Thursday, January 7, 2010
I have had several friends ask me why I continue to go back to Verona, Italy. I think I shall share the reasons with those of you who read this blog.
There are a few reasons:
First, Verona is the perfect-sized city for my tastes. With a population of about 350,000, it is just the right size. The city is not so large that you can’t figure it out quickly, and the ‘centro’ has amazing things, like Piazza’s, cafes, gelaterias, etc. Built around the Adige River, Verona has amazing charm as it weaves in and around the river. There are various bridges, and one describes things in the city by the vicinity to the bridge. It reminds me very much of Portland, Oregon, where I used to live and still remember fondly.
The city is very safe. I often walk home after an evening out, late at night and I have never been fearful for myself. Here you see a picture I took last night (it snowed!), as I walked home at midnight.
The people are friendly. I have never had a bad experience. Granted, I am attempting to learn the language, but even still, I find the Italians very gracious and kind.
There is a lot of history here, as Verona is a medieval city, and you are constantly reminded of this as you walk around. I soak all this up on a daily basis. Here is Juliet's balcony... and her statue. Note: People touch her breast for good luck!
The culture is wonderful. There are plenty of concerts (classical and other), galleries, museums, and entertainments. So far on this trip, I have been to the opera, to a Russian Dance presentation, and I plan to go to a piano concert, a tango dance presentation, the photography museum, a modern art exhibit (on loan from the Louvre), and various other things. These are my rewards for working diligently on writing projects during the day.
Here is the opera Cin-ci-la.
For me, the fashion is great! There are two main streets where fashion can be seen, and the vendors change the windows on a regular basis, so the window shopping is fantastic.
Look at Dolce and Gabanna’s window display!
I enjoy living the every day life. I have done a lot of travel in the ‘adventure mode’, but when I travel alone, I either want to be with an organized adventure group (like Overseas Adventure Travel), or in a situation where I am completely comfortable being by myself. I love going to the grocery store and the vegetable market, and it is wonderful to be greeted by the vendors. I cook most of my own meals, and am now venturing into translating Italian recipes (all in the plan to learn the language).
And of course, an important reason for my continual return is, is the family I have met, who have made me feel welcome, have assisted me with plans, travel, etc., and who in general have made me feel almost like one of the family. Meet the Campolongo’s. Bruno (left), who I teasingly call Popeye, because he can fix anything, Santina (center) who is my ‘professoressa’ of Italian (she speaks no English), and Andrea, (right) who is the landlord, and has put himself out to arrange things for me in my field of study. Yesterday he lined up a visit to the costume collection at the opera house. I will be preparing a blog entry on that.
I am here in the month of January for a couple of reasons; first, to see Verona in the winter, but more importantly, to continue the finalizing of a Design Retreat I am hosting here this coming June. I am bringing eight American/Canadian women over, and together we will study fashion, art, food, wine, etc. It will be amazing. I can’t wait to share what I have learned of this city. Again, I will be blogging more about that in future. I hope to do this every summer, so if any of you are interested to be kept abreast of future plans, shoot an email to Sonia or me at cochenille (firstname.lastname@example.org) or watch our events page. We do have a couple of other workshops planned in the U.S.
Best of all… I feel I am able to slow down when I come to Verona. Perhaps it is how the Italians live, and it is rubbing off on me. Perhaps it is because I don’t know many people, I have no daily phone or Internet, or perhaps, I actually give myself permission. Amazingly, I am very productive with my writing projects, but I still have time to read, write for pleasure, journal, and contemplate my navel.
So, there you have the ‘short list’. If as a reader you are interested in coming to Verona, check out the website of the Campolongo’s apartments (they have two). It is at www.myapartmentinverona.com. I plan to share more on this topic as well in future.
Susanna (while in Italy)