Jonathan Zenti lives in Verona & very kindly offered to host me & Jonti for a couple of a nights after the end of the festival.
So, on the evening of 5th October, Zenti and I drove up from Ferrara, on Italy's tiny, winding roads. The first time I saw Jonti on our first anniversary, I was severely carsick.
Really, it was that romantic.
The next morning, sunny, warm Verona beckoned, with its imposing Arena & busy streets.
Jonti & I set out to find a perfect spot to break our first bottle of anniversary messages.Zenti suggested we break our bottle at Juliet's grave.... WHAT? WHERE?...Verona, it seems, is under the impression that the events described in Romeo and Juliet *actually* happened there. That Shakespeare travelled to Verona, saw the street violence, the two warring families, and like any good war reporter would, recorded them for the world to see. Maybe he was hoping a neighbouring superpower might intervene. He got *really good access.* You can stand underneath "Juliet's balcony" & in the courtyard, you can have your picture taken with a statue of Juliet - apparently, touching her boob brings you good luck in romance.For a price, you can even go into "her house" & stand on said balcony - and visit a museum full of the kinds of things Juliet would have been surrounded by.You know. If she was real.(Well, ok, apparently, there is some evidence that Romeo & Juliet was inspired by a true story, but even that true story didn't take place in Verona, so there's really no basis for these bizarre tourist traps.) And for another wodge of cash, you can also visit "her grave." Strangely, there was no mention of Romeo's grave. We figured it wasn't worth our money to see the grave of a fictional character. But we did stand outside it to break our first bottle!Some of the messages made us laugh, while others were just confusing. Most of them made us smile, but we did end up just actually crying in a square in Verona.Dan's message, "Remember the thing Tuheen did with Jonti's shoes? We have done it with you cars. NAY CHILDREN" made us giggle and giggle, reminiscing about Jonti dancing in cardboard boxes. First wedding was so fun. I'm really looking forward to second wedding in May... Ahhh. Back to Verona! We decided to head up Lamberti Tower, to get a view of Verona from above. Jonathan later told us that no one knows who built the Lamberti Tower - that it's actually one of Verona's strange mysteries...
A view of VeronaAnd because Allen once said, "I don't care about pretty buildings, I want to see you in front of them..."
Verona does have lovely market squares. Jonathan Zenti's sister runs a gelateria in Verona - he organised a free scoop for each of us. What a fantastic host. Seriously, it was the best gelato I've ever had, a cherry chocolate amaretto mix that I really hope Ginger's get on to soon.