LA SERENISSIMA – October 6th

Today, we cross the river via the New Bridge (built in 1540) to visit the Teatro Romano, built in the 1st century. Temporary seating is being installed for an upcoming performance. The view over the Adige to old Verona is lovely, but the river makes quite a racket. On a bluff above the theater is the Museo Archeologico, accessible by a ‘Man from Uncle’ style elevator built into the cliff. There are some intriguing items, but mostly architectural fragments. It used to be a monastery; some of the monk’s cells have spectacular views of the tile roofs and campaniles of the city, in other words – the World.

I would like to go to Santa Maria in (the) Organo, known for its outstanding wood inlays. Joss is a tad reluctant, but it’s not far. Turns out, it’s an operational church, so parishioners ask for a donation and offer guidance/supervision. I drop five euros in a box and poke around, but Joss hangs back. The inlays in the sacristy and choir stalls feature highly articulated birds, fantastical landscapes, biblical parables, and still lifes. Also of interest is a nearly life-size wooden statue of an amused Christ astride a donkey meant to be carried through the streets during Lenten processions.

Nearby is the real goal of the day’s peregrination – Giardino Giusti. These Italian Renaissance gardens were planted in 1580 and are regarded as some of the most beautiful Renaissance gardens in Europe, a splendid park of parterres mounting up a steep slope. Goethe mentions them in his Italian Journey (1786-88), published 200 years ago. One cypress near the entrance is honored as have been seen and noted by the great German. At present, the tree’s some 600 years old. Joss and I trace the central allée and climb up the hill, through a groomed forest with half-hidden follies. The vistas of the garden and Verona beyond are breathtaking. Suddenly, church bells ring twelve noon not in unison. As we zigzag down again, we’re met by the squeals and hollers of unrestrained children loose in the hedge maze. Little bastards.

We wander back in the general direction of Piazza Erbe and Gabbia d’Oro. Many windows are shopped, though our progress halts but once for the purchase a cool unit for Alice. We linger in the courtyards of the Palace of Reason (the Law Courts), right off Piazza Erbe. One features a very large statue of Dante, a sometime Veronese. Some post-hoof gelato at Pretto, then a late afternoon fade. Rather than tempt fate, the mutual decision is to go back to Ristorante Greppia. Good choice. Good night.


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