Olivetti showroom in the Piazza in Venice, maybe for some light relief.

It's worked rather well in Verona.

In 1956, the thrust of world architecture, or at least USA architecture where the money was being spent, was all about simplification. The architectural legacy of Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Johnson et al was all about minimisation, socialist worker housing, even if said housing was stacked 38 stories high, like the Seagram building. So I think it took a bit of courage to pick Scarpa for the job, Scarpa with his penchant for the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, small but important detailing, even down to the detailing of the light fittings. An architect comfortable with decoration, buildings designed to relate to their occupants rather than to overwhelm them. Going against the contemporary flow of architecture.

The impression is that the castle is the greatest, the most significant, work on display. The historical structure has been exposed, allowing a clear perception of the various stages of usage. The Roman moat has been excavated, access to the battlements enabled by stairways that are deliberately tight - as they would always have been. There is one stairway in the battlements constructed from 12mm oxidised steel plate. In side elevation, it looks almost solid, small slits only between the plates, echoing the small loopholes in the perimeter. But in end elevation, the stairway almost disappears, becomes invisible. It's hard to describe, and so worth seeing.

There are all sorts of contradictory statements in the museum. The entrance courtyard is somewhat Japanese in its simplicity - but you enter via a restored drawbridge. The Gothic lancet windows at ground level are glazed in an asymmetric fashion, but Gothic is about symmetry. In the ground floor sculpture gallery, marble statues, which are in themselves heavy, appear to float on stone or highly finished concrete bases. Cast iron heaters are allowed to show - but sometimes are hidden inside stone boxes. Sliding security doors are woven from steel strip, echoing the portcullis that would have been at the drawbridge.

On the ground floor, there are small gutters of stone around the perimeters of the rooms, a Venetian reference, reminding one of the ground floor of the Querini-Stampalia Foundation, which gets aqua alta'd. Some of the floors are broken to indicate paving, and maybe to slow one's progress through the spaces, a visual pause.

Most galleries have works that are mainly hanging on walls. But at Castelvecchio, many works are shown on easels which are beautifully detailed. This means that often you will approach a work from the back, see how the canvas is stretched or the wood panels connected before you see the face of the work, almost a silent introduction. It makes for quite an intimate experience.

I'm hesitant to use the word "journey" to describe how the Castelvecchio functions, as "journey" has become part of management-speak, the "journey" towards submitting a tender or creating a budget. So maybe at Castelvecchio, I won't describe it as a journey, rather as a procession. A procession through history, Roman, 14th Century and Napoleonic politics.

There are some good works of art there too. However it's the architecture that does it for me.

Try googling "Scarpa, Castelvecchio Verona Photos" and you'll see what I'm on about.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 11:04 PM
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A bit more for Verona .......We also had a meal ("had a meal" is a bit unfair as the meal that we had was excellent) at Locanda 4 Cuochi, Via Alberto Mario 12, again near Piazza Bra. I'm not sure how the four chefs divide up the labour in the kitchen, and they really do it well. We shared a polenta starter (they plated it as two portions in the kitchen), and we both ate piglet cooked with myrtle. A slightly woody taste, complementing the piglet perfectly. This was served with agretti, which looks a bit like succulent grass, and I can't describe the taste, as it's nothing like I've ever had before. Agretti is said to be the oldest green vegetable in cultivation, and grows in the south of Italy. Shared desert of profiteroles served on zabaglione and coffee. Tab less wine came to about 60 euro, the best value meal we've ever had in Italy, and amongst the best.

A compact menu, five starters, five primi, five main courses, five contorni, half a dozen desserts. A wine list that starts at about twelve euros a bottle. Interesting - we had strolled in to make a booking, and they picked us as English speaking - so we had a menu in English rather that Italian. But it's the same menu as the Italian speakers receive. Closed Mondays and don't do lunch on Tuesdays, and they don't do pizza either.

We rode the hop on / hop off bus and enjoyed it. The commentary was good and informative, including info such as there used to be barges on the river with water wheels mounted on them for milling flour. Handy, as the Adige floods, so a miller could drag his barge out of the river if it was at risk. On the Ponte Nuove, there are grooves worn into the stone where mooring lines have been pulled.

If you don't know what to do in a city, just walk uphill. This has worked for us in Rome, Florence and Verona. So we walked across the Ponte Pietra (pietra = stone), past the church of San Stefano, and fetched up at Castel San Pietro, where there is a secluded public park, with remnant fortifications. About a billion bricks have been laid to fortify Verona - the sheer tonnage of firewood to burn them must have kept teams of wood cutters in business. Good place for a picnic, great views, worth the climb.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
May 29th, 2015, 06:24 AM
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Peter S - I can't wait to go back to Castelvecchio and view it through the new eyes you have just given me! What a wonderful description and nothing like what is contained in any guidebook I have read! And, how timely, I just finished a book about Napoleon last night!

Thank you for the restaurant recommendation. It is now on my list!

I did venture up to Castel San Pietro on my last (and only other) trip to Verona. Loved it! Loved the views. This time when I return, I will venture into the park.

Thank you for your insights!
Dee_Dee is offline  

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