Sunday, 27 May 2018

FAMILY REVIEW: Verona, Italy


Verona is a beautiful city. There are a lot of historical things to see in Verona that are completely fascinating for adults but there may not be a lot for children within the city area.

Bear in mind that Hadrian is 10 years old. So not a baby, toddler or a newly started Primary school child. He is old enough to behave himself when he has to but young enough to tell us when he's had enough - without throwing a tantrum. He's old enough to walk longer distances but only if he's carrying nothing. There is so much a 10 year old can take of walking and old buildings and cobble roads and more poses in front of another old something.

Also bear in mind, we were in Verona for a month, so we were able to do things a little at a time and incorporate things in his study. But the following helpful tips and information can still help if you're not in our special situation!

PERSONAL REVIEWS

These are some of our own personal reviews and info of things to do and see while in Verona!

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Tip: If you are visiting Verona for a short time (24-48 hours), there is a Verona Card available which can reduce the prices of visiting these attractions. Since we spread out our visits over a month, we didn't get a Verona Card. But it's good value for money if you are visiting for a short time! They are available to purchase at a lot of the main attractions. €18 for 24 hours; €22 for 48 hours. It also gives you free public transport during your chosen hours.

Bonus Parenting Tip: To help your child be less bored at looking at old buildings and walking around, give them an old phone that can take photos (or an old digital camera) so they can take as many photos as they want without asking for yours. Totally worked for Hadrian! Highly recommend 👍
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ARENA DI VERONA

The Arena was built in 1 A.D and is the third largest Arena in Italy.


Opens 1:30pm on Mondays. Verona Card accepted here.

Opening hours are from 8:30am-7:30pm (except Monday). Ticket booth closes 1 hour before closing.

The entry price for this is €10 for adults; €1 for children aged 8-13; €7.50 for groups of 15+ or students aged 14-30 (yes, to 30!). Cash and card are available here. Entry includes time inside the Arena for what seems like as long as you want before it closes.

This only gives you entry while no event is taking place. Event entry costs are different and vary on what/who is performing.

There are toilets inside (which we didn't use so I can't review them) and a souvenir shop both inside and just outside the Arena.

  • Tip #1: There are costumed Gladiators that offer to have their photos taken with you. They do cost money. I'm not sure how much but be aware there are charges before asking them for a photo.
  • Tip #2: Go as close to opening hours as you can (or maybe even closing hours). Tour groups start coming in around 10am onwards.
  • Tip #3: You cannot take drone footage or drone photos of the Arena or anywhere around it.
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Hadrian: It was cool! I liked the stairs to the top of the Arena and how high it was. I liked the tunnels underneath and the size of it!

Nathan: I liked that it was old, mixed with the new. I like the ancient-ness and charm of it.

Tessy: I liked being where so much history was. I liked the stairs until I got up to the top then I regretted it immediately. I liked the tunnels underneath but wished more than one exit was available (and mainly because I had to walk too far and it was too hot 😑). Would love to see an event here at night!

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CASA DI GIULIETTA

Believed to be the house belonging to the Cappelletti (the Capulets), this building goes back to the 13th century. Outside the house is a statue of Giulietta and her balcony where Romeo declared his love in Romeo and Juliet.

Inside her casa you can stand on Giulietta's balcony and also go through the house looking at the furniture and costumes worn by the actors in the not-Leonardo-Di-Caprio version of the movie.


Opens 1:30pm on Mondays. Verona Card accepted here.

Opening hours are 8:30am-6:45pm (except Monday).

A major tourist attraction of Verona. We went twice in the month we were here - the first being too busy so we had to give her another chance.

You don't need to pay to see the statue and the balcony from the bottom but if you want to go up to stand in the balcony and look around in her house, there is a cost.

Entry into her house is €6 for adults, €1 for children. Cash and card are available here.

There is free Wifi here.

  • Tip #1: Like the Arena, it is best to be there as close to opening hours as possible before tour groups arrive.
  • Tip #2: Apparently rubbing the right breast of the Juliet statue gives you good "love" luck. But please don't be like some we saw and be inappropriate. Poor Juliet. The original statue was moved into a museum because of over-breast-rubbing so they now have a replica at her house.
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H: That was cool. I liked it. It was nice inside. I liked seeing all the history of the story. It made me want to read Shakespeare. I didn't like that I accidentally leaned on the gum on the wall - that was gross!

