italy 8: verona, milan, and lake maggiore

Romeo and Juliet in Verona

Verona dates back to the Romans when their soldiers used it as a stop to rest and exercise a bit on their way up north. They built an arena here to train on how to fight the Germanic tribes, east of the Rhine, whom they were never able to conquer. This arena still stands in impeccable condition and is used for matches and concerts today. The economy of Verona is heavily food based; the annual national food fair is held here.

The Middle Ages was a time of rivalry and intense fighting between Italy’s many city-states. There were two main groups, namely, the guelphs [supporters of the pope] and ghibellines [supporters of the emperor]. In 1302, the backdrop for the most beautiful and poignant love story in history, rivalry between these two groups was at an all time high. Continue reading