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My visit to Verona & Lake Garda

Last summer I was fortunate enough to visit Verona. I wanted to test out the services we currently offer with our VERONA OPERA LOVER’S BREAK. After having received such wonderful feedback from past clients who have been, I was eager to match the experience.

Well, I can confirm that they were correct! I stayed at Hotel Firenze, well situated for both the train station (ideal for doing some travelling around in Italy), and only five minutes’ walk from main Verona. The hotel was perfect, well situated, friendly, welcoming staff and a plentiful range of breakfast options to suit all. It was good to have a five minute walk back to the hotel at the end of each day after enjoying all the plentiful food experiences – some of it needed walking off!

To anyone new to Verona I would strongly recommend buying a Verona Pass Card, included in our Verona breaks at no additional charge. This useful card means free access to most of the main tourist sights of the city. For me the highlights were the impressive castle; Castelvecchio where you can enjoy the exhibits and walk along the castle battlements whilst enjoying far reaching views. Also to be visited was the Museum of Natural History which has a vast array of fossils and animals both current and extinct. I would allow a few hours for this as the museum was deceptively larger than initially expected.

Whilst Italy boasts a large number of churches in all their towns, one that certainly stood out for me was St Fermo Church, a two minute walk from the Natural History Museum. As beautiful as the church was, it wasn’t until arriving at the bottom of the stairs that I realised the church was much more than it at first seemed – it was in fact a church built on top of two others! Having spoken to the guide, I learnt that the original church was replaced above the initial one for the poorer families coming to worship, whereas the street-level church above that was for the very richest Veronese who came to worship.

Of course nothing can eclipse the main focus of the town – the Arena di Verona. Built central to the town with a plentiful array of restaurants and shops around it, the arena is the place to be. The acoustics for an open air event are second to none and I could see for myself just how important having good seating up the front could be, when the arena stretched back as far back as it did.

Despite all of these wonderful experiences, the highlight for me was the Lake Garda Day. A short transfer and I was on the boat going over to the beautiful lake to Garda Island. Once there, I and the others on the boat were treated to a tour by the Countessa whose family currently own the island. The views from the garden were picture postcard, and nobody was in a hurry to leave! There were even three native beautiful dogs that enjoyed a life of woods, gardens and the lake to swim in!

After coming back from the island, there was a little time to visit Sirmione, a castle town with lovely restaurants and shops, before a much needed thirst-quencher at Villa Novare; tasting some of the local wines of the Bardolino area. A definite must for all would be wine connoisseurs!

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