N: I liked the statue and the romance of it and the love notes and the locks. I love that it has become a tradition. I don't like how it is a little bit touristy.

T: Liked it when it wasn't so busy but it's very commercialised. Didn't like the gum stuck to the wall - that grossed me out! Nor the sanitary pads stuck on the walls in the entrance with love messages on them (yes, there were more than one). I get they needed to use something to stick on the wall but what kind of love message can you portray on a sanitary pad? If it were scraped of the gum, it would be so much better. Inside Juliet's house was quieter and you were able to write to Juliet if you wished. They had extracts of the play all over the house and other things relating to the play so that was nice.. Would I go back though? No.

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CASA DI ROMEO


It's believed that the Montecchi family (Montague) lived in this house in Verona. The Montecchi family really existed!

Romeo's casa does not have as much love as Giulietta's but I feel like it needs a little extra love shown here!

Not a paid attraction. You cannot go in. You are only able to stand outside it and take a photo.

CASTEL SAN PIETRO

Apparently it is here where Verona was founded, housing the remains of the first settlements going back to the 7th century B.C.

Castel San Pietro from the ground

The funicular to get to
Castel San Pietro
The castle itself is not open to the public. It is a free attraction around the Castel if you walk up or drive up. If you take the funicular, it costs €2 per person which opens approximately 10:30am. Not sure if card is available for the funicular - I would assume not.

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H: It was nice! Quite high - I liked that. It was like you were in a landing aeroplane. Only bad thing is Dad didn't let me sit on the edge.

N: Beautiful view. Fully recommend walking up there early in the morning before the crowds.


T: Best view of the entire city! I enjoyed that I didn't walk up early in the morning and we drove up instead! When we went up, it was quite busy but you could still find a little corner to take in the views. I wish the trees in front of the Castel were slightly shorter so we could see a full panoramic view without using a drone.
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  • Tip #1: Go up early in the morning (it doesn't have to be by feet!) when the crowds aren't there.
  • Tip #2: As it isn't an attraction that closes, no one is around if you were to use your drone - especially at sunrise.
View from Castel San Pietro - taken by drone

TORRE DEI LAMBERTI

This tower was built by the Lamberti family in 1172. It has two famous bells that would keep time and regulate city life - one signalling the end of the working day.

View of the tower from
the Piazza delle Erbe
From inside the main
square of the tower

Verona Card accepted here.

Opening hours are Monday to Sunday 10am to 7pm. There is an elevator.

Entry cost without Verona Card is free for children under 7 years old; €8 for an adult; €5 as a discounted price (this includes children over 7 years old). Cash and card are available here.

There is a toilet in the square outside the tower. It costs €0.70 (cash only) but it is quite clean!

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H: It was cool! I liked it. I liked how high it was and that we could see Mum downstairs and the whole city from where we were and could see the big bell. I liked the elevator ride up!

N: Beautiful view of Verona city. Loved the old bell tower and history. There's an art museum up the stairs next door.

T: I liked the view from the bottom, where I stayed - even though there was an elevator. The square just outside of the tower was always bustling which is great for people watching.

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Views from the top of the Torre Dei Lamberti:

TEATRO ROMANO

The Roman Theatre was built before the Arena di Verona, in 1 B.C. Included in the Roman Theatre is an archaeological museum of Verona's Roman history.


Opens 1:30pm on Mondays. Verona Card is accepted here.

Opening hours are 8:30am to 6:30pm (except Mondays).

Entry is €4.50 for adults; €1 for children 8 to 13 years old.

Air con is in the main museum but obviously not in the open spaces like the theatre. There is the option of walking up to the museum but there is also an elevator once you get to the top of the theatre area.

Signs throughout the museum for both directions and information of the different artifacts are both in Italian and English.

I saw three toilets inside the vicinity but didn't use any of them.

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H: I liked the museum because it was tidy and it had air con and I liked all the artifacts and stuff. I liked seeing all the little Roman figures and broken parts of statues. And I liked at the beginning before you go into the theatre that there's a model of the original theatre. And I liked taking pictures of everything.

N: I liked the incredible amount of history here in Verona: the frescos, mosaics, statues, remaining ruins of 2000 year old buildings, arches and bridges.

T: Besides the heat of the day when we went, it was one of my highlights of Verona. Inside you see the Roman Theatre (which was being set up for a concert that night) then you go upstairs to the archaeological museum where you see the history of Romans in Verona. Loved seeing the history all while still being mindful of the bad side of Roman history. Still loved it! (especially the elevator) It's just below the Castel San Pietro but with more of a panoramic view of Verona!

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CASTELVECCHIO BRIDGE (also known as Ponte Scaligero)

The castle and bridge were built in 1354 but the bridge was destroyed by German troops in 1945. It was rebuilt in 1949 and completed in 1951. It was built to defend Verona's people in medieval times by Cangrande II della Scala.

The museum is not free. Crossing the bridge is - which is all we did.


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H: This is an awesome as bridge! I liked walking through it and you could see the river beneath you. And I liked that there were places where you could walk up and look at everything from a higher view in the open areas of the bridge. Then I liked seeing the castle!

N: I loved being inside an actual 14th century castle, walking the bridge across the river which would have acted as a natural moat and seeing the large stone walls and iron gates that protected the citizens as the knights rode out to battle.

T: The very last attraction we visited that we hadn't seen yet in Verona. Loved that it was medieval amongst the ancient. Love that it would not pass health and safety in NZ because you could literally fall to your death from parts of the bridge! Also loved that we overheard a tour guide telling his tour group the wrong information about the bridge 😕!
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CHURCHES

There are so many different Churches to visit in Verona City. Some are paid and some not, most of them impressive and all of them have history.

We didn't visit any churches while we were there except this one, where we stood in the entrance and took this free photo!

GENERAL WALKING AROUND VERONA

Walking from the top of Verona city (at the top point of the river) through the city to the bottom, past the Arena, takes approximately 30-40 minutes with children and no stops. So we suggest pacing yourselves. As Verona has a ZTL (no driving zone), we would recommend avoiding taking a car into the city centre.

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H: I liked the Arena the most and coming home. I liked walking the streets. The pathways were quite narrow. I liked the supermarket with the elevator inside it! I liked that we got to see all these cool buildings and statues. I didn't like how hot it got and how exhausting the walking is.

N: The charm of Verona is its oldness - from the cracked marble on the streets, the weathered down stone seats, the ancient ruins. I liked that nearly everything is made of marble - including street signs. Lots of history and walking along the water and across it on the bridges.

T: I personally enjoyed walking through the city. The earlier in the day, the better. I enjoyed seeing the narrow streets and the old buildings and taking it all in while stopping frequently for breaks. There are plenty of green spaces scattered around for a sit on a bench under a tree eating a picnic. In the centre, close to Giulietta's house is Piazza delle Erbe which is the main market square. On our final night out before we left, I loved that Verona came alive at night - even at 10pm when it seemed to just be starting. I also loved how safe they made the city feel at night. 

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Some pictures of our various walks throughout Verona city:


FINAL REVIEW OF VERONA

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H: I like the bridges and the bell towers and the river. I liked the animals I saw!

N: Oldness, streets, everything made of marble, charms adds to the romance of the city. Old charm. The bells ring every hour at odd times but it adds to its beauty. Green like NZ. Its beauty is in the simple things: the people, the pizza, the gelato.

T: Verona is a great starting point for any visitor to Italy. It's not too big or too small and has enough old charm and history to really sink your teeth into without being too overwhelmed. It has beautiful views of beautiful old buildings and landscapes. It's a great place to be introduced to the beautiful people of Italy! They have all been very friendly and welcoming.

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Travelling with children in Verona can be done! All you need is your feet, comfortable shoes, a positive attitude... and patience.

Cars are not necessary to see this beautiful city. Porta Nuova (the main bus and train hub) is at the bottom of the city centre and can take you in any direction out of Verona. The Verona airport is further south than the station but can be easily accessed from Porta Nuova as well.

If possible, stay at least a week in Verona to really experience it all but if you're on a short visit, utilise a Verona Card with public transportation around the city and pick and choose your attractions wisely.

May is a great time to visit Verona as well as it's cool at night and first thing on the morning and it's before peak Summer season starts. It is a bustling city so don't expect a quiet visit as there is always constant traffic noise.

We are sad to leave Verona and we're so glad we chose it as our first stop!

We will miss you, Verona!


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